Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video August 28 DonInLondon Step 8 "Amends And Willing"
August 28, 2013: "what if?" Step eight is a curious bind for many people. After the fearless moral inventory in step four, sharing the truth of who we are with another human being in step five, understanding our defects of character in step six, fear, pride and ego as part of the seven deadly sins, and understanding our shortcomings which include courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing, and building confidence to be a human being again in step seven. The list of amends is a complete list, and then the willingness becomes part of an imperative to live to the truth, love and wisdom of now. The personal amend, to find a path forward and the amends listed and willingness.
And why is step eight a curious bind for many people? How much of the truth are we willing to share? Or it of course and hopefully we did in step five. An irony for me, it was only after my first attempt at step five that any of the real horror opened up as I realised I was on an emotional and spiritual path, and some of the horror was all about my attitudes, my outlooks and my actions rather than the actions and attitudes and outlook of other people. Looking into the mirror, and realising back in the day I had been doing the best I could with what I knew, did not fill me with a warm glow. I wished some of the time I had grown up to be myself a lot sooner rather than later. Sometimes, it simply takes as long as it takes to see a better life ahead.
Back in the day, with the current conditions at that time, my intense dislike of the world and all it represented made it possible to prefer oblivion, what I thought was comfortable oblivion as I beavered away at a career which kept me in the manner to which I become accustomed, simply numb. Without a sense of identity, without a particular purpose which made a difference, and a dark picture of life in general, what we do during those times can be very destructive to ourselves and others. We cannot change the past and we cannot live in the future, there is a great deal that we can do in the present moment of now. Sober, we have a chance to redeem ourselves now by what we do and that is the lasting amend we are going to make to ourselves and everyone we encounter.
Some days as we progress past step eight, and get step nine which is all about doing amends without doing further harm, we get step ten which is our spot check inventory. What I have found with the personal amend, how I conduct myself now and in the future, helps me with the admission and acceptance of my part in matters, whether my part in matters is good bad or ugly, with step ten and on the spot I detect whether I am a force of good, bad or ugliness in the moment of now. Anger and resentment are the number one contenders when my mood goes dark and I have the twelve steps to deconstruct other people. The steps offer me an understanding of me and my behaviour, they are not a weapon to be turned on other people.
And the reason why each step in recovery is so important, and living to the principles of the steps rather than using the steps as emotional and spiritual weapons of destruction, lies in the serenity prayer: To God or to good conscience; grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. The most important elements of the whole programme is to open up freedom of choice to ourselves and not assume choices for others. And sometimes when we look at step eight, we can forget, or try to ignore some of the things we have done because of the repercussions for ourselves rather than other people. Emotional and spiritual, step eight is about freedom of choice for other people and not just ourselves.
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