12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: Step 8

This series of articles is a PERSONAL perspective/interpretation of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous began on June 10, 1935 and has helped scores of people around the world obtain and maintain sobriety from drugs and alcohol.

STEP EIGHT—Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

In Step Eight of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, we begin the task of identifying the individuals we harmed by our drinking. The first part of this process is simply making the list. We go back through our drinking history and honestly assess who we have harmed. The only action we need to take at this point is making the actual list. Then, praying—asking our Higher Power to help us with this—for willingness to follow through with making our amends to them. This Step involves taking responsibility for “our wretched conduct” as described in “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.” Our wretched conduct can range from driving while under the influence to being dishonest in a relationship. Bottom line is that it’s important to be accountable to ourselves and others for the damage that we’ve done. If we can do this through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous then we can forgive ourselves and provide the opportunity for others to forgive us also.  Then we can move on to Step Nine—where we approach the people on our list and apologize to them with honest humility.

The next article I provide will start there—with Step Nine.


1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 2001.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions; Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. 1952

***NOTE: this article is a personal interpretation of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and is neither endorsed nor approved by Alcoholics Anonymous. ***

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