Step Ten

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


Hi everyone, I'm rose COE and your step leader this quarter.

This is possibly my favorite step. It's incredibly useful in daily life, and makes the other steps sort of come alive in a way that is easy to immediately see and feel. It was working this step that made me first realize that the most important part of any situation I found myself in was managing my own reactions. When I don't spend time caught up in anger, resentment, fear and self-pity, I am able to respond appropriately and quickly, w/ good will and kindness. A good tenth step clears my mind of any but my own responsibilities and that helps me take action w/o fear (or w/o too much fear, anyway).

People approach tenth steps in a zillion different ways. There are lots of formats, lots of methods. The Big Book is not terribly specific on this head, as it is w/ the fourth, step, but has these basic suggestions;

"...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 a lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately, and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84)

Over the years, I've found that a nightly tenth step is really best for me. I usually do it just before I go to bed. I do a laundry list. First, I write or say aloud the 3rd step prayer; "God, I offer myself to thee; to work w/ me and build w/ me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take a way my difficulties, that my victory over them will bear witness to those I would help of thy power, thy love and thy way of life. May I do thy will always." Then I make a list of the things that have made me resentful that day. I don't go into more detail than a sentence, usually, b/c more than that is seldom needed to state the basic facts. After I'm done w/ the resentments, I do the same w/ any fears. Then I do some writing about my part, listing any obvious character defects, and the feelings I'm having about the day. I really try to make it short. Then I write or say aloud the seventh step prayer; "My creator I am ready for you to have all of me now, good and bad. I am willing for you for remove from me every defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go on from here, to do thy bidding. Thy will be done always, not mine." After this, I write a gratitude list at least ten items long, and three good things about myself-this part is sometimes tricky and hard! Then I write what I plan to eat the next day. I sometimes also include an action plan for the next day, if I have a lot of things to do. It sounds like a lot, and in truth it is, but it very seldom takes longer than about 20 minutes. I try and do it every night, but I tend to go in cycles of nearly always doing it and then not doing it at all for a while, but I do always get back to it, b/c it's just so helpful, no matter what is going on.

I don't always give them away, either. If there's something I really need to share or an amends I have to make, I'll call my sponsor or an OA friend and read it to them, but often just the act of writing is very powerful and healing for me. I do share w/ my sponsor and other OA friends, either in the meeting or in a phone call, what kind of CD's are giving me the most trouble, or if there has been a particularly difficult situation that has come up. Since I started keeping track of which CDs are coming up most often in my nightly tenth steps, I've been able to work the seventh step much more effectively. I can see when I am having a lot of incidences of intolerance or impatience, and I can respond accordingly, w/ the seventh step, instead of vaguely wondering what the heck is wrong w/ my attitude, which is what I used to do all the time.

And of course the best part of the tenth step is the tenth step promises. Anyone who has been in OA for any amount of time and abstinent for a while can give you examples of the tenth step promises coming true in their lives.

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and know peace. No matter how far down (or up) the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things, and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of People and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

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." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83-84)


In what ways have the tenth step promises come true for you? Share a couple with us.

If you've not seen any of these promises come true yet, reflect on that, and what you hope will happen for you in the future, as you work this step.

How do you specifically work the tenth step? What ways have you found work best for you? What ways don't work as well?

thanks for letting me share

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