The eighth and ninth step of Alcoholics Anonymous is the beginning of mending the broken relationships in our lives. The eighth step states “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”. In this step you must once again put your pride aside and make a list of the people you have hurt by your actions while drinking. It is not just about family members whom you love; it is about anyone you have hurt. If you have stolen something from a stranger you must put them on your list as well. It is important to repair the damage you have done so that you can become free from it. Until you are free it will continue to haunt you. Anything that haunts you has the power to make you drink again. Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that you make three lists on a piece of paper. The first list is to name the people you have hurt. The second list is what you have done to them and the third list is how you can repair the damage or make amends. On a different piece of paper you can list the people who have hurt you. The reason for this list is about forgiving. Basically any emotion that has the power to make you feel resentment or anger has to go. This list will help you do that. You will not be telling people they hurt you, you will just identify who they are and what they have done for yourself.
The ninth step states “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”. This step requires sincerity, it cannot be done halfway. Some people you approach may be forgiving at once and some may not. You may find that some people are angry and not ready to forgive you. However, if you went to them with sincerity, then you have done what you can. In this step you have to be careful not to hurt someone further. If you have been unfaithful to your spouse it may be better not to confess. You must have the other person’s best interest at heart. This isn’t about making you feel better.
It is important to remember that you will be doing these steps with a qualified sponsor. A good sponsor will have done the steps and will be living a life that is a good role model for you. He/she will guide you as you do these steps. The first sponsor I had was a tough sponsor. Often I wanted to get rid of her. She didn’t sugar coat anything. Years later, I am still using the things she taught me.