Step 8 : Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
The word “willing” is the key word in Step 8 just as it is a key word in all of the steps. You don’t necessarily have to want to make the amends; you just have to be willing to do so. The willingness comes from humbleness, determination and the desire to do whatever it takes to stop drinking or drugging or cutting or sexing or whatever it is for you.
So what does it mean to be willing? According to the folks at Oxford, Willing means to be ready, eager, or prepared to do something. Another definition goes as far to say given or done readily as in the phrase “it’s a given”. An example would be: it’s a given that she will move out of the house once she has obtained a stable job. Another way to look at it is it just being something you do. It just is. Some could say that the regular men and women who make up the now renown Cajun Navy see it as just something you do because why would you not? They may not always be up for everything water rescue involves, but they do it any way because of the strong desire to help or make a difference. Being willing to make amends is not all that different. You may not be up for everything that the act of making an amends entails, but your desire to beat your addiction and your desire to grow and to become a better version of yourself outweighs any negatives and so you make the amends.
Another way to look at making an amends is to remember that the amends is not for the person you harmed. Let’s face it. Some of the people on your list might deserve to be harmed. And that’s okay. It’s just not your job to do it. As you progress through the steps you learn about keeping your side of the street clean and not worrying so much about your neighbors yard. You can’t control them anyway. All you can control is your own yard. Step 8 is a precursor to keeping your side of the street clean. Doing what is right. Keeping a clean conscience. Stacking up good karma. It is all the same thing. AA and the 12 steps believe that if you keep your side of the street clean then all will go well with you - that you will be taken care of when in need. Making the amends isn’t for the person you harmed although some of them might benefit from it. Making an amends is for yourself. You are clearing your conscience, tidying away the cob webs and starting on a new path where you are responsible for your actions. It is the embarking on a new journey to a new you.
All you have to do is be willing. If you aren’t willing you cannot get through the steps. And it you can’t get through the steps how can you expect to stay sober? Are you willing?