The following is my tenth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
Step 10 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 84, third paragraph through page 85, third paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I will let the literature do most of the talking here. “Step 10 suggests we continue to take personal inventory and set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. 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… Love and tolerance of others is our code.
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol (our addiction). For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in alcohol (think about using our addiction). If tempted, we recoil as if from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically… It just comes. That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation … The problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react as long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”
This is true from my experience too! The key is to keep nurturing and growing your connection with God. We need to create a daily spiritual practice to help build our inner awareness and keep us connected to God. I try to always consult God in all my affairs and decisions. The more I do this the easier it is to negotiate life’s ups and downs with peace and serenity.
It is easy to let up on our spiritual practice. It is hard work, at first, to keep aware and vigilant. We have a way of easing up on our spiritual growth when our lives improve and things seem to be going well. Also, we can get mesmerized by worldly things. Getting that which we want and still don’t have or losing something we cherish can come to dominate our thoughts and emotions. This is especially true around our intimate relationships and finances. Our intimate relationships and finances have a way of taking us to extremes of emotion. When we fall into this trap, we lose our spiritual focus and relapse into living in fear. This process can be very subtle. We can recognize when this is happening by taking stock of our thoughts. If I find that I am feeling lots of fear and worry about things I want to happen or have, or don’t want to happen or might lose then I know that I need to reconnect with God and revitalize my spiritual program.
It is very important to create what I call a spiritual family. My spiritual family consists of people that know everything about me and to whom I can tell anything without fear of judgment. We speak the same spiritual language. My spiritual family helps me through life’s struggles and can tell me the truth when I am believing my old fear-based lies. I find my spiritual family members at 12 step meetings, spiritually focused classes at church or The Estuary, and other venues where like-minded people get together. My connection to God depends much on my relationships with others.
Next we will do Step 11.
David Saffold is a Professional Life Coach and student at the Estuary. He has been helping people use the 12 step spiritual program to recover from alcohol and drug addiction for over 25 years.