Step Ten

Step Ten Contents:

Introduction
Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4 and Questions for journaling
Part 5 and Questions for journaling

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Step Ten ~ Introduction

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


Hi. My name is Audrey, and I am a compulsive eater and food addict, and your leader this month for Step 10.





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Step Ten ~ Part One

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


Hi. My name is Audrey, and I am a compulsive eater and food addict, and your leader this month for Step 10.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

I read the following at an AA meeting in New York City: "If I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I've always got." To me that is the essence of Step 10. Logical, sure. But by the time I got to Step 10, I had experienced some length of abstinence. And each new day, which once upon a time had presented excitement and newness, soon became a little less exciting. And the rhythm of the days sometimes became, well, let's face it, a little boring. Clearly I need something to keep me on an even keel 24-hour after 24-hour.

There are lots of things that I do to continue to "get what I always got:" I call my sponsor, I use the tools, each morning I pray to and turn my day over to my HP. Each day I make a new commitment to abstain from eating compulsively. But each day my life brings me new events ... and new possibilities for my reaction. Things happen and I feel angry and sometimes I respond well, and sometimes not so well. So what do I do to handle those feelings and responses? I turn to Step 10.

This month we're going to explore the why and how of Step 10. Just as each OA has his/her own way of approaching Step 4, each OA also has his/her own way of approaching Step 10. I'm going to give you the way I do it, and I hope that you'll all share how *you* do it as well.



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Step Ten ~ Part 1: Questions

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Here are some questions for pondering.

1. What are some of the things you do daily to maintain abstinence and recovery?

2. What were some of your feelings and thoughts about the work you did in Steps 1 - 9?

3. How has your life changed -- and *not* changed -- since you started working the 12 Steps of OA?

4. How have your responses to the things life brings changed (or not) since you started working the 12 Steps of OA?

Yours in recovery,
Audrey

God runs my life better than I do. I must remember to stay out of the way.






Step Ten ~ Part Two

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


Hi. My name is Audrey, and I am a compulsive eater and food addict, and your leader this month for Step 10.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

According to the OA 12 and 12, "the purpose of step 10 is to identify and remove from our path today's stumbling blocks, those manifestations of pride, fear, anger, self-pity, greed, and other emotions which are bringing pain into our lives and keeping us from growing today." Funny ... I thought I had gotten rid of those things in Steps 6 and 7, but here they were, constantly popping up. Was there something wrong w/my program? Many years ago I called my sponsor from a pay phone in Grand Central Station in New York City. I felt frantic and helpless because a character defect kept surfacing, and I kept acting out a behavior that I thought I had let go in Steps 6 and 7. I begged her, "When will I stop doing this?" She calmly and lovingly replied, "When you're ready." Again, was there something wrong with my program?

Step 10 tells me that, quite the opposite, there's nothing wrong with my program. Step 10 is the step that makes me realize how human I am ... I make mistakes, I am not made pure as newly fallen snow just because I have asked HP to remove my shortcomings. Life happens, as the saying goes, and I respond the way I know how to respond, and Step 10 acts as my buffer against emotional hangovers and the roaring tornado that I can easily become. Step 10 is the daily checking in with myself and my HP that allows me to let go of the feelings I experience ... the very feelings that lead me to eat compulsively. Step 10 gives me a daily process that I can follow to "recognize our emotions and walk through the pain they cause us, but then to let go of them, and turn them over to our Higher Power so that we can regain our emotional balance."

I'll give you an example of some recent 10th step work. I have been feeling overwhelmed at work and at home. What may have started as self-compassion was quickly becoming rampant self-pity. I was taking on responsibilities that didn't belong to me and becoming resentful because of it (no one was asking me to do these things, but one of my character defects is martyrdom). I was feeling anxious and antsy and food was calling me loudly and I was having minor temper tantrums that were threatening to blow out of proportion. I knew I needed some 10th step work.

One of the questions my sponsor suggests I write about on a daily basis is, "What bothered you today?" About a dozen pages later, I was able to recognize the real underlying feelings I was experiencing, the thoughts that led to those feelings, and the character traits/instincts that were out of whack. By the end of my writing rampage (and that's really what it was), I was able to take a deep breath and ask HP to help me. In fact, those were the last two words I wrote, "HELP ME." I felt HP's love and comfort, and was able to sleep a full night's sleep for the first time in several weeks. What a miracle.



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Step Ten ~ Part 2: Questions

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Some questions for pondering:

1. What did you think would happen to old behaviors/responses/attitudes after you worked Step 7? Did these things happen?

2. What happens if you allow feelings to stay bottled up inside?

3. How can you tell if you are losing your emotional balance?

4. How do "today's stumbling blocks" keep you from growing and maintaining spiritual balance?

Yours in recovery,
Audrey

God runs my life better than I do. I must remember to stay out of the way.






Step Ten ~ Part Three

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


Hi. My name is Audrey, and I am a compulsive eater and food addict, and your leader this month for Step 10.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Several years ago a story was floating around my meetings ... about the person who walked down the street and fell into a pot hole. The next time the person walked down the street, the person was just tripped by the pot hole. The next time, the person stumbled. The next time, the person walked around the pot hole. And the next time, the person just went down a different street altogether.

I think that's the essence of Step 10. My Step 10 work enables me to identify the pot holes in my life, and eventually, I completely avoid them by doing something entirely different. The AA 12 and 12 refers to this as "the development of self-restraint." It says that "our first job is to sidestep the traps. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic."

I know that I have experienced some of this development of "automatic self-restraint." An example is my love of gossiping. After many, many years, I can feel it in my bones and my heart when I am tempted to gossip ... and an automatic response system goes on alert and reminds me of what the future might hold should I engage in gossip. I'm finding this in many areas of my life, and it's all due to Step 10.



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Step Ten ~ Part 3: Questions

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Some questions for pondering:

1. What have been some of your biggest "pot holes?"

2. What have you done to completely avoid the "street" in the first place?

3. How has Step 10 helped you here?

4. How can you use imagery to help in your Step 10 work -- for example: how can you imagine yourself doing something different the next time temptation hits?

Yours in recovery,
Audrey

God runs my life better than I do. I must remember to stay out of the way.






Step Ten ~ Part Four

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


First of all, as we finish up Step 10 for 2000, I want to thank you for allowing me to be your trusted servant this month.

Last week I was in a major funk. Everything was going wrong, nothing was going right, and I felt like the world's biggest victim. The world was truly out to get me. And my Step 10 inventory reflected this. I could do NOTHING right. One of my daily Step 10 writing assignments is "Today, I respect myself for ..." Several days went by before I could think of something. There are days like that :) And then there are the days when nothing bothers me or when I do nothing wrong. There are days like that, too :) Step 10 helps me to keep my life in perspective and to remain humble and grateful. It's really important for me to always remember that "this, too, shall pass" and to remember to acknowledge my good points as well as my disappointments.

Step 10 also helps me clean my sidewalk on a daily basis. It's just as important to remember the second part of Step 10: "and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." It's not like Step 9, which can come after some period of time from Step 4 work. Step 10 assumes that the daily work of making a mess and cleaning it up will become habitual. As long as I stay current, I don't have to go back way into the past. It's kind of like my laundry: if I stay current and do a few loads each day (there are 5 of us in the family), I don't have to spend all weekend long washing, drying and folding.



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Step Ten ~ Part 4: Questions

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Some thoughts for journaling:

1. Do you ever have "days like that" when nothing seems to be going right? How do you use your program to get through those days?

2. How do you balance acknowledging your positive and negative qualities?

3. Why do you think it's important to make amends immediately?

4. My daily inventory questions are:

Today, I respect myself for ...
Today, I enjoyed (something outside of myself) ...
Today, I helped ...
Today, I was bothered by ...
Today, I am grateful for ...
What does *your* Step 10 inventory look like?

Yours in recovery,
Audrey

God runs my life better than I do. I must remember to stay out of the way.






Step Ten ~ Part Five

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."


A few weeks ago I was writing my daily 10th Step, trying to answer these questions:

1. Today, I was bothered by ...;
2. Today, I helped ...;
3. Today I enjoyed ... (preferable something *outside* of myself); and
4. Today, I respect myself for ... .
5. Today, I am grateful for ...

Being bothered, as usual, was not a problem :) Neither was helping people. And, oddly enough, neither was the gratitude list. I got stuck, however, on the enjoyment and respect parts. It seemed that -- beyond abstaining from eating compulsively -- I hadn't done anything worthy of my or anyone else's respect, nor had I enjoyed something in this beautiful world. This negative thinking stayed with me for almost a week. But I kept trying, and eventually my blue funk passed and I was able to recognize those things that I had done for which I respected myself ... and those things that I truly enjoyed. Some of the things I recognized I had done seemed really, really small: emptying the dishwasher; calling my sponsor; abstaining from eating compulsively; putting a stamp on a letter and sending it out (part of my work on procrastination). But as small and insignificant as they may have seemed, they were steps ... babysteps, true, but steps none the less.

I think the reason my sponsor made sure I include a daily acknowledgement of my positive attributes and behaviors is that it is so easy for me to dive headfirst into negativity and pessimism. Even the AA 12&12 warn against negative self-thinking and encourage us to make sure our daily inventories include our positives. For me, the negative thinking is just the flip side of my ego and pride: saying that I'm the worst is simply the opposite of saying I'm the best. There's a saying that goes, "Don't make yourself so small ... you're not so big."

The second part of Step 10 reminds us to take immediate action when we've done something wrong. My ego sometimes rationalizes things I've done wrong ... it's not so bad, or I'll take care of it later. Making amends immediately keeps me from having to go back and clean up too big a mess. Someone referred to the second part of Step 10 as the "pooper scooper step:" I make a mess, I immediately clean it up. A little graphic, but it makes the point. I see it as the rationale for putting the laundry away immediately so that it doesn't build up until I have hours to fold and sort. Sometimes I don't necessarily have to make an amend, just talk to my sponsor and get my head on straight. But whatever action is warranted, Step 10 reminds me to keep my side of the street clean.



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Step Ten ~ Part 5: Questions

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Thank you all for allowing me to share some thoughts on step 10 ... I look forward to reading your shares! Thoughts for sharing:

1. When it seems that nothing is going right, it frequently helps me to remember that, "this, too, shall pass." How does Step 10 help "this, too" to pass?

2. Why would it be important to include a gratitude list in a daily 10th Step?

3. Do you write out a daily 10th step? If so, do you follow a specific format? Care to share it?

4. Why is making immediate amends so important to continuing recovery?

Yours in recovery,
Audrey

God runs my life better than I do. I must remember to stay out of the way.





 
 
 
 

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