Step 8

~adapted from the Twelve Steps Handbook of CoDA

In this moment, I see the impossible become not only possible, but real.
As I forgive myself for my shortcomings, I am able to forgive others,
opening the way for a true and lasting change in my behavior.
Thank you, God.

Step 8 Prayer

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Amends… not mere apologies, rather changes in our behavior.

First make a list. Include everyone who had been harmed by our personal unmanageability. Our own name comes first. Why? We had been least able to escape our codependence and in most cases, we received the greatest injuries. A change in behavior toward ourselves would have to come first.

This is not the Step in which we face those we had wronged. The purpose of this Step is to focus attention on becoming ready to face them. Often the names come from our 4th Step work.

Some people find it helpful to make 3 lists. A list of people with which we can easily approach, a list of those with which we might be willing to consider making amends and an “oh hell no” list. We make the list and then with our Higher Power’s help, find a way to become willing. In the next Step, we can start with the easy list and work up to the others. With each one, the practice deepens our recovery and we become more open. We can allow our Higher Power to guide us in that process.

Some questions that may be useful in Step 8 are:

  • What would my motive be in making amends to those I have harmed?
    Would it be to clear my conscience? to rid myself of old guilts?
    Or do I want to acknowledge my wrongdoing as a step in altering my behavior?
  • Can I count on myself to avoid using this step to justify my past behavior?
  • Am I capable of separating what I did from what was done to me?

If needed we can go back to Steps 6 & 7 to discover what behaviors or old beliefs we are still holding onto that are blocking us from becoming willing to change. Self-forgiveness is instrumental in moving from codependence into healthy relationships.

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