Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory
and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

My journey

I sit before the keyboard tonight trying to compose how I practice Step 10 in my life and it's a tough write for this compulsive overeater. I will have to say; imperfectly sums it up. I was once told by a long timer that if you are not working Step 10 11 and 12 you will go back to Step 1 and for me that was very true. 

When I finished my Step 9 amends in 2007, my sponsor and I sat down and we reviewed the content in the 12 and 12 and she gave me inventories to write. She provided a template and asked me to photocopy it. I did so willingly and everyday for a while I faithfully wrote out my daily inventories. I used my list of character defects in order to determine where I had slipped into old behaviour. We reviewed these each day and I was able to see where amends were due. I made the amends immediately and the wonder of the Steps were revealed in my life. It was a real miracle to see my process and how it unfolded. I was so humbled by the process. The OA steps 4-9 concentrate on cleaning up the wreckage of our past; steps 10-12 provide us with the tools to stop creating wreckage in our present and future. 

So, what was so imperfect about my journey.... well, after a period of time I missed a day. Then it was 2 days... and so on until a month went by and I managed about one inventory a week. Life got in the way of my recovery and I rue that it happened but have learned so much from my imperfection. I relapsed on my food over time and ended right back at Step 1 again! With the help of my sponsor and continuing to go to meetings I was able to see where I had gone wrong and begin again. The blessing of recovery is I know I don't have to get it perfect. I just keep coming back and God works with what he is given! 

So, how have my imperfect Step 10 inventories progressed in 2009? Well, I have learned to forgive myself for not doing them written daily. I have been writing where I am on a regular basis on several online news boards. I have been sharing with people on a daily basis in recovery where I am. But is this enough? Something is niggling at me saying no... there is some resistance in me which I will work through with you when I do this step. It could be my perfectionism though, but it may also be denial. 

{Addendum: Since writing the above paragraph 3 weeks ago I have really started working Step 10 verbally on a daily basis in my life. The miracle is that I feel closer to my higher power than ever. My relationships are stronger and I feel full of self esteem. It really does work if you work it! I will continue to work the Steps imperfectly and pray for willingness}

The Step

Continued to take personal inventory

Step 10 is a process that continues my journey in recovery. It is not there as a punishment, but as a gift from my higher power to look at my day and reflect on my character assets as well as my character defects and their impacts on the world around me. 

Continuing to work Step 10 keeps me humble and in touch with the coping mechanisms which are my default behaviour. As I spoke of in Step 7, my character defects are removed in God's time—not mine. 

So how do I continue to take an inventory?

I read through the OA 12 and 12 and found real hope in the words on page 85 that alluded to the fact with practice I would be able to do on the spot inventories whenever something bothered me. 

So, I asked my sponsor about the ways to continue working Step 10 and she gave me a simple, easy-to-use format which I will share with you. 

and when we were wrong

I experienced a large amount of shame most of my life so I vacillate back and forth between thinking I am always wrong and always right. The simple answer for me around this part of the step is that I check out my inventories with another person. I do this by checking my feelings and emotions and motivations around my activities during the day. 

Did I lie? Was I dishonest? Did I act with no self care? Was I in self will? 

I also work out who I impacted with my actions.

Did my procrastinating affect others? Did I not spend enough time with a friend because I was in fantasy or denial? How did my anger affect other drivers on the road?

promptly admitted it.

This part took me a while to get right, but now I do it on a regular basis. It's so much easier.

I work with my sponsor to determine whom I owe a direct amends to. I owe my boss an apology for not getting the work done on time, and I work on a boundary around my time on the Internet. I owe an amends to myself by not having self care around over exercise and commit to a 40 minute 3 times a week exercise plan to prevent further injury.

The real blessing of living this honest is that I don't have stored guilt, anger, resentment and fear. I am able to live more honestly and take care of things as they come up.

I don't do it right all the time, but keeping in regular contact with those that know me best is a great way to check my motivations and feelings and determine right amends if they are due. 

The OA 12 and 12 mentions that daily 10th steps sometimes uncover issues which we may need additional help with, and this has been my journey as well. Since coming into OA, I have found my workaholism in my daily inventories which gave me the strength to seek out another program to help me with this. 

The blessings of working this step have come in so many ways. I don't work it perfectly but I am able to say that through the process of working it as best as I can, I have been able to uncover a freer way of being.


Once again a gentle set of reminders of how I worked this step that may help you:

  • Select a home group (this can be on-line, on email, in person etc.) and attend meetings regularly and share about your step work and your feelings.
  • Get some numbers, email addresses of people you can speak to and share with. 
  • Get a journal and write down your feelings around this step. I am a great procrastinator and tend to put things off. Journaling helps me.
  • Think about asking someone to be your sponsor if you don't have one. A sponsor is like a kind older brother or sister. They are a bit further down the road and they have what you want. 
  • Work with that sponsor on what comes of this step work. They are a great source of inspiration, clarification and support.


Read Step 4 in the OA 12 and 12 page 82-90

Share your feelings around this what you have read with your OA home group (whether on line or in real life), this step group, and a trusted friend or sponsor.

Questions Part 1

  • Why do we need to repeat Step 4-9 daily in order to achieve “permanent” recovery?
  • How does our stubbornness to continue doing it our way transform into perseverance in this step?
  • Why is it important to inventory assets as well as character defects during our day?
  • Why does denial of our defects threaten to stall our recovery?
  • What does this step continue teach us about going it alone?
  • What are examples of being “wrong”? (use examples from your Step 7 and 9)
  • What does it feel like to be disturbed by our behaviour? Give examples? 

Working the Step

I will share with you the format I was given for written amends. It's a great idea to create a template for yourself to do these daily and agree with your sponsor how you want to work through these. You may, for example, wish to set up a daily call or email. You may wish to share them on an online loop every day. You may wish to share them for the week with her/him in a weekly call. There is no perfect way to work this step. You are perfect the way you are. 

Step 10 Inventories

Coping Mechanisms: (list your character defects from step 6) Lack of Self-Care, Lying, Gossip, Inconsiderate, Self-Seeking, Intrigue, Procrastination
Father Constantly asks me about my weight/diet Calling him to ask for assurance Lack of self care Set gentle boundary with Dad around my food plan
Work Colleague Doesn't do her job Gossiped to others about her Gossip, self-seeking Need to apologise to the person I gossiped to about her and set boundary to call out when disturbed by her
Boss Asked me to stay late to finish work Procrastinating around normal workload Dishonesty Set boundary around internet use at work during work hours. Must get up for breaks rather than surf the net.

New Behaviors

Stepmother Call to ask for help Honesty, Trust
Friend Bought her a card and remembered her birthday Consideration, Caring

The key to this step is to not give up if you don't work it perfectly. That was the mistake I made. It's similar to a religious, spiritual practice or if you would like to equate it to education/training for something. It takes years of practice to become good at something. I may be better at writing than an artist who may wish to do their inventories as poems/collages/mind maps. It’s the differences that make us unique and special. 

Questions Part 2

  • How will I do my daily inventories?
  • How can journalising daily inventories help to monitor our recovery progress?
  • Who/how will I share my daily inventories with?
  • How can examining our daily inventories teach us about our true motives and emotions?
  • What actions can I take when I have wronged someone?
  • Why does this step ask us to take action promptly?
  • How can this affect our relationships with others?
  • How can our Higher Power help us with this step?
  • What can I do when it's a larger issue than can be dealt with in a daily inventory? p88
  • How can I work through resistance around this step or a specific character defect that keeps recurring in my inventories?
  • How can this step help with anger, resentment and fear?
  • What are the gifts of this step?

Ok, now we've done this.... let's do a Step 3 prayer, our Step 7 prayer, the serenity prayer, and move on to extra credit.

Extra Credit

  • How do I continue to work my program even during those times I feel it's not working or I'm not recovering quickly enough?
  • What are the stumbling blocks that keep me from growing today?
  • What do I risk if I do not do inventories?
  • In what ways am I grateful for this program?
  • If you resist this step, why do you think you resist it?
  • Why does the literature say we have a daily reprieve from compulsive overeating? What happens if we become complacent?
  • How has your intuition and “God Consciousness” developed with working Steps 4-9 so that you know when an amends is due or you have done wrong?

Next week we move into my favourite step. It's another maintenance step but one so full of hope and love that I am brimming over with excitement about sharing the journey with you.

Walking with you,
awn B

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