Welcome to Week 10 of the Working the Steps study for the first quarter of 2015. I am Cindy M., a compulsive overeater in recovery, thankful to share with you in this study. All the lessons are available here:
Continued to take personal inventory
And when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Working Through Daily Recovery
I have a little personal experience to share here as we get into Step 10, the daily (or periodic) housecleaning we need to do to keep our recovery. One day in June 2014 I just plain had a rough day and felt pressures building on several fronts. As evening came, I realized I felt “pent up” in many ways, and I started to have a glimmer of an idea that maybe something in the kitchen would give me some relief. I knew that was a danger, so I headed out on my front porch instead, with my little devotional journal and a pen and a determined purpose to talk to God about the stuff that was building up.
I created a little five-column chart for the people (family members) who were irritating me in one way or another, the things they were doing, the things in me those things affected, and what defects in me those things showed up. In my final column I saw commonalities of nagging, having the wrong standard for that person, wanting MY timing or my agenda, and demanding that I be agreed with! Yes, those all kind of follow a theme, don’t they? And then I asked myself, “What SHOULD I be?” instead of these things. I came up with a need to be firmly, confidently encouraging and fair; loving and giving; and humble and above reproach. Those are much more attractive and useful actions and character qualities, aren’t they?
Everything wasn’t solved at that point, but I was in a better place to handle it, knowing these particular “everyday” defects will recur for me, and bring along their ugly little friends.
Step 10 is a daily reworking of steps 4 through 9, and, in the end, a daily reminder of steps 1 through 3. But putting into practice is actually discussed in the Big Book under Step 11. You see, in order to work Step 11, increasing our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, we need something to talk to God about, and an inventory of our day can do that well. Our sponsors are involved more with Step 10 and our Higher Power more with Step 11. Step 10 is covered on p. 84 and part of 85, but go ahead and read through half of 86, which covers the nightly inventory. Here is an online version: http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/read-the-big-book-and-twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions.
You should talk to your sponsor about what kind of ongoing relationship you will have when you finish the steps. It seems that some people share their daily food report in perpetuity, and some get food sponsors or buddies to help keep them accountable, and some never report their food, expecting to be able to maintain abstinence on the strength of the steps. I have done all of these and find different things work well for me at different times. No matter what we do about the food reporting, though, I think our ongoing connection to the fellowship is helped greatly by maintaining an ongoing sponsorship relationship at some level.
My first sponsor had me report daily my food and my “spiritual temperature,” at least three things in each category (I downgraded to two for my sponsees). For the first, for example, “Surrender,” I tell of things that bugged me that day that I needed to “give up to God” and actually did so, not letting them fester.
Surrender—my UPS package not coming AGAIN; hubby breathing down my neck all day on his day off; hangnail bugging me all day
Accomplishment—cleaned off my desk; took time to engage with hubby to plan where he will plant the flowers he got at the greenhouse; for asking if I could bring some fruit to a gathering instead of the cupcakes everyone else was bringing
Gratitude—for my clean desk; for good interaction with hubby appreciating his gardening; for not feeling the least temptation about those cupcakes
Did you notice something there? Sometimes the thing I need to surrender becomes my accomplishment and thus becomes a gratitude for the day. I love it when that happens! Why don’t you try it now? List at least two things in each of these categories for today, or yesterday:
My current sponsor has a bit of a different approach, and assigns me to answer the following in my daily report, based on p. 86:
- Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? (Don't just answer yes or no, but if yes, explain.)
- Do we owe an apology? (If yes, why, and what? Then we can discuss and see if you do.)
- Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? (If yes, explain.)
- Were we kind and loving to all? (This is the part where you share your assets, and the good stuff you did in the day)
- What we could have done better?
- Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? (For those of us who tend to get too introspective)
- This is what I did for myself today, that had nothing to do with anyone else. (Special assignment for me because of my particular needs)
- Gratitudes? (I realized I was missing this one after a while and needed reminding of it, so I volunteered to put it in my daily report.)
For my own sponsees I have used both of these approaches or welcomed another approach a sponsee suggested that he or she was already comfortable with. But I do ask my sponsees to also report to me their ongoing recovery activity—attending meetings online or in person, activity on the loops on TRG, sponsoring interactions, and so forth.
So taking your Step 10 daily inventory requires looking into Step 11 a bit, and we’ll find next week that that leads us into improving our conscious contact with our Higher Power.
Congratulations! You’ve completed Step 10! Next week we begin Step 11—Acceptance—Life on Life’s Terms.
Please write me privately at OneDayCindyM@embarqmail.com if I can answer any questions for you as you work through the study. I want it to be as helpful a study as it can be, and your feedback helps me do that!
For Those Who Have Time: Reading and Correspondence
We’re nearing the end of this one chapter of the Big Book, “Into Action,” and next week we’ll finish it before starting a new chapter for Step 12. The above assignments of a few pages are all you need for now, though you will profit from reading “Step Ten” in the 12-and-12.
But why not chat with your sponsor about daily reporting and what’s ahead for you when you finish this study in a couple of weeks? Ask him or her what kind of ongoing reporting he or she prefers, and what his or her experience has been in the past with different ways of supporting and being supported in recovery through ongoing inventory. I find that my own sponsees’ daily inventory teaches ME a lot, reminding me of things I need to looking into for myself. Ours is a fellowship of recovery, dependent on our relationships as sponsors and sponsees and fellows in meetings and on the loops. Serve and be served, and we’ll all get better!
Blessings in Recovery,
The Twelve Steps
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