Step Ten

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


Hi, my name is Thumper and I'm a compulsive overeater. Of all true things I've learned from the Big Book, none have been truer than "What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." On those days that I follow the instructions given for this step, my days are serene and peaceful, even when I've made mistakes or have had catastrophic events occur in my life. And on those days where I give myself a break from the routine, I find myself unhappy, miserable, angry, resentful, and a clear example of self-will run riot, even when on the surface everything seemed to have gone so well.

To me, this is where the work in "working the steps" comes in, because it is something that has to be done every day, throughout the day. No matter how positive today was, no matter how spiritual I felt, no matter how much serenity I gained by reaching out to others, if I don't wake up and do the same thing tomorrow, then it is all for naught. Each day is a new beginning and I have a choice that I can make about what kind of day I want it to be. Do I want a bad day? Then all I have to do is become self-righteous and angry with the world for not doing things the way I want it to do, and push my way through the day in an effort to meet my own wants and desires. Do I want a good day? Then I look for examples of selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear and if I've done harm to anybody, I seek them out and make it right.

One of the great benefits of doing a daily inventory and a making of amends when warranted, is that I really began to learn about who and what I had become. I was able to see, sometimes with amusement, how this little spoiled brat inside of me would arise at a moments notice and make itself heard. These little episodes leave no doubt that my life was, is, and will continue to be unmanageable! But it was such a freeing experience to make my mistakes and within moments set about making it right. I can't begin to describe how much better it is, after sniping at someone, that I offer an immediate apology and a forthright confession that my behavior was wrong, rather than hold on to the anger and bitterness throughout the day.

So what choices do I make? Sadly, I don't always make the one that leads to peace and serenity. I lead my entire life on self-will and it's a hard habit, if not an impossible one, to permanently eradicate. When I allow self-will to rule, without fail I manage to harm someone else. It will manifest itself in many ways, but none of them good. I'll gossip, or I'll cut with my sarcasm and anger, or I'll start looking to take everybody's inventory except my own. If I don't find fault in others on the surface, then I'll dig deeper to find it. I become resentful, envious, and bitter. And inevitably, when these things happen, the food begins calling to me.

Fortunately, these bad days are becoming less frequent and that is due primarily to the eleventh step, which allows me a way by which I can begin my day on the right foot. But that's next week's story. : )

What have your experiences been in applying the 10th step to your recovery?


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