With a Jewish Voice: Step 8
“Wherever you go, God goes with you.” Deuteronomy Rabbah 2:10
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Now, we begin yet another process, another step. Make a list, it sounds so simple. Just like any attempt to repair the damage, you have to figure out exactly what is wrong. The Big Book says, “The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted… a man is unthinking when he says that ‘sobriety’ is enough”.
Once again we have to take responsibility for the wreckage of the past. Deep down we know it, but looking directly at our actions will bring on a whole new level of healing. We are beginning the process know in Hebrew as ‘teshuvah’.
Maybe you remember it from the high holidays. It is sometimes translated as ‘repentance’. But more than that, it means to return. Our hope is that we can return to the person that wouldn’t have caused such harm in the first place. But first we have to recognize our wrongs, and thus the list. We must take responsibility for our actions and feeling true remorse, resolve to make amends.
“Like water, teshuvah is both destructive and creative. It dissolves the person you were, but simultaneously provides the moisture you need to grow anew…. Teshuvah, like water, has the power both to wash away past sins and shower you with the blessings of a new future.” - Dr. Louis E. Newman, The Meaning & Practice of Teshuvah
And it all begins with a list.