Step Eight does not ask that I list the harm others have done to me. It asks that I list the harm I have done to others and be willing to admit and correct my past errors. The first time I read Step Eight, my reaction was who have I harmed? To whom do I owe amends? I came to my first Nar-Anon meeting thinking I was the victim. The addict in my life was cruel, insensitive and self-centered. I was not the one who needed to make amends, I was owed amends.
It is a slow process but I am learning that I chose my role in our relationship. I was the person primarily responsible for allowing myself to be a victim. I willingly stayed in a situation I found unacceptable, with a person who I loved but found lacking. Therefore, the first person I needed to list was me.
Because of my negative attitude toward the addict, I thought it was necessary for me to take care of everything. In my mind, the addict was not capable; he could not cope with life and its problems.
As I continued to grow in the Nar-Anon program, I realized my attitude toward my addicted loved one was disrespectful and condescending. My controlling behavior toward the addict showed him that I considered myself socially and intellectually superior to him. I was passing judgment on him and finding him inferior. I was also standing in the way of his recovery. The second person on my list was the addict.
Thought for Today: Step Eight gives me the opportunity to examine my behavior towards others and myself. Step Eight is a healing Step. It helps me to unburden myself from a distorted perception of reality and guilt from past behavior. By practicing Step Eight I have learned a better way to live.
“To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.” ~ Dalai Lama