The 12 steps originally founded by the first members of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1930s America are the basis of most modern-day 12-step programs. The original principles remain sound, and very slight adaptations have happened over the years – particularly to some terminology. 12 step programs have proved an effective way for many alcoholics to become and stay sober.
Following the 12 steps in strict adherence to the principles can greatly increase the chances of an alcoholic leading a happier, healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. A participant of the 12-step regime having applied the will and commitment to reach step eight will hopefully have attained some sense of spiritual awareness and starting to feel more comfortable with accepting help from a higher force.
Step eight: Made a list of all people we had harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all.
The list of all people who have been harmed by the alcoholic‘s problem drinking and to whom amends should be made, should already in the possession of someone who has followed the 12 steps rigorously: they will have made it when undertaking Step Four: the moral and fearless inventory. Taking stock of their past actions includes not only the effects that there behaviour has had on their own lives, but the consequences it may have had had on others.
Being willing to make amends to those people that were harmed – in whatever shape or form – by the problem drinker’s actions and behaviour, may best be avoided in cases where it may cause harm to any other parties. Harm includes distress or upset but genuine attempts at making amends in all cases is recommended.
Facing up to past misdemeanours is difficult for many people as they struggle with the guilt and possibility of confrontation. This is often the very reason why people drunk alcohol in the first place in order to run away from everyday problems and responsibilities, finding certain social and work situations difficult. These are all things that increased the sense of isolation which will but may take time to dissipate during the 12-step program.
Making amends to those harmed by the consequences of an addiction is a real test of moral fibre but is necessary to help achieve serenity and peace in life. Advocates of the 12-step program believe that freeing yourself from the guilt of past behaviours can help you make a fresh start in living a cleaner and sober lifestyle. Adopting a higher moral code to live life by is vital in the success of 12-step programs.