We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 8 is about those people, including ourselves, who have been harmed by our couple dysfunction, such as family members, children, friends, and fellow workers. In this Step, we continue to take our coupleship inventory. This Step helps us to interact with other people in new ways. This Step calls for changes in our behavior.
In Step 8 we need to determine the harm that we caused. What was the exact nature of this harm? It helps to categorize our wrongdoing into four groups:
- Holding grudges
- Withholding information
- Giving our partner the silent treatment
- Making shaming or blaming statements
- Borrowing, spending, or withholding money selfishly
- Cheating, or not abiding by terms of couple contracts
- Disregarding others boundaries regarding personal things
- Destroying or violating joint property
- Setting bad examples
- Engaging in infidelity, broken promises, lying
- Engaging in emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
- Neglecting obligations to ourselves, family, support group, or community
- Avoiding self-development
- Lacking gratitude
- Neglecting our spiritual quest
- Lacking humility
- Being self-righteous
- Preoccupying ourselves to the point of emotional unavailability
Now look at the facts and ask yourselves:
- What are your thoughts and feelings about the harm you have done?
- What are your fears about making amends?
- What causes your resistance to making amends?
- What consequences of your harmful behavior are you willing to accept?
- What ways do you plan to make amends?
Now you have a better idea about what dysfunctions existed in your coupleship. Make a list of people you have harmed including yourself.
Review your amends list with your sponsor couple. Now ask for guidance on how to make amends that will not hurt or injure others. When direct amends are not appropriate or possible, we suggest you devise alternative amends, such as praying for the well-being of those people, being kind and responsible to your partner and others, doing community service, or donating to a charity.
You become willing to make amends by admitting this harm to yourself, your partner, and others. As you become willing to look at your own behavior, you tend to become more tolerant and forgiving, less rigid and judgmental. Your viewpoints, attitudes and beliefs will begin to change as a result of your participation in this process.
Now you should be ready to move on to Step Nine.