Principle behind this step - Perseverance
First, I like to say you don't have to finish Step 9 to begin doing Step 10. It says in the Big Book pg. 83 "There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don't worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen- we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don't delay if it can be avoided." So I would suggest that if you have begun your amends then you can and should begin doing a Step 10.
Although I did not recognize it at the time, for me, Steps 1 through 9 had begun a transformation in all aspects of my life - physical - emotional and spiritual. Step 0 - I had put down the trigger foods, committed to a food plan, found a sponsor. Steps 1,2,3 I accepted I was not in control, that a HP was available and would help me, that I was no longer alone. Through Steps 4 and 5 I identified my most gross character defects and through 6 and 7 began to change (act as if) those attitudes and behaviors that created so much destruction and chaos. In doing Steps 8 and 9, I had settled with my past, and I was ready to leave it behind. I had made peace with others and myself. The Promises were coming true.
Now onto Step 10. As AA's 12 & 12 states on pg. 88, "But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday's and sometimes today's excesses of negative emotion - anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers. This doesn't mean we morbidly wander around in the past. It requires and admission and correction of errors NOW".
Here is the Big Books instructions for Step 10, "continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. When they 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.
I have found that in the 12 years of practicing the 12 Steps, those times I have relapsed two things were happening 1. I began to take back some of my trigger foods and food behaviors and 2. I was doing Step 10 as an "I'm sorry" but not much else. Today, I believe to do Step 10 is doing Steps 4 through 9 in recovery. We do exactly what we did in Steps 4 though 9 except we are now recovered and we are trying to keep that recovery.
It has become easier over the years for me to recognize when I have committed a wrong. It has also become much easier to make an amends quickly. The 12 Steps have shown me the importance of cleaning up my side of the street. Where I use to get hung up on the wrong others may have done me, I now see the uselessness in that. I am only responsible for my actions, and when whey go awry, and believe me they sometimes do, I have a program that tells me what I need to do. I have a new way of living.
At a recent conference I attended, I learned that doing a Step 10 is designed to deal with the resentments, fears, and sex conduct issues that have accumulated since you did a Step 4 through 9; or a Step 10. In other words, it's for the big things that you haven't been able to capture during your evening meditations. (Which I will discuss next time - Step 11).
I have also started using this 12 point check list - which helps me identify when I need to do a Step 10. It is taken from the Doctor's Opinion "They are restless, irritable and discontented unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks" (eating my trigger foods, Coe) and on pg. 52, We Agnostics, and find the bedevilments "We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people." Also, I look at my food behaviors.
Know there is a variety of checklists you can use. I am just giving you what I have found helpful to me.
1. Am I restless? (Doctor's Opinion)
2. Am I irritable? (Doctor's Opinion)
3. Am I discontented? (Doctor's Opinion)
4. Am I having problems with personal relationships? (Bedevilments)
5. Can I not control my emotional nature? (Bedevilments)
6. Am I prey to misery and depression? (Bedevilments)
7. Can I not make a living? (Bedevilments)
8. Do I have a feeling of uselessness? (Bedevilments)
9. Am I full of fear? (Bedevilments)
10.Am I unhappy? (Bedevilments)
11. Am I not of real help to other people? (Bedevilments)
12. Is my food or my quantity of food getting sloppy?
If the answer is yes to any one of these then it is time to do a Step 10 (Steps 4 through 9). What I usually find out is that something in my life is bugging me and I haven't noticed or given it any attention. So I clean house again...make sure I can answer no to every question...then I get the promises again. Usually my amends here is a living amends.
Now that we have recovered we keep our sanity, and our closeness to our HP by doing Step 10. Remember, the Big Book promises recovery. Embrace it, enjoy it, live it.
Read in the Big Book pg. 84, "This thought brings us to Step 10..."to the last full paragraph on pg. 85.
Write and share with the group
1. How will I know when I have to do a Step 10?
2. Do you believe that for today you are recovered?
The Twelve Steps
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