Alumni Perspective: Step 8

By Jomana A., Renascent Alumni

Step 8:Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

As a newcomer, I sat in meetings and heard my fellow recovering alcoholics talk about Step 8. Confusion and fear coloured my approach to Step 8. Thanks to good sponsorship, I was able to discern my understanding of Step 8 and approach it with a much more open mind and heart.

My perception of Step 8 was that I would make amends to people I did not like very much or whom really wronged me. It was not until my sponsor pointed out that Step 8 lies in simply making a list of all the persons whom I felt I have harmed and praying and cultivating the willingness to make amends to them all.

That’s it; nothing more was required of me at this point! 

My sponsor suggested that I divide my Step 8 list into three sections:

  • The people that I was open, willing, and ready to make amends to.
  • The “later” list, that is the people that I was willing to make amends to, but not quite ready to approach now, maybe later.
  • The “never” list, that is the people I knew owed demands to, but I was not prepared or willing to ever to make amends to them.

This piecemeal approach allowed me to safely do my Step 8 and build confidence and self-esteem slowly.

Over my years of sobriety, I made amends to most of the people on the three lists. The funny thing was, as time passed by, the names from each list changed places. Step 8 was a safe testament to my spiritual growth, progress in step work, and self-care.

Step 8 ultimately allowed me to complete step 9, in which I took responsibility for my sobriety, my drinking consequences, and shed the robes of the victimhood which I have lived in for many years. Step 8 gave me a solid foundation and a pathway to freedom, dignity, and a stable, sober life.

Today, I no longer avoid people, places or shudder at the thought of the things I have done. I know that I have done my best because I did the right thing and hold my head high under God’s grace.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email