By this point in your recovery journey, you’ve done a lot of hard work in clearing out negativity from the past. You’ve admitted your life became unmanageable, turned control over to your higher power, understood and asked God to remove your defects of character, and made amends with those you’ve harmed. In step 10 of AA, we’ll turn our focus now from the past to the present, setting ourselves up for a more positive future.
We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Here, we’ll look inward again.
What Does Step 10 in AA Mean?
Step 10 is not always easy to define. You’re usually aware of your behaviors and actions, but you’re not always taking inventory of them. The ability to admit when you’re wrong is an important component in staying sober. It’s another example of working the spiritual principle of humility.
Step 10 in AA is also an exercise in remaining honest with yourself. You were introduced to this principle back in step one, when you admitted and accepted that your life had become unmanageable. Now, it’s time to implement this principle into your daily life as you create the habit of taking regular personal inventory of your actions.
How to Work Step 10 in AA
Let’s say you get in an argument with a friend and you start to feel agitated. Perhaps, in the past, you’d start yelling, throwing insults, or slamming doors. In taking personal inventory and seeking to be more present in your actions, you can catch yourself before acting in an emotional state. By staying present, you realize that acting out won’t improve the situation; in fact, it’ll likely only make it worse.
Working step 10 in AA doesn’t mean that you’ll never make mistakes or get angry or hurt anyone again. It simply means that when you do get angry, you catch yourself before acting on your emotions. If you do end up making a mistake or hurting someone, you are able to admit it and try to right that wrong as soon as possible.
Step 10 isn’t only about noting your wrongs, either. Continuously taking personal inventory should include the things we did right, as well.
Some questions to ask yourself in regards to step 10 include:
- Have there been times in my recovery when I was wrong and wasn’t aware of it until later?
- Why is living in the present helpful for my recovery?
- What does it mean to promptly admit when I’m wrong?
- Do I often allow my feelings to dictate my actions? Why?
Learning to Be Present
Not allowing ourselves to be swept up in emotions is easier said than done. Our minds are not used to staying in control of our emotions at all times, so building this habit will require us taking a bit of time to train our brains.
This can be done through a regular practice of mindfulness meditations. Meditating can help us in many ways while we are in recovery. It goes hand in hand with prayer – prayer can help us improve our relationship with our higher power while meditation can help us improve our relationship with ourselves.
As far as step 10 in AA goes, the most important benefit of meditation is that it helps keep our awareness in the present moment. During meditation, we aim to sit quietly and notice any thoughts that arise, before letting them go. Once we’ve made meditation a regular habit, this awareness of our thoughts continues throughout our daily lives and we’re able to control our emotions more than we were before.
Again, this doesn’t mean that we’ll never feel negative emotions. It just means that we’ll be better at minimizing the harm that comes from these feelings.
Need Help Following the 12 Steps of AA?
Taking regular personal inventory is easier when you have a community to help hold you accountable. The beauty of 12-step programs is that they come with a built-in community for you right there in the form of your group and your sponsor.
At Any Length, we strongly believe in the healing power of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our programs use the steps to help men find freedom from addiction. If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you begin your journey to lifelong recovery, give us a call today at (512) 746-7036.