This list, hopefully made in Step 4, perhaps enlarged in Step 5, is now looked at as a separate entity. We believe it is essential to work with an experienced member or our sponsor to avoid our uncanny ability to fall prey to the pitfalls of this vital work: (a) outright avoidance, (b) attempting to rush headlong into “apologizing” for deep emotional harms, the ones we should approach when we are “CHANGED PEOPLE” (c) skirting around and procrastinating on items of “current business” – the landlord MUST be seen at the end of the month!
After reading and re-reading Big Book pages 76-84 (100 times is about right!) we use a simple “column” form that looks like this:
|NAME||NATURE OF HARM DONE||PLAN FOR AMEND||DEGREE OF HEAT|
Under the “NAME” column, we list the people, institutions, and principles.
Column 2, is “OUR SIDE OF THE STREET” – what WE DID, our thoughts, our decision, our actions and re-actions.
Column 3 is a DETAILED plan of approach, action and a sample “script” of what we propose to say.
The “HEAT” Column is for us to “rank” the difficulty of the amend; for example, “1” could mean “I could do this one today, and “10” being “I shall carry these to my grave.”
After an opening prayer and meditation, we carefully review this material with our sponsor or older member, agreeing to abide with any practical advice that is given to us (See BB page 96). For many, it may be advisable to do the most heated amend first. By doing so, we can utilize and embrace the “spiritual momentum” created by the previous 7 Steps, and we will be taking immediate action on the most severe threats to our sobriety. Others may be paralyzed by the fear of the most “heated,” and the tack will be to start with some of the lesser ones first.
There is a method of Doing this work in 3 “heats” (a) I can do these (b) These are hard (c) These I cannot do. When Column “a” is complete, Column “b” MAGICALLY moves into the realm of “these I can do”, and Column “c” MAGICALLY moves into the category of “hard.” An experiential example of the Power working in our lives! Then with “two down” the IMPOSSIBLE becomes OK to do!
Being vigilant that we have asked God to enter into our hearts and minds and lives, that we are committed to the “willingness to go to any lengths,” we formulate a starting plan and instigate action. It is at this point that the older member concerned must employ the admonition “Quit using God … and ask God to use us.”
As the PROMISED and GUARANTEED new revelations, directions, sense of Power, and spiritual awareness arise, the list, plans, and methods are adjusted accordingly. We MUST remember (and often be motivated by) the fact that this IS a LIFE-or-DEATH matter.