How can I best serve Thee-
Thy will (not mine) be done.
Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006
We don't wait to finish step nine before we begin step ten. If we began step nine and are willing to finish the amends, we begin immediately with step ten. Here we pass over to the recovery stage where we live the program on a daily basis.
Step Ten: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."
Working steps 1-9 equipped us with the tools for living a sane life. We benefit from those tools only when they are used. Just understanding them or talking about them or hearing others talk about them is of no use to us. As the Big Book says: "The spiritual life is not a theory we have to live it" The instructions on how to live it on a daily basis are contained in steps 10-12.
Let us look at the wording of step ten. 'Continued' means that essentially there is nothing new here. We have the tools and are now going to use them on a daily basis. 'Personal inventory' is step four. So now we apply step four on a daily basis.
When a liability raises its head we deal with it 'promptly' which means immediately.
So Step Ten is an on the spot tool. It is not something we do at night or in the morning or any other regular time. This is a tool to be used immediately whenever a liability raises it head.
What is meant by the word 'admitted'? We admit to ourselves to God and to another human being.
The Big Book gives quite detailed instructions on pages 84-85 Every word here is important.
"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."
The thoughts are the thoughts about the promises of step nine which are mentioned in the previous sentence in the book. "Are those extravagant promises? We think not….They will always materialize if we work for them" The work that we have to continue to do is steps 10-12.
The 'new mistakes' are the liabilities that arise during our day to day life. The Big Book knows that just cleaning the wreckage of the past is not enough. We are not saints and our liabilities are not gone forever. They may return or continue, and now that we worked steps 1-9 we have the tools to deal with them on a daily basis.
"We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the spirit" 'Vigorously' means actively without delay and the 'world of the spirit' is the world of spiritual life. It is our life when we live the twelve steps on a daily basis.
"Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime" So it is a way of life that should continue all our life and it is an understanding and growth process that will never end.
Now come more details of what we have to do on a daily basis. "Continue to watch for selfishness dishonesty resentment and fear." Those are our basic liabilities. From them stem all our other liabilities. So every liability that arises, be it envy, gossip, self pity, justification, procrastination etc… can be related to one of those four. 'Watching' means becoming aware of what happens as it happens.
We have the tools of dealing with resentment and fear. Those are steps 4-7, that should be applied in real time, immediately, every time a resentment or fear crop up. When selfishness or dishonesty or their related liabilities crop up we deal with those by steps 5-7.
"When those crop up we ask God at once to remove them. We discus them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we harmed anyone."
So we see that steps 4-7 are the tools for dealing with resentment and fear on a daily basis and steps 5-7 are the tools for dealing with other liabilities on a daily basis. If we cause harm we of course have to make amends as quickly as possible. And in addition to steps 4-7 we apply steps 8-9.
"Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help." This is the way to deal with our selfishness and self centeredness by helping others.
"Love and tolerance of others is our code" This code is an ideal of relationships with others. As an ideal it is something to light our path and show us the way. The Big Book deals with this subject in the chapter 'How it Works' It tells us that we ask God (pray) to help us live up to the ideal and we must be willing to grow toward it. And we do this by living all twelve steps on a daily basis.
To sum up Step ten is an on the spot step. We apply this step in real time. Every time a liability crops up or we harm someone, we immediately apply the tools of living that we were given which means applying steps 4-9 to deal with the upset and the damage.
The tenth step premises are written on pages 84-85. The first promise is that we live in harmony with ourselves and the world around us. "And we have ceased fighting anything and anyone even alcohol (trigger foods.) For by this time sanity will have returned."
Our obsession with food will be removed. That is why we cease fighting with food. The return of sanity is not only the removal of the obsession with food. It is the return to a manageable life by living the steps. Even if the insane food thoughts return momentarily we will know how to reject them.
Those promises emphasize that it is not I who remove my insanity. It is removed by H.P. I don't have to fight. I am placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected.
But there is a catch. All this happens as long as I keep in a fit spiritual condition. Keeping in a fit spiritual condition is MY job. It is NOT God's job.
Dealing with the wreckage of the past by steps 1-9, may leave us feeling very good, with better relationships with food, with ourselves with H.P. and with other people. So we may think that now we can relax and take it easy. We have done our part and the rest is just that, taking a rest. The Big Book tells us that this is not the case. We leaned and practiced a new way of living and we have to continue with it actively and vigorously or we will return actively and vigorously to our active disease.
The disease is not gone. It is in us just waiting to turn active again if we don't keep in a fit spiritual condition. "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 (food addiction). What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintainance of our spiritual condition."
A lot of people use the expression ' in recovery' or 'recovering' and avoid the word 'recovered' The Big Book on the other hand uses only the word recovered to describe a person who lives the twelve steps on a daily basis. I think that it is just a matter of definitions. If we follow the Big Book definition it says quite explicitly that recovered is not cured. It is a daily reprieve, so it is on a daily basis and it depends on our doing our work of maintaining our fit spiritual condition by daily work of all the steps.
So how do we generally keep in a fit spiritual condition? "Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.'How best can I serve Thee- Thy will (not mine) be done.' Those 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."
So we have to live the spiritual life on a daily basis. We do this by living all the twelve steps on a daily basis. This is the way to keep in a fit spiritual condition and avoid regressing into active illness.
Now a few words about our will and God's will. Our will is important. We can do nothing without a will. We cannot work the steps without being willing to do so.
So what is the meaning of 'your will not mine be done'? It means that we have to align our will with God's will. Using our will without God's direction is always leading us into trouble and active addiction. The proper use of our will is to do God's will. We are limited human beings. We don't see the whole picture and furthermore our addiction twists our perception or ourselves, of God, of others and of the reality around us. Therefore we need help and guidance. We get it from God who is unlimited, sees the whole picture and knows and wants what is good for us. Using our will to do God's will is using our will to do what is best for us instead of letting it run riot and destroy us.
1. Read the step ten directions and the step ten promises pages 84-85 every day. Make it a daily discipline.
2. Make a discipline of working step ten every day without fail. Remember this step is not limited to a particular time of day. It is an on the spot step in real time.
a) Carry a small notebook and pen with you wherever you go.
b) Become aware of your feelings and actions during the day and deal immediately with every liability that raises its head.
c) If it is a resentment or fear, do a step four on it immediately in real time. First in your head and then in writing. The writing should preferably be in real time if possible. Remember you carry a small notebook and pen. Use it. The writing should follow exactly what you did when you wrote step 4 in this workshop.
Share with someone. (Step 5)
Pray to H.P. and do the actions necessary to deal with those liabilities. If you don't remember what to do about resentments and fears then read again the shares and assignments on step four.
d) For any other liability including the resentments and fears do the actions of steps 6-7. If you don't remember how to work steps six and seven then read the shares and assignments on steps six and seven. Pay particular attention to the discussion on anger, guilt and self criticism and how to deal with them. This will help you understand how to deal with other liabilities. Always share with someone (step 5)
e) If you hurt or harmed someone, do the actions of steps 8-9 immeduiately. If you don't remember read the shares and assignments on steps 8-9. Always share with your sponsor or someone else who understands.
f) Remind yourself to find opportunities to help others during the day. Write down what you do during the day to help others.
g) Remind yourself of the code "Love and tolerance or others is our code" Write down whenever you behaved during the day according to this code.
h) During the day ask God many times to guide you on the path.
Share with us.
I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.
Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Food addict and compulsive overeater
The Twelve Steps
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