Who’s-Who on Our Step 8 Inventory

We Made A List and Checked it Twice

Barbara Streisand – Memories U-Tube

The last time we got together, thinking this Eighth Step Business over we found some things out. It wasn’t as simple as a cut and paste from our 4th Step “Fearless and Thorough Moral Inventory”, for there is often a tendency to rationalize the “Who’s-Who” element leaving some people out. You know: “They’re not “THAT” important and it wasn’t ‘that bad’ – or something like that. This is especially true when it comes to those memories we’ve stuffed deep in the back our subconscious; hesitant to recall or even glance back at an incident in which we feel angry or hurt to the point of fear. Those persons, places and situations may be so uncomfortable that we let our “forgetter” handle them and actually don’t recall. That’s our point. those are the targets. Bringing them into recollection is our objective although we could get teary, dreary and clammy, even feeling that old rage erupting again. When it comes to those hidden memories, getting them out and down on paper aims to free us of that heavy Pandora’s Box. Once again they become starkly  real as we awaken to their awareness.

We talked about doubling-down; that’s what we have to do with our courage – “face everything and recover” – the well known acronym for F.E.A.R. that is so popular in our 12 Step Fellowships. No more of the F**k everything and run,” and although it smarts to bring it up as we put them down,…..the pain is minimal compared to the spiritual relief of the long run. No better way of facing facts then having them in front of us in black and white. You see, by stuffing all this emotional garbage in our subconscious we have to face this fact: “we shall find that though harm done others has not been great, the emotional harm we have done ourselves – has”!  *(12×12, page 79, AAWS -NYC-1952)

These situations, dark as we may see them now, very likely colored our personalities and gave our emotional natures some dark and violent tweaks. They’ve altered our lives for the worse, and could be responsible for some ugly patterns of response that have infected our lives ever since. We discover patterns in those reactions of behavior. We could have been irritable, callous or cold. Maybe we were critical, impatient and humorless, wallowing in self-pity and depression.In fact, they may have been part of the reason that we got drunk, addicted or both. Escapism is a mis-perceived cure for repression.

The summary? We admit and make a record of where and how we have been wrong and in the meantime, begin learning to forgive – at least making a start at showing mercy to those who we feel have wronged us in reality or our fantasies.

So, apparently this examination of our conscience and history has a lot more to it then putting a new title over our first effort. We double down on our effort to recall – we start to find forgiveness for our trespasses as we consider forgiveness for those who have trespassed against us. Clearly, we’ll know better where we stand.

*Interested in the book: “Living the twelve steps of recovery – One Day at a Time – As It Was in the Beginning”?

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Thanks to Free Digital Photos for the use of their work. <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=987″>Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

Step Eight: “Doubling-Down” and “Planning-Ahead”

The second time’s a charm

In our Fourth Step, we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. To get it going we started with those people that we held a grudge against – we resented them – for this perfectly good reason: we had omitted taking account of OUR ROLE , in whatever happened putting another hefty link in our eternal burden of chain: simmering, stewing anger. We used – (and ought to memorize) this important template of questions:

1. Who am I angry with and why? 2. How did I perceive myself to have been injured by them? 3. What was my role in the event, (even if only passive) 4. How could I have done things differently?

Having done that, we got a look at “The Big Picture.” Throughout our lives we had easily been given to dangerous emotional reactions, often in a knee-jerk pattern, rarely acting with forethought or restraint. It was Fear, Anger and Resentment – so often occurring in a primordial rage or a brood steaming mood; one which took us down the road to our favorite lure of escape: our addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling or other obsessive/compulsive behaviors.
Could it be worse? Absolutely! How about if we stuffed that anger into a Pandora’s Box buried below our escapism, only looking at it in a very altered state amidst a self-pity session; always thinking of ourselves as the victim and rarely the perpetrator. Even then, we had rare contributory negligence, based upon the just self-defense of our rightful honor! (lolol)
But by now we know different, having admitted that in front of the Benevolent Powers of the Universe and another human as a witness. We made a reckoning – a confession.
“Whew”! Intensely emotional and difficult – but at least it’s all over right? Not quite. Those personal relations may seem to have had their reckoning with us, but what about the people that were hurt; that were injured; that were damaged? What about the toughest cases of all – facing those we felt we had no fault with and blamed for everything if it didn’t border on hatred? What about them?
If we are to make our best effort at putting these events behind us, we’ll need to backtrack again and make sure that we haven’t missed someone (or hidden them). We’re going to have to “double-down” on that list, clearing some obstacles. The first and toughest is: forgiveness.
Our primary author put it this way: “To escape looking at the wrongs we have done another, we resentfully focus on the wrongs he has done us.” We have to make a start of it – even though it seems superficial: we forgive them one and all. “(B. Wilson – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions AAWS)
There will be no “white light” or “mountain wind” as most of us come to realize that “to err is human but to forgive is divine” and it just-isn’t-gonna- happen over-night. But, with patience, practice and reinforcement through repetition, we may eventually find the courage and strength to do what is right for them and ourselves. Old habits die hard,….. remember?
If that isn’t enough we’ll have to face facts: this is a planning session. We’re making this list to set-up face to face encounters with our accusers; to make amends- one on one or in the best manner we can, making sure that we don’t create excuses, diminishing the reality.
Our last and best explanation for our behavior, (and maybe theirs as well) is that we were drunk – high, or both, so we really never hurt anyone but ourselves, by intention. Sure. See – THAT’S the rationalization we need to avoid – one of purposeful forgetting.
Any reckoning we make will have to include making it right – restitution- reimbursement, and at the least a sincere pledge to amend our behavior in the future.
Those are the reasons that we make this list in Step Eight, our best effort yet to account for who we need to forgive and to ask forgiveness from.
Now, we’re not through with this. There’s more to be mulled over and we’ll take it up soon in an additional post.  My list was about six yellow legal tab pages, but the actual people I had to face were about four. Some are dead, or lost, but as the years go by I have asked the universe to carry my honest intentions anyway.
Let’s close with a daily meditation,………………..

August 16
Reflecting on Past Personal Relations
Defective relations with other human beings have the biggest share in reasons for our underlying woes, including the most important: our addictions and or alcoholism. Though we are not by any means finished with this field of investigation, little could be more important or rewarding than the ground we now reflect upon and list: past personal relationships.
It’s prudent, then, to apply calm, thoughtful reflection of some
length to our history of interactions. It’ll provide us with great insight.
An observer’s stance permits us to go far beyond those superficial
things that were wrong with us, providing clear insight as to our basic flaws. They have been responsible for the behavior patterns of our entire lives. We’ll discover this thoroughness pays us with the desired results, doing so handsomely.
Self-searching is the means by which we find new vision. With
spiritual support, this needed action exposes the dark and negative side of our nature. Through this honest effort, we acquire the humility that makes it possible for us to receive spiritual help. When compiling this list we will need just that—our God’s loving care.
By this reflection upon our past personal relations we’ll again feel
the sunlight of what we know as grace, making it clear we are doing the next right thing.

*Interested in the book: “Living the twelve steps of recovery – One Day at a Time – As It Was in the Beginning”?

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Printed and E-Books By Arthur Messenger

“Living the 12 Steps of Recovery – One Day at a Time – As it Was in the Beginning”  is a classical revival of the spiritual principles of recovery, The 12 Steps and Traditions, offered in a format of Daily Readings with rotation on a monthly basis.Each Chapter has a stunning pencil drawing depicting persons contemplating the essence of the Step or Tradition and each chapter has ( in the Soft-back Version) pages in between the chapters for personal notes or journaling. In addition: there are two approx 20 page Appendices on Prayer and Meditation, the mindset skills that so many use to replace their addictions and alcoholism.

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