Step work in recovery: Step 8

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Make a list of all of the people you have harmed and become willing to make amends to all of them.

“Step 8 is when we bring other people into the healing process – the people harmed during our active addiction, those we meant to harm and those we harmed by accident,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

She explains that this step is about identifying the damage caused, being willing to make amends and practising by treating everyone respectfully.

“Practically, we need to start this step by listing all the people we can think of, even if we are not sure whether we will be able to make amends. The downside is that often the willingness to make amends to certain people is not there, due to resentment or fear, for example.

“An important concept in this step is that harm comes in many different forms, such as that caused by stealing or the harm done to oneself, such as getting a sexually transmitted disease as a result of unsafe sex. Deeper emotional harm is caused by striking the most vulnerable places of the heart,” says Griessel.

The spiritual principles in this step are courage, willingness and compassion, which are the opposite of resentment, blame and self-pity.

“When we have stripped away the distracting influences and have exposed the solid core of serenity, humility and forgiveness, we can move on to the next step,” says Griessel.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit or call 011 430 0320.

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