Step Ten

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Step 10 - “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

Step 10 is my OA bread and butter, even more so than going to meetings. I cannot imagine my life without Step 10. Here is what I write on more or less every day and send to my OA buddy:

A – am I abstinent?
C - character defect of the day – could be something glaringly obvious, or one of those things that keep showing up on my Step 4 list, even though it might not bug me that day
D – what can I do about it, even something small? HP WILL and DOES help me if ...
E – did I exercise yesterday?
F – anything I need to say about food today?
G – where do I need guidance today?
H - how was my Higher Power present yesterday? (often a place where I express gratitude)
I – what did I do for myself?
M – how was I authentic?
O – what about others? (e.g. what did I do for someone else?)
R - are there any amends/restitutions I need to make?
S – what step am I focusing on today?
T – what am I turning over?
U – what was the underlying emotion yesterday?
X – anything that I need to make an extensive step 10 for – a special project I might be working on, for example. my taxes
Y – what makes me say “Yippee!!”?

As you can see, some things are about the day before, others about how I’m preparing for the day ahead.

Here is a situation that happens at least once a week. Let’s say I’m talking about my character defect of the day. Then under “D” I start writing something like “I should …” – and that stops me in my tracks. What do you mean, I “should”? Do I want to do it or not? If yes, then what stops me from at least starting right now? More often than not – MUCH more often than not – I can carve out a few minutes to at least start that thing that I “should” do. The same thing happens with other areas – e.g. do I really want to say I didn’t exercise for the third day in a row? No. So I might drag myself out at 10 pm at night for a 30-minute walk. I guess there’s something about Step 10 that makes it all very, very real for me.

I’ve been exchanging steps 10 with my OA buddy for 6, 7 years now. The system that I showed you is something that we’ve developed together over the years. It works really well for us – but it’s just one way of approaching Step 10. Here is something the Big Book says

“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. 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 our 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. “

There is also much inspiration for how Step 10 can be done on a practical, daily basis in the OA 12x12; in fact, some of the system that my OA buddy and I have developed comes from there. There are even Step 10 apps for your iPhone or Android! You can do Step 10 in writing, in your head before you go to sleep, you can phone it in to your sponsor every morning, you can make it part of your daily prayer routine (I’ve done that on occasion). The important thing is that you keep some sort of daily inventory, and that you get on to setting your wrongs right as soon as you can.

Some people say that if you do a daily Step 10, you actually don’t need to go through the steps anymore. I can see how that works for some folks; it just doesn’t work for me. To me, Step 10 is like regularly doing the dishes, doing my laundry, vacuuming the floor. Going through all of the steps once a year is like spring cleaning or taking the car for a tune-up.

A word on this Big Book excerpt; “Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.“ I cannot tell you how often that has saved my butt. Now this is NOT an invitation for codependence! But resolutely turning away from my own navel-gazing and calling a sponsee or a program person has saved me from many a physical or emotional binge.

I wanted to make this shorter than last week’s share so let me stop here. A few questions to ponder on:

What are at least three things that you could regularly reflect on each and every day?

What would be/are the easiest way for you to do that? Writing? A phone call? Or … ?

Is there another daily routine in your life that works well for you? What is it? Perhaps that can inspire you.

What makes YOU get off your butt?

If you already have a Step 10 routine, could you share that here?

What would be your (non-codependent) version of “turning resolutely to someone we can help”?

Any program writing that inspires you regarding Step 10?


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Leader's Reflections

I noticed that quite a few of you have the same challenge that I have. The “r” word. Routine.

I can still almost physically feel how I used to bristle, and bristle hard, at that word. ME?! Routine?! Are you kidding?!

I am very far from having become a routine person but have made some stumbling steps towards it. I need lots of incentives, though! Which is probably why I asked you what makes YOU get off your butt.

The by now very deep friendship with my OA buddy in another city, with whom I exchange my Step 10, is definitely an incentive. I want to know how she’s doing. In fact, I want her to do well. Sending her my Step 10 helps in achieving that goal. We are also on the same Recovery Group special interest loop; that’s a little added help, as does the fact that she is in Canada, too.

For a few years, I had a routine of visiting or calling my sponsor early in the morning. I absolutely loved our conversations. That helped with my routine. Unfortunately, he joined HOW and decided he would only sponsor HOW people, so we had to part ways (although we still love talking to each other whenever we can.) I finally found a new sponsor but our relationship still feels very tentantive; no routine there yet.

The funny thing about that is that I miss that routine. Yup. Me. Routine-is-a-four-letter-word Isabella misses a routine.

Finding out that I actually need routine and structure was quite humbling for me. Some years ago, I decided to start my own business. It took me a year or two to realize that that was disastrous for my mental health. Because … well, to a large degree because I am actually not the Lone Rider that I always fancied myself to be, and because I need structure. Not much, but some. I need … routine. I still shudder a bit when I say that.

Before program it would have been next to impossible for me to even get close to admitting something like that. Program, fortunately, taught me about humility.

Oh, and something I’m trying out right now, just a little bit. A while ago I confided in someone regarding that dreaded “routine” idea. She asked me whether I could substitute it for another “r” word: Rhythm. I like that idea. Let’s see what happens …


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