How to Work Step 8 of the Twelve Steps

Step 8 of the Twelve Steps Program is a critical juncture in the journey towards recovery and self-improvement. It serves as a bridge between acknowledging personal shortcomings and taking concrete steps towards making amends. This stage, which focuses on making a list of all persons we have harmed and becoming willing to make amends to them all, is both daunting and liberating. It requires a deep dive into the past, a thorough examination of our actions, and the courage to face those we’ve hurt.

The Essence of Step 8

At its core, Step 8 is about preparation and willingness. It’s not merely about listing names but understanding the depth of our actions and the impact they’ve had on others. This step is an exercise in humility, accountability, and readiness to rectify past wrongs. It sets the stage for the actual process of making amends, which is detailed in Step 9. Through this reflective process, individuals are encouraged to confront their past with honesty and courage, acknowledging that while they cannot change what has been done, they can take steps to heal and mend relationships.

The Challenge and Opportunity of Step 8

Embarking on Step 8 can stir a range of emotions, from fear and shame to hope and relief. It challenges us to face our past and the people we’ve hurt, a task that can seem overwhelming. Yet, it is in this confrontation with our past that we find opportunities for growth, healing, and transformation. This step is not about dwelling on guilt but about moving forward with purpose and integrity.

Practical Tips for Working Step 8

  1. Begin with Honesty: Start by being brutally honest with yourself. Acknowledge your wrongs without justification or excuse.
  2. Seek Support: Engage with a sponsor, counselor, or support group. Their guidance can provide perspective and strength as you navigate this challenging step.
  3. Practice Willingness: Cultivate a genuine willingness to make amends. This may take time, and that’s okay. The important part is to keep moving towards that readiness.
  4. Organize Your List: Consider categorizing your list into those you can make amends to now, those you will make amends to later, and those whom making amends might cause more harm than good.


Step 8 is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit to confront and rectify past mistakes. It’s a step that demands courage, honesty, and vulnerability. By embracing this step, individuals not only prepare to make amends but also lay the foundation for a life of integrity, compassion, and growth. Remember, the journey of recovery is not just about overcoming addiction; it’s about becoming the best version of oneself.

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