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Step 8

Section 4: The SEA's 12 Step Workbook
Self-Esteem Seekers Anonymous -

The SEA's Program of Recovery
By James J. Messina, Ph.D.


Step 8

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.


Directions: As you systematically work through the twelve steps of the SEA's program, you will be expected to read the material in this section and respond to the questions in your journal. Each step contains key words or concepts, which are explored in the questions under each step. Your recovery from the negative impact of self‑esteem is dependent on your honest assessment, admission, and acceptance of the steps you need to take in order to ensure your personal recovery. Most likely over your lifetime you will need to review these twelve steps, so for later reference keep the SEA's manual along with the other Tools‑for‑Coping‑Series books in a safe place.

Our behaviors have harmed others

Step 8 requires that you identify all people you have harmed by your behaviors which resulted from your low self‑esteem. You are also expected to be willing to make amends to them all. This step stops at the willingness to make amends and requires no direct action.


This step is very difficult for over-responsible people with low self‑esteem since they believe they have been the ones harmed by others. They need to recognize that their behaviors of fixing, rescuing, and enabling others harmed those others because it kept them dependent and thus less competent to take care of themselves.


To do this step you need to complete an exhaustive list of every person you affected and harmed by your low self‑esteem behaviors in your family of origin, relatives in your extended family, your spouse, immediate family, ex‑spouse or ex‑lovers, friends, people at school, people on your job, people in the community, and people in your network of support and yourself.

For each group listed list each person's name, list what you did you do to harm each of these people:

  • Family of origin
  • Relatives
  • Spouse and immediate family
  • Ex‑spouse or ex‑lovers or ex‑significant relationship
  • Friends
  • People at school
  • People at your different places of employment
  • People in the community                                     
  • People in your network of support
  • Yourself    


As you proceed in Step 8, answer these questions.

  1. How do you feel about this list of people you have harmed as a result of your low self‑esteem behaviors?
  2. How willing are you to make amends to each of these people?
  3. Recognizing that as you get healthier and “let go'' of the need to “take care of" and “fix'' others, there is the possibility that others will be hurt by this. List those people who will be hurt by your change into a healthier person:
  4. What can you do to “let go'' of guilt for the hurt they will or do feel?
  5. You harmed people when we were “doing the best that you could knowing what you did at the time.'' Recognizing this you now know that your healthy behaviors will hurt people. How is this different from directly harming people?
  6. If you choose not to work on changing your low self‑esteem‑based behaviors, you run the risk of harming yourself and others in the future. What do you need to do to ensure you stay on track in your recovery process so as not to harm yourself or others?
  7. How do you feel about the fact that you harmed others by your past behaviors?
  8. How has your guilt over this in the past influenced how you related to others?
  9. Did you stay in any relationships longer than healthy for you because of your guilt over the harm you had done to those people in the past?
  10. How does Step 8 make you feel about your recovery process?
  11. What effect on your mental health is it to list people who were harmed by your “sick'' low self‑esteem behaviors?
  12. How does this Step 8 process make you feel when you would rather blame others for your problem?
  13. How does Step 8 help you become more personally responsible for your own life?
  14. Which people on your list in Step 8 are the uncontrollables and unchangeables which you need to “let go'' of in Step 7?
  15. How does this make you feel about your past choices concerning people in your past life?
  16. How can your Higher Power assist you to be successful in achieving completion of Step 8?



Now that you have completed Step 8, reframe and restate this step in your own words as to how it helps you realize your recovery from low self‑esteem.