Making an 8th Step List of People We’ve Harmed

The 8th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous requires individuals to make a comprehensive list of every person they believe they have harmed, both in active addiction and otherwise.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a global, nonprofit fellowship that was designed to help men and women of all ages and walks of life successfully overcome alcohol addiction (or any other type of substance dependency) and go on to lead healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives. The main goal of AA is to help members stay sober themselves while giving them the tools they need to help other like-minded men and women once they have ample sober time under their belts. The only membership requirement for AA is a desire to stop drinking – while working the steps is strongly encouraged, it is not necessarily mandatory. However, many long-time AA’ers agree that this is the best way (if not the only way) to remain sober long-term.

Making an 8th Step List of People We've Harmed

The Twelve Steps Are Important for Sobriety

Each one of the 12 steps has a different purpose. The first step is admitting powerlessness, which helps men and women suffering at the hands of alcohol addiction understand that the disease of addiction is more powerful than moral standing or willpower. Those who are working the steps will understand the meaning of the word “unmanageability,” work through their resentments, and ultimately come to believe in a power greater than themselves. Numerous benefits go hand-in-hand with the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of these benefits include:

  • Communication skills.
  • The ability to relate to and connect with others.
  • Improved self-esteem, along with helping other like-minded men and women overcome obstacles.
  • Learning to discuss issues honestly and productively openly.
  • Learning a set of beneficial principles will help shape the lives of program members.

These are only a few of the numerous benefits associated with 12-step programs. At Absolute Awakenings, we strongly believe in 12-step immersion, requiring 12-step participation regardless of which substances were being abused and the severity.

What is the 8th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous?

The 8th step of Alcoholics Anonymous is generally regarded as one of the most challenging steps for program members to complete. Essentially, the 8th step requires individuals to make a comprehensive list of every person they believe they have harmed, both in active addiction and otherwise. Some people might confuse the 8th step with the 9th step – the 9th step entails making amends, meaning physically apologizing to the people you have harmed or wronged in the past. What makes the 8th step – simply compiling a list – more difficult than facing those you have wronged? Well, to complete the 8th step in its entirety, you must be completely honest with yourself.

Many individuals suffering at the hands of active addiction begin to fall victim to self-pity. They believe that the world is out to get them and that those in their lives who wanted the best for them only did them wrong. It can be difficult to step away from these feelings of victimization and recognize that you were the one who was doing the extensive damage. At Absolute Awakenings, we do everything in our power to teach our clients the importance of taking personal responsibility – and we do what we can to clarify the distinction between blame and responsibility.

Absolute Awakenings and 12-Step Immersion

At Absolute Awakenings Treatment Center, we believe strongly in the importance of the 12-step program as an essential part of comprehensive recovery. We have seen our clients benefit immensely from the program and learn invaluable lessons from the 8th step. So, if you or someone close to you has been suffering at the hands of substance abuse or dependency disorder, reach out today to get started on your journey of addiction recovery.


  1. Have a problem with alcohol? There is a solution. | Alcoholics Anonymous. Accessed January 17, 2023.
  2. The Twelve Steps | Alcoholics Anonymous. Accessed January 17, 2023.
  3. Kelly JF, Humphreys K, Ferri M. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;3(3):CD012880. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012880.pub2
Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Infinite RecoveryAscendant NY, The Heights Treatment, New Waters RecoveryGallus DetoxRecovery UnpluggedOcean RecoveryRefresh Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed January 17, 2023