Step ten of the twelve steps originally outlined by the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous reads, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” Step ten is one of three steps considered to be the maintenance steps. Ten, eleven, and twelve of the twelve steps are the steps incorporated into daily living to ensure ongoing participation in one’s recovery. Taking regular inventory, making amends where necessary, meditating, praying, and being of service to others should all be part of one’s daily life. Each serve a distinct purpose for maintaining serenity and freedom from the bondage of self.
In the primary text for Alcoholics Anonymous, the tenth step is described as the next step in order “to grow in understanding and effectiveness.” After having completed the moral inventory of the fourth step, closely examined liabilities of character through the sixth and seventh steps, then righted wrongs in the eighth and ninth step, the tenth step suggests continuation. “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.” The book proposes talking to someone as soon as these character liabilities are noticed and immediately turning to service to help another person. “Love and tolerance,” the authors write, “is our code.”
Regularly participating in a tenth step means reviewing the events of one’s day and honestly asking oneself where they might have been dishonest, fearful, selfish, or self-centered. The program of AA is focused on spiritual awakening, resting on the theory that such negative complications block an individual from their full spiritual potential. When weighed down by self-focused concerns it is difficult to be of maximum service to one’s higher power and one’s fellows. Ending a day with unsettled resentments of any kind is damaging to one’s recovery and until they are remedied with honesty and action, continue to grow over time.
Recent research supports the psychology of this theory. Going to be angry makes the reason one is angry worse. Without resolution before bedtime, the negative memories associated with the angering event become more permanent. It is more likely to wake up extra angry, resentful, and disgruntled without working out a problem than it is after working it out. Many falsely believe that just ignoring a problem and getting a good night’s sleep will be the answer to an angry situation. Wake up refreshed in a brand new day and forget the events of the day before is the hypothesis. However, the spiritual life and scientific endeavours prove that to be false thinking. Additionally, choosing to ignore difficult feelings or situations is a characteristic of how one used to abuse substances like drugs and alcohol.
Recovery is a process of development in communication, honesty, and action. By continuing to take personal inventory, there is little left to build up overtime which might inspire relapse later on.
Avalon By The Sea supports the integration of 12 step philosophy and practice into the clinical treatment of mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Our mission is to provide healing for mind, body, and spirit. We know freedom waits for you. Addiction may be progressive, but so is healing. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call 1 888-958-7511.