Step 8 Study - Connection Bridge
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
The list of people I had harmed was very fresh in my mind the day I walked into OA. In fact, it was branded on my conscience and burned fiercely as shame whenever I encountered someone I had harmed. But the first miracle was that God put the making of this list way down in the Steps so I had time to realize what he meant me to do.
A typical compulsive, I attempted my first amends before even reading the First Step. You can imagine the comic tragedy this provided my sponsor as I came back weeping and bewildered.
The list would have to wait.
By the time my sponsor requested I find pencil and paper, a good deal of my ego had been purged. I listened carefully to make sure this part of my recovery went well, and my sponsor brought me to a place where I could be present for those who are part of my life's journey.
The essence of Step Eight is brotherly love. It is not guilt removal but for offering ourselves to those we love. The essence of this wonderful program is to make me a part of the world my Higher Power created, so I must connect and reconnect with those he sent into his world with me. The timing of this truly belongs to God. It isn't mine to force, but I can be prepared when God puts someone in front of me.
Making amends does not mean saying "I'm sorry." It means rebuilding a bridge of love between two people in God's kingdom. I had a lot of mending of the past to do and a real need to come clean. But something happened when I became willing: I was fully free to be the me I'd always wanted. The transformations of Steps One through Seven built a person I could be proud of, one that others could choose to connect with, and not the broken wretch they'd lived with for so long.
Step Eight was important for me, not only to sweep the pain of the past, but also to build better, more loving relationships. Even in cases where direct amends were not possible, I could remain at rest. I had guidance and was provided with everything I needed to be whole and alive.
I found my list many years later and looked upon it with tear-soaked eyes. Each name no longer signified the pains of the past but instead the joy of today and the gift of brotherly love. Thank you, dear Lord, for the gift of Step Eight. And thank you, my sponsor, for guiding me.
-- Edited and reprinted from Looking Up newsletter, Tri County Intergroup, August 2015
OAs Lifeline Magazine, August 2017
Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.