From the January 1971 magazine.

8th Step

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. - This series on the Twelve Steps is written by twelve members of A A, each interpreting one of the Steps as he sees it.

I CHOSE this Step to write about because it's the toughest one for me. I've had one hell of a time with the state of willingness. For, in order to be willing to make amends to others, you must first forgive yourself and be ready to make amends to yourself. And I am just beginning to see this in broad daylight. Formerly, I was half-aware that I had not really forgiven myself. It was what I call gauze-curtain, awareness; you see the problem dimly, as if through a veil, but you can't really formulate it. I think that many of us in AA have a hard time with self-acceptance. And the result is misery, whether it takes the form of repeated slips, depressions or psychosomatic illness, or failure in business or human relationships.

The other night, in our local discussion group, we batted this around a little. Somebody said that the first seven Steps lead into the Eighth. The surrender, the arrival at faith, the inventory all help us to forgive ourselves and gain enough self-respect and insight to be able to make amends and really mean it. Someone else said that joining AA and being sober were the biggest amends we could make.

-- F. M.

New Canaan, Connecticut

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