Step Ten

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




Hi friends.

My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater.

After beginning to make amends and committing to finish taking step nine to the best of my ability without delay or procrastination, I cross over to the recovery stage, and the step nine promises begin to manifest in my life.

The Big Book says the following about the promises:

"Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them." page 84.

Notice it says WORK and not WORKED.

Being in the recovery stage is a new beginning not an ending. The steps are spiritual principles that we have to incorporate into our life on a daily basis. By working steps 1-9 we cleaned up the wreckage of the past. We learned how to use the steps to deal with life's problems, and now we have to continue cleaning on a daily basis in order to progress, grow and develop. There is no resting on our laurels. This is a new way of life that we have to live daily.

Step Ten says:

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

The key words here are CONTINUED and PROMPTLY. We continue to take an on the spot inventory when needed and act promptly to correct our mistakes. The Big Book says that the thought of working for the promises to materialize brings us to step ten.

"This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime." page 84.

We are told that we have entered the world of the spirit by taking steps 1-9. We developed new sane relationships with ourselves with H.P. and with other people. We now have conscious contact with H.P. We know how to act when our defects surface and we make mistakes, since we have practiced steps 1-9. We have begun a new life. We will continue to practice these spiritual principles (the steps) and incorporate them in our life as long as we live.

Now the Big Book gives us specific instructions on how to live Step Ten on a daily basis:

"Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear [step 4]. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them [steps 6 & 7]. We discuss them with someone immediately [step 5] and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone [steps 8 & 9]. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code." page 84.

As we can see, step ten comprises the application of steps 4-9 on a daily basis. We have to watch out for the manifestations of our self- centeredness and self-will run riot, which are selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

We have not turned into angels by working the steps. The Big Book knows that our character defects will surface from time to time. We are new born, which means we are really like babies learning to live life in the spiritual dimensions. Our old patterns will surface, but now we have the tools to deal with them on the spot.

We have to understand that the steps are not magic tricks to be performed once, so that they might solve all our problems. Rather the steps are a discipline, a body of theory and technique that must be studied and practiced if we are able to apply this program to our lives. We continue with the techniques we have begun to practice in the earlier steps. We continue to take our inventory. We continue to admit our shortcomings. We continue to ask God to remove our shortcomings, and we continue to make amends when we wrong others.

The last three of the twelve steps 10-12 are designed for daily living and practice to help me continue my spiritual growth. There is no standing in place on the spiritual path. We either grow and progress or we regress back into our illness. Working those steps on a daily basis helps me to move forward and grow spiritually and emotionally for the rest of my life.

What we do in Step Ten is a spot check and treatment by taking steps 4-9 immediately in any life situation where we acted out our defects. Since this is on the spot treatment we cannot always write or call our sponsor, but we are in a new stage now. If an inventory is necessary, which is the case for resentments, fears and hurting others, we can go over the appropriate tables in our head and see our part. We can share with someone who is a friend or a colleague. We don't have to wait for our sponsor since it is an immediate treatment. And if we have to repair some harm that we have done, we make amends immediately and don't delay, unless we are not entirely clear about the situation and need to share with someone. Even then we find someone suitable near us and share with him.

We practice steps 6-7 on the spot in our heads. We ask God to remove our defects that appeared in that situation, and we act to practice the conjugate assets. In addition to that we help others, which helps us practice unselfishness, and we remember that our code of behavior is love and tolerance of others. Of course we have to add to that, love and tolerance of ourselves too.

Let us now see what the A.A. 12 & 12 has to say about step 10.

As it turns out it is quite a lot:

"As we work the first nine Steps, we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life. But when we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. [OA] way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober [abstinent], keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions? ...

"Although all inventories are alike in principle, the time factor does distinguish one from another. There's the spot-check inventory, taken at any time of the day, whenever we find ourselves getting tangled up [that's part of step 10 according to the Big Book]... The emphasis on inventory is heavy only because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal. Once this healthy practice has become grooved, it will be so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won't be missed... And at length our inventories become a regular part of everyday living, rather than something unusual or set apart.

"Before we ask what a spot-check inventory is, let's look at the kind of setting in which such an inventory can do its work.

"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about 'justifiable' anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us of A.A. [OA] these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.

"Few people have been more victimized by resentments than have we alcoholics [compulsive eaters]. It mattered little whether our resentments were justified or not. A burst of temper could spoil a day, and a well-nursed grudge could make us miserably ineffective. Nor were we ever skillful in separating justified from unjustified anger. As we saw it, our wrath was always justified. Anger, that occasional luxury of more balanced people, could keep us on an emotional jag indefinitely. These emotional "dry benders" often led straight to the bottle [food]. Other kinds of disturbances -- jealousy, envy, self-pity, or hurt pride -- did the same thing.

"A spot-check inventory taken in the midst of such disturbances can be of very great help in quieting stormy emotions. Today's spot check finds its chief application to situations which arise in each day's march. The consideration of long-standing difficulties had better be postponed, when possible, to times deliberately set aside for that purpose. The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes.

"In all these situations we need self-restraint, honest analysis of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere. We need not be discouraged when we fall into the error of our old ways, for these disciplines are not easy. We shall look for progress, not for perfection.

"Our first objective will be the development of self- restraint. This carries a top priority rating. When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot. One unkind tirade or one willful snap judgment can ruin our relation with another person for a whole day, or maybe a whole year. Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven argument. The same goes for sulking or silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. 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...

"Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means. It will become more and more evident as we go forward that it is pointless to become angry, or to get hurt by people who, like us, are suffering from the pains of growing up.

"Such a radical change in our outlook will take time, maybe a lot of time. Not many people can truthfully assert that they love everybody. Most of us must admit that we have loved but a few; that we have been quite indifferent to the many so long as none of them gave us trouble; and as for the remainder -- well, we have really disliked or hated them. Although these attitudes are common enough, we A.A.'s [OA's] find we need something much better in order to keep our balance. We can't stand it if we hate deeply. The idea that we can be possessively loving of a few, can ignore the many, and can continue to fear or hate anybody, has to be abandoned, if only a little at a time.

"We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love. We can show kindness where we had shown none. With those we dislike we can begin to practice justice and courtesy, perhaps going out of our way to understand and help them.

"Whenever we fail any of these people, we can promptly admit it -- to ourselves always, and to them also, when the admission would be helpful. Courtesy, kindness, justice, and love are the keynotes by which we may come into harmony with practically anybody. When in doubt we can always pause, saying, 'Not my will, but Thine, be done.' And we can often ask ourselves, 'Am I doing to others as I would have them do to me -- today?' " pages 88-93.

The A.A. 12 & 12 expands the Big Book explanations and gives us a lot of useful pointers on practicing step 10. Just two examples out of many: it emphasizes the importance of daily "on the spot" inventories and emphasizes the importance of restraint which helps avoid trouble.

Now that we are in the recovery stage and working step 10, there are more promises that materialize in our life. Let us see the tenth step promises in the Big Book:

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol [food]. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor [trigger foods]. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor [food] has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition." pages 84-85.

These promises deal with sanity and with our physical addiction. We don't have to fight anything anymore even food, since our obsession has been removed and we are acting sanely now. H.P. has removed our problem. This is the miracle of this program, the removal of our food obsession.

God does His part but we have to do ours. There is a condition. Our recovery is contingent on our keeping in a fit spiritual constitution. This means that our degree of recovery is dependent on our degree of daily spiritual living.

We have to continue to practice the steps on a daily basis, otherwise our illness will take over again.

"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol [food] is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism [compulsive eating]. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. 'How can I best serve Thee, Thy will (not mine) be done.' These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will." BB page 85.

We are told explicitly that our recovery is on a daily basis only. We have to progress, develop and grow by conforming our will to God's will. How do we do it? By working all the steps (not just 1-3) on a daily basis.

As we continue to work step ten in our life, we shall see our character defects become smaller, our relationship with H.P. will become better, and so will our relationship with others and with ourselves.

Working step ten includes steps 4-9 as needed on the spot, helping others and practicing love and tolerance of others. Examples of working step ten: Helping others in different situations, at work or at home or wherever we are. It does not have to be something spectacular. It can be saying a kind word, giving a smile, giving a helping hand to someone, etc. These are examples of helping others and acts of practicing love, tolerance and goodwill.

Practicing restraint and not running off at the mouth is also a very important practice of step ten. Not laughing at someone's expense. If I want to laugh at something let me laugh at myself. Avoiding gossip. Also regarding my work as service may help me avoid procrastination.

Being aware of acting out defects, asking God to remove them and practicing the conjugate assets, is practicing steps 6 & 7 as part of step 10.

Sharing with friends and and learning from them is practicing step 5 in the framework of step 10. When we become angry or frightened or if we hurt someone, we may begin with going over the appropriate inventory table in our head and seeing our part and our defects.

Taking responsibility for our words and actions, continuing with steps 5, 6, 7 and if necessary 8 & 9 on the spot, is how we work step 10. Seems like a lot of work, and in the beginning it needs a lot of attention and practice. But with time our response to situations becomes more and more program-oriented, and less illness-oriented.

When I began practicing step ten I had a lot of apologizing and amends to do, since I used to shout at people a lot and hurt their feelings, especially at work. Then the number of people I shouted at became less and less, and as I continue to practice step ten it is very unusual to find me shouting at someone at work. This is quite a change. I find that practicing step ten becomes an integral part of my life, and as such it makes my life much more happy and free of negative feelings.


1. Commit to working step 10 as a spot check and action on a daily basis whenever and wherever needed.

2. When anger or fear surface during the day do the following on the spot:

a) Go over the anger (resentment) or fear tables in your head, and see what was your part and what character defects of yours were involved in this case. It is a good idea to have some empty resentment, fear, and harm tables with me in case I forget their structure, or that I have time to do the inventory in writing.

b) Share with someone. It does not necessarily have to be your sponsor or an OA member, if they are not available at the time.

c) Ask God to remove the defects you exhibited in this case.

d) Practice the conjugate assets whenever and wherever possible.

3. When defects which are not fear or anger surface, like envy, criticism, etc., begin with 2. b) and continue to c) and d)

4. When your conduct harmed someone (emotionally, financially or physically), go over stages 2. a) to d) beginning with the harm done to others table.

5. Share on practicing step 10, how it affects your environment, and the changes you notice in your behavior after a while.

Have a nice day.


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