The principle behind this step is PERSEVERANCE.
Iíve been in the program a really long time and am so grateful that I didnít do what Iíd done in all those diet clubs which was lose weight then graduate and think Iím cured. Needless to say the weight always found its way back and sometimes more, but more importantly my life didnít change and all the things that had driven me to food in the first place were still there. I always say itís not what I eat that makes me fat; but rather whatís eating me. The principle behind this step is perseverance and Iím so grateful that my character defect of stubbornness was converted to perseverance which has always kept me coming back and working this program even when Iíve been struggling.
This step is often called the maintenance step because life continues to happen and there will be other resentments coming up or times where we need to make amends promptly as the step says. I think the one amazing thing that has changed for me is that I am aware of when Iím in the wrong, unlike the past when it was always someone elseís fault. They say in the Big Book that resentment is the number one offender and today I am aware when Iím resentful and am able to own that and more especially to look at what my part is in whatís going on. I know in the past the resentments used to grow and fester and that was always a signal for me to hit the kitchen.
In the For Today meditation book on p.204 it says ďRepetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve.Ē And so to keep our recovery we need to keep doing all the things weíve done up to that point so we can stay abstinent and maintain our sanity and serenity. In other words itís no good just doing an inventory once and then forgetting about it, because after all life happens and there will be times when all the things that came up in our previous inventory will come up. I know I thought I dealt with a lot of my resentments in steps four and five but guess what? They still sometimes come up especially in my relationships with those closest to me. I also sometimes do or say hurtful things to those I love, but the difference today is that now Iím aware of it and I know I can do something about it.
Some people in program do a daily tenth step at the end of the day and possibly even share it with a sponsor. Some do what is called a spot check inventory which involves analysing our behaviour and looking at what we need to do in order to restore us to sanity and serenity. I know for myself I have become better at seeing when I behave badly and as hard as that is, today I am willing to rectify it by making amends if Iíve hurt someone. Nevertheless I still often find that the hardest thing to do when making amends promptly is not to justify why I did what I did. In other words I try not finish the sentence when saying Iím sorry for what I did but you.... in other words Iím still not taking total responsibility for my part and still blaming others for why I reacted the way I did. As they say in the Big Book we need to clear away the wreckage of the past but not only that but we need to keep cleaning away our side of the street.
With practice Iím also starting to recognise my character defects that pop up from time to time And again itís important to actually do something about them when we see them cropping up. So often we feel justified for being critical or judgmental to others and we can either apologise as soon as possible, or I know for me that one of the best ways to make amends is to just be different and more tolerant towards that person in other words to make living amends. In fact I am reminded of when my children were naughty and theyíd say they were sorry and then go right on doing that very same thing. Itís the same with the program so if I do make amends I need to follow that with being different with that person in the future ie living amends. Iíve probably said this before but I always tell those Iíve hurt in particular my kids that I canít change the past; all I can do now is to do it differently now and thatís what this step is all about.
ASSIGNMENT AND QUESTIONS ON STEP TEN
Read step ten in the OA 12 &12 or Big Book, p.84-85.
1. Why do you think we need perseverance to really work this step?
2. What do you think the purpose of Step Ten is?
3. If youíve had the experience of doing a ďspot checkĒ inventory, can you share an example, and what the benefits were after having done that?
4. Why does our program put so much emphasis on keeping our side of the street clean?
5. How does the tenth step help you stay abstinent?
6. If you are already doing your Tenth Step, would you share how you do it?
7. What happens if you allow feelings to stay bottled up inside?
8. Do you find that you are noticing your mistakes and apologising quicker?
TENTH STEP PRAYER
Dear God, 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 behaviours; to keep my wilfulness 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.
The Twelve Steps