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Begin to Repair the Damage Caused by Addiction by Making Amends To Others

Christine O'Kelly
Nov 5, 2007
The drug or alcohol addict storms through the world, convinced that everyone has wronged them, convinced that everyone owes them, and convinced that they are somehow entitled to have intruded on the lives of others. In their wake, they manage to leave a great deal of destruction in our wake.

In Step 8, it's time for the addict to take inventory of those who we have wronged and begin to understand the magnitude of what he or she has done.

In this list, include all that we have treated unfairly including:

- Children
- Parents
- Extended family
- Friends
- Employers
- Past coworkers
- Pets and animals
- Creditors
- Institutions

Mark Houston, founder of the Mark Houston Recovery Center talks about his personal revelations with Step 8

"My experience over the years with Step 8 and Step 9 has brought tremendous freedom and power from the guilt and shame I have carried that was caused by my own inconsiderate, selfish behaviors. Through attempting to make amends, I have learned just how forgiving people can be. Institutions and people I owe money to just want to be paid back. People I've treated terribly just want me to be responsible. It is the action of this step that leads to a new sense of power and direction."

The Role of Step 8 in the Recovery Process

Until we have made amends with those whom we have harmed, we will continue to live a fragmented life. This fragmentation keeps us feeling shameful, guilty, and isolated; which is exactly what the addict inside of us desires. Like any abusive relationship, if the addict part of our self can keep us feeling isolated and powerless, it has won.

Unlearning Victimization Behaviors

Human beings are conditioned and programmed from birth in terms of all of our belief systems. We see our role models practicing resentment and fear based anger far more than forgiveness. As a result, we don't always develop the skill of forgiveness and do not understand the magnitude of how forgiveness can impact our lives for the better.

When we realize that most people are not choosing to create harm to us, but are simply driven by their own conditioning and programming it becomes easier to forgive. This, coupled with the belief that if more people were awake spiritually they would cause fewer harmful actions, and we begin to forgive others and free ourselves from the role of the victim.

Assessing the Wreckage

Step 8 is the beginning of a process of healing the damage the addict has caused to others. Step 8 requires that the addict look at all the family, friends, creditors, employers, and all others that have been harmed through their actions. When the list is finished, it is time to begin making the phone calls to set appointments to clear up this wreckage.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for The Mark Houston Recovery Center, a drug rehab in Texas that offers a 90-day program for males designed around the principals of the traditional 12 steps to recovery. The team is passionate about its mission to help men free themselves from alcohol and drug addiction and recreate and reclaim their lives.
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