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  • Step Ten

    by Pat P.

    “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

    All the steps up to this point are getting me to move from seeing the world from the outside/in to the inside/out. It’s all been about learning to take responsibility for what’s happening in my life. By continuing my work on the Steps, I will increase my capacity to develop new and healthier ways of taking care of myself and relating to others. Since most negative encounters find that all parties are at fault in some measure, I now vow to take responsibility for my words and actions with the folks involved.

    Doing Step Ten

    This checking myself out on a daily basis is something I’m going to have to think about. I keep thinking there is an end to all this program stuff but as soon as I finish one task, another is issued to me. Sometimes growing up sucks. So, again I must sell myself on this daily inventory thing. I must ask myself how daily inventory will help me develop the ability to appraise my behavior. How does taking a daily inventory support my spiritual growth ? How does daily inventory improve my ability to get along with others? Can I think of examples from my life when a situation would have been eased if I had apologized instead of letting the situation go on? I must remember times I have blamed others and not been willing to look at my part in the problem. Do I feel a strong need to be right? I must give some examples of situations where replacing a character defect with a character asset would have been beneficial to my serenity. I must make a list of the benefits I feel would be gained from doing a daily inventory. How much time do I spend alone reflecting on my life? How is it helpful in my recovery?

    What new defects have emerged as a result of my new experiences? How does daily inventory help me remain free of resentments and allow me to deal with issues promptly? I must list examples where I have been misunderstood. What precautions am I taking to prevent becoming overly confident and falling into past behavior patterns? Have I been able to recognize and learn from the positive things I do each day? What changes have I made in my lifestyle?

    After finishing this I must put into action this new concept of admitting that I make mistakes. I’ll never do it without my sponsor’s help.

    Listening to Step Ten

    Step Ten isn’t hard for me to listen to because so much of it is action. I remember how hard it was for me to learn to take my inventory every day. At this point in my recovery I’m still interacting with my sponsee on a daily basis. I’m not saying I talk to him every day but he does leave a message with me on a daily basis. By this time our relationship is strong and close enough that we keep no secrets from each other. In saying that, I also am a realist who understands that both of us have secrets that we are so ashamed of we wouldn’t confess them to anyone.

    I like to ask him what he did today. I want to hear how he is interacting with other people. Particularly in the beginning I will hear him tell me about an incident with much judgment in his presentation. That raises a flag for me to ask whether he needs to clean up his side of the street with an amends. Many times they will try to convince me they didn’t say it out loud so an amends isn’t in order.

    They must learn thinking about something can be just as harming to our serenity as speaking it out load. I can’t tell you how much resentment I’ve created without saying a word.

    They must remember this isn’t about right and wrong but about serenity and peace of mind. Remember, alcohol and drugs are just a symptom not the problem. The lack of serenity is my problem and until I clean up my side of the street the need to mood-alter will remain.

    Although he has tried to clean up his wreckage of the past, he must not forget to stop creating more wreckage, which is a serious problem all people in recovery have. He cannot hope to stop making problems in his life but he can learn to clean up the mess as soon as he creates it. So, he needs to practice on a daily basis the taking of his inventory to reduce the amount of wreckage he carries. One of the first things he needs to learn is to stop making his problems. Also, he must continue to surround himself with people who are doing the same so he will have a support system in this growing up thing he got himself into.

    Reprinted by kind permission of Recovery Today. About the Author: Pat Peteson has been in recovery for over twenty-five years and a substance abuse counselor for over twenty years. He presently works with X-Gang members in the Department of Criminal Justice. He also has published a Twelve Step Workbook covering many addictions.

    About the Authors

    Renascent Alumni
    Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email alumni@renascent.ca.