The Twelve Steps and Lent: Step 8
It is one thing to say - to yourself or to someone else - that you have
"generically" been dishonest,lied, stole, betrayed a confidence, gossiped, slandered, slapped, cursed, intentionally used someone. It is quite another thing to go through the years, a month at a time, and recall your offenses - and then picture in your mind the face and name of the person on the receiving end of your violence or bitter displaced sarcasm or deceit.
Take time to do this - all the time you need. Being realistic, you may only be able to do this step in increments: it may take you some time to recall details during those blurry self-medicated or particularly self-serving periods in your past.
Begin by praying for the courage and strength to face this step with complete honesty, recalling all the other steps you have gone through. Know you are loved and forgiven by your Higher Power. You have grown into the knowledge that it took you a long time to get to the bottom of your own personal barrel and it will take time to surface once again.
Set time aside to work on this step. Do it in a private, quiet place with little distraction. You may need past diaries or journals or yearbooks to help refresh your memory - perhaps a stack of photographs or an old address book (or books). Do your level best to stay on task. Other than these aids, I suggest you use only paper and pen. No eraser. No delete key. Pour out the names- and a short line of what you did to that person.
This step assists us in putting faces and names to the consequences of our prior actions and faults.
Consequences. Probably not one of those things that crossed your mind or conscience when you were on the slippery slope of your own downward spiral. In an age where people imagine that they only experience consequences if they are CAUGHT doing something wrong, the idea of learning from the consequences by holding ourselves accountable (in effect, catching ourselves in the act)is almost novel--and a very good beginning for us. Putting a name and a face to our misdeeds will make them real, not imagined. We own them.
When we look over the list that we amass in this step we may be able to recognize patterns, find situations that trigger our character defects. This list underscores just how much our lives had become unmanageable. At this point we can give thanks that we have come this far!
OK. The list is done. Hard as that part was, part two of the step is to become 'willing to make amends to them all'. Gulp. Wrapping your mind around saying you are sorry to those you have injured - revealing to them you have become aware of what you did and how that affected them. Asking for forgiveness, forgiving those who offended you so that you can let that baggage go.
This step - just like all the others - will take time. There is NO time limit. Take all the time you need. Your quality of life will improve with each day you stay on the program, regardless of how long it takes you to move from one step to another. You are growing into the wonderful person that your Higher Power dreamed that you might be!