Personalizing Steps 8 and 9

These steps are already “personal”. Some of us stall here, delaying because of the personal work — actions — needed. We may want to “think” our way through these steps rather than actually do the work. But these steps are “walked” or worked to ease the guilt we may feel for past actions. Our feelings after completing these steps may be all over the map, from relief to elation, from nothing at all to disappointment. Disappointment? Yes, we might have anticipated some great lifting of a burden, and anything less could be a letdown. The long-term benefit comes naturally, and this gives us the practice to do this naturally & easily in later steps.

These steps are considered to be “cleaning our side of the street”. This is an apt description because the cleansing is for our benefit. The “other side of the street” is none of our business, and we can have no expectations of what happens as we do these steps.

Rather than go into detail personalizing steps 8 & 9, I refer you to a good summary from Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery. The chapter on Steps 8 & 9 is conveniently online at the AA Agnostica site:

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