Step Ten

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

We now have a map on the journey to a better life. With consistent work on Steps 1 through 9 we have the opportunity to find happiness, freedom and peace like we could never have dreamed of in our compulsive overeating days. This is where the adventure of our lives takes on joy and gratitude because we have truly earned it. Step Ten is about how we continue to “thrive, grow spiritually and be happy without excess food.” Step Ten keeps us on tract until the OA promises come true.

Step Ten actually outlines a way to find permanent recovery -- “Repetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve.” (For Today, page 204). It also says, “If we are experience permanent recovery from compulsive eating, we will have to repeat, day after day, the actions that have already brought us so much healing.”

So that is what we will explore today. What I see in Step Ten is symbolized by the word “perseverance”. Many people who knew me in my compulsive overeating days could certainly have used the word “stubbornness” as a word to describe me. Many times my husband would start to tell me something then stop. He would say that he knew how I felt about it so why bother? It troubled me a lot. Eventually, I learned how to be open to his thoughts. I did want him to be free to tell me about his view of our life. I let go of my stubborn opinions and it worked to really strengthen our relationship.

These days, I see that my stubbornness has been turned into perseverance. That perseverance is what has seen me through the ups and downs of my recovery until it was strong enough and experienced enough to know how to work it ODAT. So, if you have stubbornness it may actually be of value with Step Ten because to persevere is what we have to do to maintain and grow with our recovery. That is why it says, “continued”!!

The Manual for Relationships

In Step Four we dug deep to recognize our strengths and weaknesses. In Steps Five through Nine is where “…we ventured out of our isolation to share ourselves in depth with our HP and with other people.” (OA 12 + 12, page 84-85)

Working those steps gave me a clear picture of how to see my life in a new way. It taught me the mechanics of better relationships. We do not come into this world with a manual on how to live life and get along with people. I sure could have used one. Well, the steps certainly gave me what I was looking for!!! By working Step Ten I continue to work all of the steps so issues that come up whether it is with other people or not get taken care of immediately and do not play on my mind and lead me back to food.

Step Ten is a summary of that “manual” though many have found that Step Ten has led them to character defects they were not aware of when they did Step Four. That is when our sponsors can help us take a new issue through the steps.

Different Ways to do Step Ten – Part One – Reviewing the Day

What we are trying to find is our true motives and emotions so we can learn from our mistakes and build on our successes. Our purpose is “…to continue along the path of progress and to recognize those areas of our lives in which progress is being made.” We are also determining if something came up in our day that will require amends, the second part of Step Ten.

There are a number of ways to do Step Ten:

1. Done mentally where we practice self-analysis.
2. On-the-spot examination as situations arise.
3. Write out a Step Ten Inventory.
4. Review our emotions and behaviors for the past 24 hours. Write or do it mentally.

    Here are some possible ways to do that:

    A. Check major issues of the day in chronological order noting feelings we had and how we dealt with them.

    B. Keep a notebook with you to note items related to Step Ten.

    C. Create a list of questions you ask yourself each day like mine below:
      (1) What was the positive highlight of my day?
      (2) What did I do today that I felt good about doing?
      (3) What was I bothered about today?
      (4) Did I handle it then and there or did I bury it?
      (5) Do I need to do something about it?
      (6) What would I have done differently today?
      (7) I am grateful for ???? today.

    D. Use the questions in the OA pamphlet, Sponsoring Through the Twelve Steps.
      (1) Have resentment, dishonesty, selfishness or fear cropped up again?
      (2) Did I engage in worry, remorse, guilt or negativity?
      (3) Have I asked God if corrective measures need to be taken?
      (4) Do I need to discuss something with another person right away?
      (5) Have I harmed anyone?
      (6) Do I owe an apology?
      (7) Do I need to review one or more of the Steps?
      (8) Is there someone I need to help?
      (9) Do my actions toward other demonstrate love and tolerance?

    E. Draw up a balance sheet – put negative feelings and events on one side and positive feelings and events on the other side. Use it to review for anything you need to address.

    F. Work from a list of common character defects and their opposites such as listed below (these are just a few of my thoughts – change them to fit you). Then we ask – “What fears (resentments, greed, etc.) did I experience today and how did I react to them?”

        arrogance and grandiosity/humility and humanness
        closed mind/open mind
        criticizer/honestly supportive
        dependency/healthy independence
        dishonesty and lying/respectfully truthful
        envy and jealousy/happy for others
        intolerant and prejudice/acceptance
        obsessive/ability to let go
        prideful/healthy confidence
        self-will/team member

An Extensive Step Ten

Sometimes as we grow we see things we were not ready to face. Or, we have to deal with problems we were unaware of when we originally took our Fourth Step. An extensive Step Ten inventory might focus on one particular character defect, behavior pattern or area of life, then we move on to do what is suggested in Steps Five through Nine.

It helps to remember, “Each of us is an individual with individual needs, and no two of us proceed at exactly the same pace or work this program in exactly the same way.” (OA 12 + 12, page 88). It is progress we are looking for.

Step Ten – Part Two - “…when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

The key word in this second part of Step Ten is “promptly”. If we take care of things that come up with others we have a way to “…save days of resentment and fear by resolving disputes as they arise, instead of allowing wounds to fester.” (OA 12 + 12, page 88).

A few ways to clarify if we need to admit our wrongs:

1. Some OAers make a daily call to their sponsor or OA buddy to read or discuss their Tenth Step.

2. Take the new issue through the Steps One through Nine with our sponsor:

    Step One – Admit I am powerless over the situation and make a list of ways this particular situation has become unmanageable.
    Step Two – Discuss and remember how a power greater than myself can return me to sanity in this situation.
    Step Three – Decide to turn the situation over to the care of my Higher Power.
    Step Four – Look at how I contributed to the problem and look for defects, attitudes and behaviors.
    Step Five – Completed it with an oral inventory to my sponsor.
    Step Six through Nine – Can decide if and how amends need to be made.
    (Excerpted from the OA pamphlet Sponsoring Through the Twelve Steps.

3. Discuss our problems and successes with our HP asking for help to let go of defects and expressing gratitude when our defects have been removed and problems resolved.

Final Thoughts

The one thing my sponsor has shared with me that rings so true is that as our abstinence grows stronger and longer we are able to think more clearly about our recovery. We will be able to understand our character defects on a much deeper level and receive a much deeper healing.

My best wishes for you all on the journey you to recovery.


1. What do I see as the purpose of step 10?

2. What are some of the things I do daily to maintain abstinence and recovery?

3. What happens if I allow feelings to stay bottled up inside?

4. How can I tell if I am losing my emotional balance?

5. Do I find that I am catching my mistakes and apologizing quicker?

6. Do I ever have "days like that" when nothing seems to be going right? How do I use my program to get through those days?

7. How do I balance acknowledging my positive and negative qualities?

8. In what ways am I becoming grateful for this Program?

9. If you are doing your Tenth Step, would you share how you do it?

Leader’s Share on the Questions

1. What do I see as the purpose of step 10?

To provide me with a means to continue to grow in my recovery on a day-to-day basis. I need to do something every day to remember where I have been and how much it has changed with abstinence. It is so easy for me to lose my focus and fall back into food instead.

2. What are some of the things I do daily to maintain abstinence and recovery?

I use a personal Plan of Action that includes the things I need to do to maintain my abstinence and connect to my HP. The one thing I have learned since coming back to OA is that my failures were because I was trying to do it all alone. So every day I do whatever I can to remember I cannot do it alone. I need all of my OA friends and my HP. That is truly the difference between failure and success for me.

3. What happens if I allow feelings to stay bottled up inside?

As much as I would like to think I was a problem solver, I have learned in doing my fourth step that I was a conflict avoider. The issues that came up never truly got solved. I just kidded myself they were resolved. They still plagued me. I know every time I want to binge I have unresolved issues. Nowadays, it is actually less trouble to face those unresolved issues than it is to slip or binge and go back into insanity.

4. How can I tell if I am losing my emotional balance?

After awhile of being abstinent my thinking got clearer and I was able to accept my feelings no matter how difficult or stressful they were. After time I found a place, a state of mind, that was neither too high or too low. I call it balance. I know well the highs and how dangerous to my abstinence. I also know when I lose focus and get back into doubt and confusion. I love those times I feel balanced recognize it when it is happening.

However, whenever I feel like I have lost it I go into action. I check in with myself. Am I tired? Has someone said something or done something that is bothering me? I do not let myself stay in that unbalanced mood because I have this simple formula – discomfort/unbalanced = compulsive overeating and comfort/balanced = abstinence.

5. Do I find that I am catching my mistakes and apologizing quicker?

Some of my character defects have led me to places with people that have been so embarrassing or so painful I do not want to go there ever again. Before OA I would fuss and obsess for days or weeks over something that had happened until I was driven to do something about it. And, that usually did not work out well either because most of the time I was pretty sure it was not my fault. These days I am open to being wrong, I am open to apologizing a lot quicker. It is so worth the effort I rarely hesitate.

6. Do I ever have "days like that" when nothing seems to be going right? How do I use my program to get through those days?

Recently, I had a couple of days that my sleep was really off and I was exhausted trying to keep up with what I had to do. I found some of my interaction with some people we feeling funny. I started to feel doubt about them and myself.

I followed my plan of action, took some deep breaths, took a break and had a nap. Had I not had a plan of action specifically designed to get me back to balance I would have struggled or even done something stupid – like acting on my doubts. Once I was rested I was able to re-evaluate my situation and realized it was just my tiredness that had let my character defects come up again.

7. How do I balance acknowledging my positive and negative qualities?

In working on another fourth step I realized early on if I was going to dig deeper into my messed up, insane years that I could get lost in the old self-doubt and depression. I decided, as the OA 12 + 12 recommends, to include my assets as well. So, as I write my answers I also look for the lessons and changes I have made that has healed a part or all of those situations. Also, my sponsor suggested I make a list of my positive character traits as well as my character defects.

Each day when I do my Step Ten I also include what went right and congratulate myself for the changes I have made to help it go right.

8. In what ways am I becoming grateful for this Program?

Wow! I owe the program for my life being as good as it is today. Some of the ways I am grateful for this program are:

- It provides a structure through the steps and tools that works not only with my abstinence but other areas of my life as well.

- It helps me work on my physical recovery which has been very good and health is improving.

- It guides me on my emotional recovery which has given me peace and happiness and, most important, hope.

- It reminds me of my relationship with my HP in my spiritual recovery. It has given me a relationship with my HP that really works. I no longer feel alone or helpless.

- From what I have learned from this program, my relationships have changed. Those that were good have gotten even better. Those that were difficult I have come to understand why and know how to manage my behavior better around them.

- Being a part of this program by participating in the loops and giving service has also led me many great friendships which filled an emptiness so deep and so long standing it was truly a miracle. It brought me back to the human race from my self-imposed isolation.

- Another big one was all the combined work and insights I have gained have helped me to stop worrying about our finances. It has changed our lives.

9. If you are doing your Tenth Step, would you share how you do it?

I used a series of questions like I shared previously. After doing this step study I realized I would like to work on a way to do it as situations arise. I may need something to carry with me that describes that process or has some specific questions. I so like being able to figure it out right away.

Tenth Step Prayer

I pray I may continue:
To grow in understanding and effectiveness;
To take daily spot check inventories of myself;
To correct mistakes when I make them;
To take responsibility for my actions;
To be ever aware of my negative and self-defeating attitudes and behaviors;
To keep my willfulness in check;
To always remember I need Your help;
To keep love and tolerance of others as my code;
And to continue in daily prayer how I can best serve You, my Higher Power.


Even if I'm on the right track, if I don't move I'll get run over.
Glance at the past, but don’t stare at it.
Feel, Deal and Heal - Feel it, Deal with it and Heal from it.
The Big Book does not say "Half measures availed us half".
Abstinence delivers everything that food promised.


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