Step 10 of a 12-Step Series
As I embarked on Step 10 with my Sponsor, I was still reeling from how my last two amends went with loved ones. I felt a little weary and emotionally beaten down from the five months of introspection that Step 9 afforded me.
This next Step seemed like a welcome reprieve from all of the Step-work I’d been doing up to this point and I eagerly made an appointment with my Sponsor so we could get the show on the road.
Step 10, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, pp. 88-95
The Tenth Step felt like it was designed to help keep me in check and actually help me from getting myself into situations where I would build up resentments towards others. By taking my own personal inventory at the end of each day and wasting no time in admitting when I’m wrong, is sure to help me avoid future situations wherein I might have to make amends for my behavior. It’s a check-and-balance routine guaranteed to help me avoid creating new resentments and go to bed with a clear conscience at the end of the day.
Here are a few spiritual principles associated with this Step that I work hard on incorporating into my everyday life:
That every time I am disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with me and I need to take a look at what that is and address it.
I shall look for progress, not perfection, in all of my affairs.
Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. Nothing.
The Tenth Step is designed to help me live just for today and affords me the opportunity to avoid future-tripping. Working this Step successfully is helping me to stay in the moment and not let too much time pass if I need to admit I’m wrong about something. Promptly dealing with my wrongs has helped to stave off emotional turmoil and energy surrounding them. Basically, I just handle my shit right away and move on. I’ve learned that I don’t have to carry it with me throughout the days or weeks following my transgression. I own up to my part in things, say sorry, if necessary, and get on with my life. Because if I don’t do this, I might be tempted to drink over it. This Step helps me maintain emotional sobriety.
There is the potential for absolute and total freedom in this Step if I work it every single day and do so honestly. I can actually feel relief now when faced with an uncomfortable situation because I know my integrity is shored up and I tell the truth. No. Matter. What. I own my part in things and don’t point the finger at others.
This Step has shown me that I absolutely have the capacity to make better choices and that I can easily avoid the building up of resentments towards others. The practice of promptly admitting when I’m wrong has allowed me to stay humble and accurately see my part in things.
Stay in my lane.
Stay in my hula hoop.
Stay on my side of the street.
It’s easier for me to acknowledge where I’ve gone wrong or use that information as a jumping off point to make immediate amends or course corrections later on down the line. I’ve also shifted my thinking and believe that my mistakes are actually one of my greatest learning devices in my own recovery.
After working the Steps up to this point, I now feel like I have a greater capacity to make better choices in my life. Being fully aware of my own defects of character has illuminated things for me in my own recovery from alcohol. My old ways of judging, gossiping, procrastinating and being prideful are now my teachers. Facing my defects, or whatever you want to call them, and doing the next right thing has kept me moving forward on this path to sober living and has brought me into a relationship with my higher self.
A few years back, at the height of my drinking, I was 44 years old and drinking the equivalent of 42 drinks a week, buying bouron every other day at the local drugstore, hiding it in decanters around my home and telling nothing but heavily edited versions of the truth. I hated who I was and felt ashamed and miserable in the life I was living.
Step 10 ensures that I no longer have to live that way. Working the Steps up to this point has allowed me to practice these principles in all of my affairs and has made me into someone I’m proud of, instead of someone I’m ashamed of. Step 10, in particular, has given me my self-respect back and I’m not giving that up again for all the craft cocktails in the world.
Tammi hasn’t had a drink since February 3, 2015. She is a former wine bar owner, lifelong seeker and recovering perfectionist. She makes art every day and credits this practice as the path to her spiritual overhaul. She documents her creative forays and monthly sobriety milestones at TammiSalas.com Her writing here will share her story as she navigates the 12 Steps of AA.
A NOTE FROM TAMMI:
Anonymity is the foundation of AA and I respect that. However, I choose torecover out loud in order to be of service to other people still suffering.