Why do you need to resolve issues with challenging people?
There will come a time when alcoholics and other drug users need to resolve issues they have with challenging people. These enemies can be people or feelings, and we will have identified many of them through our Fourth Step. Step Eight instructs us to be willing to make amends to them whenever possible. The Big Book describes it this way:
It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret. Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drink- ing until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past.
Making amends can set straight feuds and fights that have lasted many years. It can make friends out of people who have challenged us, and at the very least provide the opportunity to have a civil relationship.
This directive does not include those who have been perpetrators of abuse. Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Making amends to someone who has hurt you physically, sexually, or emotionally is not the focus of this passage. It may help you in your recovery, however, to get to the point where you can forgive an abuser so you can be free of anger and hurt.
Feelings as enemies
Substance abusers have other enemies that are not human. Perhaps our greatest enemies are resentments, jealousy, envy, and fear. Alcoholics need to constantly monitor their feelings and handle them in healthy ways. They do this so that resentments and other strong feelings do not shatter their serenity and rob them of their sobriety.