Step Eight
Alcoholics Anonymous

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes step eight as follows:

Now we need more action, without which we find that "Faith without works is dead." Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine. We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Pg 76

In the making of the various lists that we made in step four we have a list of people that have affected us in some way. It is true that there are some people on our lists that wronged us and that we in no way had done anything to them that we need to talk with them about: The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. Pgs 65-66

But as we went through our lists in following the directions in the fourth step we began to see that we had indeed caused quite a bit of harm in most situations that we looked at. In the fourth step we searched through our past as best we could taking a look at all the situations that God had brought to our memory. With each situation that came to mind we were thorough and honest to the best of our abillity: We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. Pg 65

As we went through each situation we became aware that in many of them we have done something that harmed others either physically or emotionally. Although we might not have harmed all the people that we have in the various lists we were actually starting to form a list of people that we did hurt: Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory was ours, not the other man's. When we saw our faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight. Pg 67
We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it. Pg 69

Once I have this list of people I know that I need to talk with, I can see that I have some work that needs to be done. If I am willing to make amends to them all then I am ready to take a look at step nine. If I am not willing to make amends to them all I do not see the need to have Gods help. Now there is a difference between not being willing to make amends and having some apprehension about going to some people. We will look at being apprehensive in step nine. But lets look at what it means to be willing to make amends to them all! If I truly see step one starting with the main symptom: We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. Pg 44
And following that up with all the underlying symptoms: We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people Pg 52
Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy going of life, Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. Pg 51
If I see this to be true in my life then I know that I need to have Gods power. I have come to see through my own experience that I lack the power to get free from the bondage that I have placed upon myself. If I am not willing to make amends to them all then I don't see or am unwilling to accept God as the only power that can help me.

Everything begins with clearly seeing step one. This can not be stressed enough! Modern AA has become watered down and many do not even understand step one. This is the reason that many fail to come into any type of productive sobriety in what has become AA today. There are many who claim to have had the drink problem taken from them but are still absolutely misrable and are consumed with all or most of the other symptoms.
There is no compromise with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous! No easier softer way!

Either you are willing to go to any length to come into a relationship with God or you are not: When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be? Pg 53
If I am not willing to make amends to them all, I don't want God in my life nor do I believe in His infinite power and His being the only power that can save me. I will do better if I stop the process of the program of action now. Instead of wasting my time I can use this time better to pursue some other selfish avenue of trying to bring myself some satisfaction and comfort.
If I am willing to make amends to them all then I am ready to look at step nine.