Made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
The list, in a sense was already part written because those persons were on my resentment list and my guilt list from step 4.
So I wrote down a list of all, not just the ones who I thought would be easy to approach, but all. To the best of my ability I wrote my list and I also wrote why I should make amends to them. With the exception of sexual abuse, every person that I resented, every person who I had harmed, I had done myself in one way or another. I have never sexually abused anyone. It was strange. The man who raped me when I was a boy kept coming into my mind. I realised that if I wanted people to forgive me, then I had to forgive! I don’t know where that man is or whether he is still alive, but I forgive him. What did Jesus say?, “Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone”, not “Let he who has not committed the same sin as him, cast the first stone”.
A sin is a sin. I am no better than anyone else, forgiveness sets people free, arrogance and a sense of being cruelly treated causes pain, friction, etc!
Well, my list was long, I went back to Dave and we talked it through, who I should physically approach, who I should write to, and those who I would be willing to make amends to. Willing, well I was involved in serious crime, if I went to these institutes I would end up in prison! So, I became willing.
The people I had inflicted my will, my violence, my arrogance, my selfishness my jealousy, my envy, my lust, my greed, my dishonesty, my pride, my self pity etc.
I had beaten a man up and this tortured me because he was not the usual gangster type character that I associated with! He got on the wrong side of me over a petty argument and I went berserk and became violent, which led to him being hospitalised! I would, when driving around Liverpool, avoid where he lived because I did not want to see him, because of the guilt it would trigger if I saw him!
I could see the value of this step in short, say your sorry, ask for forgiveness and try not to do it again, and live a blameless life!
It would be a waste of time making amends and then going out and doing the same things that lead to friction, resentment or violence.
So again, I set about learning to practice opposites. The road to freedom where I could look the world in the eye, knowing I had tried my best to clear the wreckage of the past.
In doing that, it makes the character stronger. It is not a weak thing to see that you are the problem, but it is a great strength. In reality, I can really only change myself. To know you are trying your best to bring about peace.
When I finished my list, I wrote the plan of action, who I would approach and when. I had stolen, so I paid money to charities to help drill water wells in India. I also sponsored 2 children in the third world by paying a monthly sum, so they could be helped in various ways.
Sure, I was nervous about approaching people, but I did it. I was never once made to feel guilty by anyone I made amends to!
The other side is that it gives people faith knowing people do care. I would ask you to think about that step if you want people to forgive you for the way you have treated them. Then you have to forgive people for the way they have treated you!
I did not know I had defects of character, I only found out after doing my inventory. Now, if people are not on a 12 step programme how are they ever going to change, so you have to understand that you have changed but don’t expect everyone to start thinking and reacting the way you do now, now that you are on a spiritual path.