A core principle behind the Tenth Step is learning to examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions, on a daily basis. So that we can fix things or set them right as soon as possible. This frees us to focus on our dual recovery, live in harmony, and continue to grow on a day by day practical level.
I know I'm not perfect. Having Step Ten as part of my daily Program of recovery keeps me from letting things build up. I've learned it's easier in the long run to make quick simple amends as soon as they are due. At work, people now say I'm a caring, thoughtful, polite kind of a guy. That feels a whole lot better than what they used to call me.
Becoming self-aware is what Step Ten is to me. It's like, I never use to see the good things I did or give myself any credit. In just the same way, I never use to understand why I'd piss people off. Sometimes I did, but on the small things I usually didn't even notice. This new lifestyle takes constant practice. It's not all that natural feeling to me yet, but it's getting easier all the time.
The biggest thing I have a problem with is watching out for my old negative self-talk. Step Ten gives me an opportunity to do some of my affirmations to help correct it.
First thing I ask myself is if I've followed the three suggestions for dual recovery:
Today, I will be free of alcohol and other intoxicating drugs.
Today, I will follow a healthy plan to manage my emotional or psychiatric illness.
Today, I will practice the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability.
I do that in the morning and again in the evening. It sounds sort of simplistic maybe, but it keeps me from forgetting my recovery goals.
Part of continuing to take a personal inventory is monitoring my symptoms. I keep a mood log which my psychiatrist gave me. It really helps me to see little changes so we can deal with them before they turn into a major flare-up. I also journal a lot. I write down the events of the day, how I felt about them, what I did to solve problems, and things I may want to discuss with my sponsor or therapist later.
I do my Tenth and Eleventh Steps every evening. It's become almost a ritual. I sit and close my eyes with the TV and everything off and go over the events of the day in my mind. I ask myself if there were things I could have done differently. Did I ruffle anyone's feathers or forget to say a simple thank you. I also review any situations where I got upset. How did I handle that. In any case, I want to make sure I'm leaving yesterday behind me. If I owe anyone a thank you or an apology, I jot it down on a post-it note and put it on my mirror. That way I'll see it first thing in the morning and be sure to remember to set things right the very next day.
For a long time I kept my Fourth Step journal near my bed. I had my Assets and Liabilities listed out and I could get a sense of how I was changing and what areas may need a little more effort. One thing I'm practicing now is trying to notice more and acknowledge the areas were I am growing and doing better. I know it's mostly God's doings but I can pat myself on the back for doing my part.
I use the phone a lot. I call my sponsor almost every day and I have a list of DRA friends both online and by phone I keep in touch with every day. It really helps to bounce things off these people and listen to what's going on in their lives. I trust them to give me honest feedback and not just tell me what they think I want to hear.
Step Ten is about making a habit of putting out life's little fires before they get too big.
*Adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous®
*The Twelve Steps of AA are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only - use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities that are patterned after AA, but that address other problems, does not imply otherwise. THE TENTH STEP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS* 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Fellowship Step Discussion Booklet - This is a printable booklet of this Step Discussion section of the web site in Adobe Reader (PDF) file format.