After completing step 9 of the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program, you’ve made amends for past wrongs. Now, step 10 requires you to “continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong to promptly admit it”.
The 10th Step: Inventory
Up to this point in your recovery, steps one through nine have taught you to see the truth about your behavior and how the rest of the world responds to your actions. With this awareness you can now clearly see what is going on during every moment of your day. The purpose of AA’s tenth step is to demonstrate to yourself that you have the ability to control your actions. You are no longer functioning like a robot under the weight of old habits or while not thinking about what you are doing.
Working Step 10
Step 10 isn’t always easy to define or understand. Of course you are aware of your actions, but are you taking inventory and admitting when you’re wrong or when you’ve done wrong? This personal responsibility is critical to successful recovery from alcohol addiction. An example of working step 10 might be getting angry when someone cuts you off at a traffic light. Just as you begin to form the profanities to hurl from your open window, you recognize that the other driver will not be improved by your anger and would benefit more from your demonstration of the right way to react to anger or stress. Instead of hurling abuse, you smile as you pass the driver, even if it’s not a real smile. By responding to a conflict or anger with grace, you have used step 10.
Another example might be that you didn’t get a recent promotion. When your boss tells you it is due to poor work performance, you disagree, and because you’re angry, you tell him off. Working step 10 doesn’t mean that you don’t get angry ever again, or that you don’t make mistakes. It means that if you do, you admit when you’re wrong. So immediately after your outburst, you calm down and apologize to your boss for your inappropriate reaction. Step 10 doesn’t require you to go into a long explanation about why you’re wrong or to make excuses for it. It requires only that you admit you’re wrong.
Review: Step 10 of AA
As part of step 10, Alcoholics Anonymous treatment programs recommend that you do daily and periodic reviews. The daily review means that you set aside time each day to meditate or constructively review your day. Were you resentful, dishonest or afraid? Do you owe anyone an apology for something you’ve done or said that day? What could you do better tomorrow? While carrying out your daily review, be careful to avoid slipping into worry, remorse or fear. It is not about beating yourself up. Step 10 is about being aware of your actions and their consequences.
The periodic review is basically taking stock of where you are and what you need to do to ensure you stay on the path to recovery. The periodic review is similar to the daily review in that you ask yourself the same questions, but rather than reflect on the previous 24 hours, you’re looking back over a month or more.
Each year, take stock of promises made in previous steps. If there are any that you have not kept, then this is the time to rectify that wrong.
Step 10 keeps your house clean and is not about being perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, but owning up to them settles conflict before it can fester and become blown out of proportion. The tenth step of Alcoholics Anonymous is a natural progression from step 9, where you make amends. Step 10 helps you to keep your commitment to better behavior by serving as a motivator to act in a manner that doesn’t require you to owe any apologies. Essentially, accomplishing step 10 means you’ve worked hard to be the person you want to be.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcohol addiction treatment program that helps alcoholics build a solid foundation for long term recovery from their addiction. The 12 steps of this program each provide another brick in that foundation. If you or someone you know is looking for an AA program, visit the website for more information and to find a meeting near you.