10th Step - Keeping Ourselves Honest
to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 10 is the first of the so-called
maintenance steps. Once we've worked Steps 1 through 9, our recovery
should be on firm footing and we can truly begin getting on with
life free of our addiction and truly empowered.
But lasting and empowering recovery requires
ongoing growth, and the 10th Step is one of the best ways to ensure we
continue to develop.
Create a habit of self-honesty
As addicts we have a long history of
dishonesty with ourselves; as people we will make mistakes. Step 10 gives
us a framework for the continuing, but not obsessive, self-evaluation that
leads to serenity and balance – or gives us a way to get back to it when
things go wrong.
Tenth Step inventory can
be done almost any way you want to do it. Some people actually sit down
and write a bit every evening. I've done this from time-to-time; it's
great but hard for me to sustain. I find it works better for me first
thing in the morning along with organizing my day. But there are times
when I don't do that either.
I have discovered I can
keep track by noticing my mood and what I'm actually doing – some call
this maintaining a witness within. When I realize I'm angry or sad or
whatever, I mentally check to see what's going on. Sometimes it's a simple
as needing a break – other times I'll realize I've allowed some
resentment to build.
What's worked and what hasn't
One of the best
approaches to this I've found is to look at what's worked, or is working
and what hasn't worked, or isn't working. This way I avoid falling into
self-pity and self-degradation – hardly powerful positions!
It's important to note
that, in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, it says this inventory is
not to be totally negative – that is, if we use the 10 Step to it's
fullest, we also keep track of what we do well as the mistakes we make.
If, for example, I find I'm feeling like I'm not getting everything done,
I'll pause long enough to notice what I am getting done. Often I realize
the problem is I've set myself up to do too much! When this is true, I
look at what I can skip, or postpone or just give myself credit.
The point here is we are
not to wallow in what we do wrong, but take an honest and total look at
ourselves – and a complete look means we see what's good about ourselves
as well as those things we recognize need changing.
Of course a willingness
to make an instant apology when we need to helps as well. I don't mean
apologizing for every little thing, but the true taking responsibility
that can make such a positive difference and create solutions as well.
At first glance, the 10th
Step can seem like a never-ending chore; properly used, it's empowering
and a great tool for mental, spiritual and physical growth.
Love, peace and