by Karen B. (Munro 2012)
I have a deep affection for Step 10. For me it is putting out the garbage every day and returning to kind and thoughtful thinking. I plan my morning and ask for my higher power’s help and guidance for the day. I feel a sense of calm and focus wash over me.
A favourite quote and cornerstone of following the practice of Step 10 is on page 88 of the 12 and 12: “Can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions?” If I ask myself these questions, I immediately find out if I am on or off the beam.
When I find myself getting caught up in negative thinking, I journal about it. Writing my thoughts down brings to light some answers that I believe I couldn’t have come to otherwise. If I’m not paying attention to what is coming up for me each day, I won’t know how to deal with the problem, or even that there is a problem at all. I am reminded of my reoccurring character defects and that, indeed, they need to be addressed. After working the previous none steps, this doesn’t induce guilt or shame as it once did. It’s like a light bulb switching on, so that I can be aware of it and make progress.
An important issue that keeps coming up for me while working Step 10 is confronting head on what I feel is justifiable anger. If something or someone upsets me, what is wrong with me that makes me feel this way? I prefer to own this emotion since I have no control over the thoughts and feelings of anyone else.
I have learned that anger is dangerous no matter what the cause and I need to keep my side of the street clean. Sometimes that involves an apology. Sometimes it means that I need to forgive or let go. But I certainly know that I am a lot sicker when I hold on to it. If I’m aware, it doesn’t need to turn into a deep resentment. I don’t feel the need to lash out or gossip. I catch my motives before taking action.
When I was using, I acted very impulsively, not thinking before I spoke. I often demanded my own way whether it was reasonable or not. Step 10 teaches me to take a step back and give myself a chance to act with care and love. And when I don’t catch it in the moment and I act out badly, I can identify that an amend needs to be made. It gives me the opportunity to change my behaviour before it turns into a damaged relationship or a misunderstanding.
I believe that all the important relationships in my life have benefited from working Step 10. I don’t need to make the same mistakes and it keeps me honest and humble. I am also much more at peace in my life if I’m not holding on to needless negative thoughts and feelings. My higher power alerts me to needed revisions to my attitude, when I take the time to investigate my actions for the day. The process of this daily spot check and inventory is as important as house cleaning to me, as getting the laundry or dishes done every day.
So today I ask myself … Can I stay sober? Yes! Keep in emotional balance? Yes! One day at a time! And live to good purpose under all conditions? With the help of Step 10, I’m making progress … not perfection.