The Steps in Everyday Living: Part Ten

Boy Band

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 10 is the first of the “maintenance steps:”  actions to be  taken on a daily basis for the rest of our lives.  Assuming that you have done the “searching and fearless” inventory required in step four, and assuming you have done (or are working on) the amends process in steps 8 and 9, step 10 is pretty simple.  As often as need be, I was taught at least on a daily basis, take a look yourself… thoughts, actions, attitude… examine, and ensure that all are in line with your new way of living.  Of course, the not-so-fun part, if you happen to discover that you’ve said or done something that is not in line (Who?  Me!?!), repair the damage as quickly as possible, so that you may move on.

This step is a good way to continue the practice of looking at myself, my behaviors, and my mistakes, rather than reverting to form and condemning the behaviors and mistakes of others.  It’s an ongoing way of “keeping my side of the street clean.”

It’s also a way of maintaining the serenity gained from working the first nine steps.  Here’s an analogy:  I am guessing that everyone has at least one area of their home that serves as a dumping ground.  Sadly, I have a few areas, but the worst offender is the basement.  And when I do not maintain the order, and keep inventory of what is going into the basement, things slowly but surely spiral out of control, organizationally speaking (which, by the way, is the current state of affairs).  Numerous times in the past 7 years of living in this house I have done the “big clean:”  purge the basement of all non-essential items, organize the remaining, and then clean it from top to bottom.  But then, we host a big party, and we need to get stuff out of the way, immediately!  Then, Christmas comes, and all the newly emptied boxes need to go somewhere, as well as the gifts that we are unsure where to put.  And then a change of season comes, and the previous decorations need to come down in a hurry, so who has time to store them properly?  Before you know it, the basement is a disaster.

Now, if I had just taken the few minutes needed for each of those occasions, found a home for new things, organized the old, the basement would be in good standing.  Because I did not, I now need to do the “searching and fearless” inventory that I had already done several times before.

Step 10 is taking those few extra minutes each day to keep my life in good working order.  If I fail to regularly take a look at myself, resentments start to pile up, regret over poor choices gather, and, before I know it, I am feeling horribly and can’t begin to unravel the emotional knot my life has become.

There are other benefits from taking this mini-inventory:  it keeps me from the wasted energy of judging everyone else, it keeps the focus on what I can control (myself) and keeps the focus away from what I can’t (everyone else).  Making amends promptly is, like everything else, not easy to do, but with practice gets a lot easier, and there is something to be said for laying my head down at night with a clean conscience!

Today’s Miracle:

The picture above is my son and his boy-band mates (my son, in the middle, sang, while his friends played sax and guitar) after their performance in the school talent show yesterday.  What a miracle to witness their enthusiasm!

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Posted on June 14, 2013, in Twelve Steps in Everyday Living and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I have also heard 10-12 referred to as the “growth steps” – I like the ring of that one better 🙂

    Ugh…I have not been great at this one. I do catch myself with resentments and fears sometimes, but I don’t know if I catch them all. I used to just sit down and take a quick reflection of the day so far and see if I have been resentful, fearful, dishonest or selfish. I am not so disciplined these days. That and 11, where before I retire at night take a look at the day and chalk up assets and liabilities. It’s one of those things that I need to shore up on…so thanks for the reminder.

    I think it’s because when I do feel resentment, I quickly turn it around and think of things in a new way – a new perspective. So maybe I am doing it, but not really. Who knows. But what you said here “This step is a good way to continue the practice of looking at myself, my behaviors, and my mistakes, rather than reverting to form and condemning the behaviors and mistakes of others.” is bang on.

    Going to bed “clean” is my aim always. May not always happen 100%, but it’s spiritual progress, not perfection 🙂

    Great post!

    Paul

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    • Oooh, growth steps, never heard that one, and I do like it better! Maintenance steps reminds me of the maintenance program at Weight Watchers, something I had never gotten to, and always wanted.

      Turning a resentment around and looking at it from the other side is the meat and potatoes of step 10, as far as I’m concerned. For the record, it’s hard to imagine you not doing any part of the program beautifully!

      Thanks for the comment, I will be henceforth calling 10, 11 and 12 the growth steps!

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  2. My sponsor emphasised anger when he prepped me for this step and, for a while, i thought it was too easy because i’m not really an angry guy. But then i decided to broaden the list to include what i’ll call alcoholic sins, meaning not sins in the classic Christian sense, but behaviors that are carried over from my alcoholism. This new definition has really helped me…but it takes longer 😉

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  3. Time With Thea

    Now that I have been following your blog for awhile i just wanted to say that I can tell that you are healing and getting healthier with every new post. It so neat to be part of your journey. Love this post and your explanation regarding organizing because as you know that is my ‘thing’. Keep up the great work! ~Thea

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    • I read this comment and laughed out loud… I never considered the organizational component to the comparison! Thea, I will be reaching out to you soon, because that damn basement is the first thing on my summer bucket list!!!

      I appreciate the validation on being healthier… I feel it, and it’s nice to hear that is shows. Thanks so much!

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