Step 10 of Alcoholics Anonymous states as follows:
“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
To take a personal inventory means we examine our emotional distress, especially those episodes that may drive us to return to alcohol or drug abuse. When our feelings are disrupted, we usually find something difficult to accept in our lives. A typical response to this interruption is to blame our feelings and actions on other people.
Alcoholics have honed skills, such as developing resentments and finding offense. We allow others to exert power over our lives when they make us sad, angry, or upset. However, the reality is that we often say or do something that adds to these conflicts in our lives.
Step 10 of AA suggests that we need to accept responsibility for our behaviors and promptly clean up our role in our affairs. This means we must be prepared to let go of our ego, resentment, selfishness, and fear at the very minute that these feelings begin to creep in again. Step 10 of Alcoholics Anonymous requires determination and continuous maintenance.
Finding What Works
Identifying what is functional and stable can also help us to identify what is unstable and not working. Taking a personal inventory isn’t just about figuring out when we are wrong. We can’t distinguish the times when we have erred unless we also have identified the times when we have handled situations well as a base for measuring.
Working with an AA sponsor in step 10 to recognize the circumstances in which we do things well helps us to develop a new value system. This type of work is also about devising a list of our responsibilities.
Working on step 10 of AA requires honesty, having trust and faith, and heeding our actions and responses. We have learned to consider how our behaviors affect others and when the effects are negative and harmful. It means moving forward and accepting responsibility for the hurt we have caused and attempting to correct it.
Practicing step 10 will help keep us conscious of ourselves and our patterns of destruction before they occur. We can decide not to punish ourselves because we feel bad and focus on the positive actions we have been taking.
As alcoholics, we are prone to judge our feelings negatively, but we should recognize that these feelings usually make some sense, especially considering the current circumstances.
Step 10 stresses the need to continue working on a personal inventory and appears to suggest that we do this only to identify when we have been in the wrong. But how can we pinpoint the times we have been in error unless we can also identify when we have been right as a way to compare the two?
Being aware of the times in which we do things properly and fostering personal values are just as much a part of taking a personal inventory as identifying our liabilities. Step 10 informs us that we must acknowledge when we have been wrong. However, this is also assuming that we automatically know when we have made a mistake, but many of us don’t, at least not right away.
Over time, we become more skilled at recognizing when we have erred. We use step 10 to maintain a perpetual awareness of what we have been thinking, feeling, and acting upon. Thoughts and feelings are firmly linked to our behaviors, and many of us have anger problems, and we don’t like how it feels. We may come to the conclusion that we are not justified in feeling that way and then do our very best to defeat this issue.
And yet, we may be encountering situations that would make most anyone angry, but when we think about it, we begin to feel uncomfortable. Then comes the time when our recovery either propels us forward into improved self-respect or our condition pulls us down into intense depression and bitterness. Much of this is based on how we respond to angry and resentful feelings.
If we continue to take decisive action concentrated on improving our circumstances, there is an opportunity to enhance our lives and the lives of our loved ones. At the least, we can realize when it’s time to walk away and do so without remorse.
Moreover, it doesn’t help make a list of our feelings or make us cognizant of them without paralleling them with the behaviors they contribute to or fail to generate. Before starting a routine of taking a personal inventory, it’s essential to understand what we evaluate in the inventory.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
AA is a fellowship that has helped innumerable people break free from the cycle of alcohol addiction. However, research has shown that addiction is best treated using a comprehensive approach that, in addition to group support, includes psychotherapy, counseling, and long-term aftercare.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer integrated programs facilitated by trained, caring health providers specializing in addiction. Upon completion, we aim to ensure each individual has the tools and support they need to maintain abstinence and prevent relapse indefinitely.