Step Ten

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

STEP TEN: Repetition becomes permanence.

My name is Penny, and I am a compulsive eater and 2nd Quarter WTS leader.

We OA's live highly examined lives. Nothing we do, think, say or feel goes unnoticed by ourselves. We are constantly on guard for surfacing bubbles of fear, pride, dishonesty, anger, etc. We have to be vigilant because this disease is cunning, baffling and powerful, and it will kill us if it has the chance - and its weapons are our instincts gone awry, our defects of character. The only antidote is working the steps every day.

A slogan: If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."

Think about it. It's true for the active disease *and* for an active recovery. And it completely relates to Step 10.

Steps 1 - 9 cleaned up our past and gave us hints of new attitudes and behaviors to be followed and old ones to be avoided. Step 10 "calls for daily repetition of these actions, following the new patterns, so that we may experience recovery every day." (OA 12&12, p. 84) Why daily? " 'Repetition is the only form of permanence nature can achieve.' If we are to experience permanent recovery from compulsive eating, we will have to repeat, day after day, the actions that have already brought us so much healing." (OA 12&12, p. 83) What are these actions? The ones we learned in Steps 4 - 9.

When I did my most recent 4th step, I was surprised to see how many resentments I was holding on to. Yet I was also pleased to see how few were long-standing (i.e., from before my previous 4th step). Most of my issues were relatively new. That's a result of working a daily 10th step.

Step 10 involves continual examination of our lives, attitudes and behaviors to discover what we are doing that is keeping us blocked from our Higher Power - and our higher selves. My guiding questions in my Step 10 work is, "What am I bringing to the table here? What is it inside of me that is being affected by what's going on around me?" To paraphrase the Big Book, if I'm disturbed, there is something going on inside of me that is causing that disturbance, and I need to get to the root of my problem immediately.

Unlike a 4th step, the moral inventory of Step 10 covers the immediate present. It keep us clean on a regular basis so that we can avoid a buildup of feelings, attitudes, behaviors and character defect "acting outs" that might lead to a relapse. Step 10 also helps us "save ourselves days of resentment and fear by resolving disputes as they arise, instead of allowing wounds to fester." (OA 12&12, p. 88) This is "far better than nursing our fears or building a fresh set of resentments to harbor." (OA 12&12, p. 90)

"The purpose of step ten is to identify and remove from our path today's stumbling blocks, those manifestations of pride, fear, anger, self-pity, greed and other emotions (Leader note: and instincts run haywire/defects of character, too) which are bringing pain into our lives and keeping us from growing today." (OA 12&12, p. 84) In the past we used to pretend that we were fine - that nothing bothered us and that we had neither experienced pain or inflicted it on others. And we ate to cover up the misery and the anger, literally stuffing it down into our souls until it spilled out in excess weight, unhealthy attitudes and inappropriate behavior. Now that we are in recovery, we don't have to do that anymore; we have a daily action that lets us free ourselves from the burdens of our disease.

The process of Step 10 is similar to Steps 4 - 9. We write (and most of us find writing to be an effective way of working Step 10 as opposed to simply thinking about things) what happened to us during the day, how we were affected, what we did/how we reacted, what we did wrong or what attitudes and instincts got involved ... and then we admit our wrongs to God and ourselves (sometimes to another person), we ask our Higher Power to remove the defect(s) and then we make *prompt* amends when necessary. We review "our recent behavior, keeping our Higher Power in charge of our lives, asking for guidance, and promptly admitting our errors." (OA 12&12, p. 90)

Similar to Step 4, there are many ways to work Step 10. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a method; the OA 12&12 talks about "spot-check inventories, taken whenever we find ourself facing difficulties...." This is "far better than nursing our fears or building a fresh set of resentments to harbor." (OA 12&12, p. 85) It also suggests several ways to "do" a more extensive daily inventory (p. 86)

I use the "spot-check" inventory periodically during the day. I try to keep a pad of paper with me so that I can write when I'm feeling "off." I'll follow this with a call - or try to grab some quiet time with my Higher Power so that I can be guided back onto the right track.

I want to share the way I currently work a daily 10th step. I write my inventory, using 5 categories.

1. Things that have bothered me today. I write:

- What happened and the major players.
- My feelings.
- The basic instincts that were affected by the event (pride, self-esteem, personal relations, sexual relations, financial/physical/emotional security, ambition) and how they were impacted.
[If fear and anger/resentment are involved, I ask my Higher Power to remove either or both (sometimes asking HP to bless the person involved, especially if I'm *really* angry/resentful).]
- The defects of character that are involved and how they showed themselves in my attitude or behavior. I also write the corresponding asset.

I say the 7th step prayer, determine if I hurt anyone and how, and decide what direct amend is appropriate.

2. I respect myself today because:

- what I did
- the asset I used to do it

3. Today, I helped: (make a list and tell how each person was helped)

4. Today, I enjoyed: (should be things we did in relationship to other people)

5. Today, I am grateful for: (try to go for as many things as possible)

I periodically choose to share my 10th step with my sponsor; that's a decision we each make.

I've heard OA's jokingly say that OA wrecked their eating. Well, sometimes I wish I could get away with grudges and resentments. Sometimes I wish I didn't always have to be the one to immediately examine my life, attitudes, behaviors. Every so often I would really like other people to do their own inventories and make amends to *me.* Fortunately, the self-pity doesn't last too long ... after all, I have to write about it in my 10th Step!

Thoughts for journaling/sharing:

1. "Repetition is the only form of permanence nature can achieve." This is "far better than nursing our fears or building a fresh set of resentments to harbor." (OA 12&12, p. 83) What do you think?

2. Step 10 takes a lot of work, especially when you're tired. How do you see the benefits of Step 10 working in your life?

3. If you currently work a 10th step, please share your format with the group.

4. If you don't, work with your sponsor and come up with a format that works for you - and go for it!

Next time: "Prayer and Meditation 101."

Yours in recovery,


Step Nine

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