Step 10 – Staying Honest With Yourself

Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (*)

Steps 10, 11 and 12 are often referred to as the “maintenance steps.” The thinking is by the time you work the first 9 you’re recovery has a solid start. You’ve begun to feel the power of becoming recovered through the Program. Our work then becomes maintaining and growing the gift of recovery we’ve been given. It starts with self-honesty.

Cultivating the self-honesty habit

Step 10 is about staying honest with ourselves, on a daily basis. The idea is that if we handle problems when they happen and they’re small they won’t have a chance to get big. If I make a mistake with someone and apologize right away neither person will have a chance to let the incident build to resentment or worse.

Some people actually write out a brief inventory every evening. I’ve done this off and on and it works, but I’ve yet to sustain it for any length of time. Instead I work to stay present. Being in the moment seems to let me either avoid problems or notice them quickly. Once I’m aware of something I’ve done wrong I can work to rectify it right away.

What’s been working?

One good way to do a quick inventory I’ve found is to notice what’s working and what’s not. When I find something that’s working well I do more of it, or be sure I make space for it. On the other hand, when I notice something isn’t working I stop it! It can be that simple.

Of course, sometimes I have to dig more deeply. This is particularly true when I find myself resenting someone. Resentments seem to last over time unless I take action to let them go.

For example, there’s a gal in one of my meetings that seems to want to control everything. She used to drive me to distraction and I resented her. Kind of weird when you think about it. I don’t like some of her behavior so I let myself get into a dangerous place. That’s not her fault.

A little bit of self-honesty showed me that I too like to control! I have learned to control that in many ways. What’s really going on with this woman is I see a part of myself I don’t like. Once I understood that I was able to realize that when I want to control it’s because I’m afraid instead of trusting. Now I have some genuine compassion for her. That’s the 10th Step in action.

It’s not only resentment that may need some concentrated attention. I find it’s worthwhile working a 10th on any recurring problem.

Not all in red ink

The 12 and 12 tells us on page 93 that “…inventory-taking is not always done in red ink.” I’ve found it’s helpful to balance any negative with a positive.

Most of us do way more good than we tend to notice. As we said in Step 7 real humility is “…the desire to seek and do God’s will.” (p. 72) We’re good at our jobs or we keep a neat home or we act responsibly with our children, or we donate money to worthy causes, or we help set up 12 Step meetings – the list goes on and on.

It only makes sense to pay attention to what we do right as well as what we do wrong. In fact, when we pay attention to what we want more of we often get it.

How do you do your 10th Step?

Love, blessings and abundance,

Anne W. Powerfully Recovered


michele thomas October 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

thank you for your recovery. what good solid words of wisdom for myself and others.
i got sober in 1985 and was helped by the group i attended every week. the focus was on the Big Book and the 12 x 12. i was told that if i didn’t get into the steps, there would be no hope of maintaining any kind of a new way of living. that i would have to use old skills and old thinking…and that i could see where that got me in life.
thank you again for allowing me to re visit how i got sober and where i am today.
be well, be blessed.
michele t

annew October 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

You’re welcome Michele. Glad you’re here.

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