Thursday, August 6, 2009

Step Ten.

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

I love this Step - it keeps me honest. Currently honest. It allows me to avoid carrying a smothering encumbrance of guilt.

It has requirements - I need to examine my motives, and when I have been wrong, I need to admit to it. This is a necessity for both ends of the wrongs spectrum - large, and small. For it can be in the small, easily overlooked wrongs that my justification lies coiled, waiting to leap out and snare me. It's not much of a step from "small" to "inconsequential." Once I allow my ego to begin making those distinctions, I am on a collision course with my Higher Power, who, if I don't hear the message when it's given to me gently, will move on to the spiritual equivalent of belting my knee against the corner of my beautiful-but-sharp-cornered coffee table...


I'll be clutching myself, gasping from the pain, groaning aloud, wondering how on earth I managed to do that to myself. Again.
I can progress fairly quickly now, through outrage to ruefulness. If I move the desk chair out when I'm vacuuming, and don't bother to replace it, I'm going to pay the price later on, when my kneecap and the table collide.

My emotional life is equally as simple. If I don't continue to take personal inventory, and when I am wrong, promptly admit to it, I'm going to be sore as hell when the inevitable collision occurs. I don't do this spiritual tidying-up because I'm aiming for curb appeal for a house that is a wreck inside. I value my relationships with other people enough to be willing to admit to my part in our troubles, no matter how minor. I value my relationship with my Higher Power enough to want to be able to approach Him with honesty and self-awareness. Finally, I do it because I value myself enough, not to want to inflict needless pain upon myself.

Blaming the world for my spiritual unrest, or my misery, is like blaming the coffee table for my sore knee.

Working this Step can be a hard slog through my own rationalisations - I often need to reason things out with someone else. This only works if I am scrupulously honest about what my internal dialogue was at the time.

Once I arrive at what I did, then I can go to the person or persons, and make my amend, and regardless of the result, let it all go.

I was mentioning to a program friend recently that I wouldn't have thought it when I started doing this, but making the amend gives me the same result, whether its accepted or refused - I feel better. My conscience is clear, I can go on with my life, and leave the person I've made the amend to, to make their own choices. I don't have to beg them to accept it, I don't have to feel resentful if they don't.

My friend's father died this week, and my friend was telling me about talking with his siblings, and remembering some of their dad's favourite sayings. One was:

"If you've got a chip on your shoulder, it's usually a sign of nothing but wood further up."

Step Ten has removed the wood, and given me back my brain.


  1. You write beautifully about our wonderful steps.

    Question: Do you mind if I link to your blog in my post sometime?

    Love step 10,

  2. I really like the quote about the wood. Thanks for writing about Step 10. It is one that I really use a lot.

  3. Love this post. When I finally realized that I actually felt better when I was wrong and I admitted it right away it was a new day for me. Even if I don't get an apology back that I feel is in order I don't let it stop me from doing my part.