| We might
next ask ourselves what we mean when we say that we have "harmed"
other people. What kinds of "harm" do people do one another,
anyway? To define the word "harm" in a practical way, we might
call it the result of instincts in collision, which cause physical,
mental, emotional, or spiritual damage to people.
I had been to Eighth Step meetings, always thinking, "I really
haven't harmed many people, mostly myself." But the time came
when I wrote my list out and it was not as short as I thought
it would be. I either liked you, disliked you, or needed something
from you--it was that simple. People hadnít done what I wanted
them to do and intimate relationships were out of hand because
of my partners' unreasonable demands. Were these "sins
of omission"? Because of my drinking, I had "dropped
out"--never sending cards, returning calls, being there for
other people, or taking part in their lives. What a grace
it has been to look at these relationships, to make my inventories
in quiet, alone with the God of my understanding, and to go
forth daily, with a willingness to be honest and forthright
in my relationships.