Posts tagged Step 10

Step 10 – Promptly

Recently there was some confusion generated by comments made about Step 10, ” Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

The confusion was around whether or not we have to admit we were wrong to the person whom we caused harm, or just to ourselves.  Well this could be a tempting tid bit if we were really looking for a morcel of excuse to avoid what keeps us in fit spiritual condition.  For clarification purposes, after conversation about this with my sponsor, the only reason we could come up with where we would not promptly proceed to make amends for wrongs done is as is discussed in Step 9, ” …except when to do so would injure them or others.”  For example, if we have gossiped about a person without their knowledge, we would certainly not apologize to that person for gossiping about them when they didn’t know we had done so.  However, we do promptly apologize to the person(s) with whom we were doing the gossiping, admitting that we were in the wrong to have gossiped and that we regret our harmful words.  We ask their forgiveness, and then we go forward in ” living amends,” practicing kindness and respect in our communications, and recommitting to minding our own business.

With Step 10, we always want to clean up our side of the street as promptly as possible.  This is a selfish act in a way, because we need to keep the clutter of guilt, shame and resentment out of our lives. Step 10, like Step 9 is about taking care of us.   In the past, it triggered too much damage for us and others to continue nurturing the presence in our lives of these unhelpful feelings of shame or guilt that result from our wrong doings.  They cause us to feel uncomfortable, out of sorts and that puts us in a precarious position.  They stand in the way of our sanity and serenity in Alanon, and our sanity, serenity and sobriety in AA.  Step 10 is our daily reprieve, our daily discipline to nurture the happiness, joy and freedom that we realize as stated in the Promises.  How insightful of the founders to be inspired to add this simple and oh so important maintenance step to our tool kit.  It is a well used item, and it works.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am promptly cleaning my side of the street. ”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Step 10

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

This step is often referred to as a maintenance step.  I think of it as a freedom step.  It keeps me free of the new clutter of old patterns.  One of the first slogans I learned in the program was ” Awareness is half of the solution.”  This gave me hope.  It meant that I was halfway to a better way of life.  With each new awareness, I had the opportunity to make amends for my part in situations and practice a new way of being.  Now I see it also as making a deposit in my relationship bank with other people.  Each deposit enriches my life and my relationships, and shores me up against the withdrawls of the future when I find myself less than present to my relationships than I’d like to be.

What feels so good about doing this Step on a regular basis is that I’m not accumulating additional baggage to weigh me down and clutter my mind.  Instead, I’m keeping myself free of new distractions, from being of use to my Higher Power and my sisters and brothers on the planet.  While it may seem inconvenient and uncomfortable at times to address situations as they occur, it’s so much easier than letting them fester and contaminate my days and my relationships.  It doesn’t make sense to me to have resentments, nor does it make sense to contribute to the creation of resentments in others.  The other day I did a little huff with my breath about being inconvenienced by a loved one.  I was only vaguely aware I’d done it.  Within 10 minutes they made a disparaging remark to me about me.  I had hurt their feelings with my inconsiderate, rude little huff.  I wouldn’t have done it with a friend.  When I asked why they seemed upset, they told me what I’d done.  They were right.  I was wrong.  I apologized.  They apologized.  We hugged.  We moved on.  So simple.  It works.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making amends promptly.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson –  This day is God’s.  It is my gift to him.

Practice – Christ And so we give today to You.  We come with wholly open minds. We do not ask for anything that we may think we want.  Give us what You would have received by us.  You know all our desires and our needs.  And You will give us everything we want and that will help us find the way to You.

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Brake For Big Decisions

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Friends of mine in the program just learned some very disturbing news.   A different couple had some significant differences with their spouse.    In both cases they’re talking about making big decisions that will take a drastic turn with their personal lives.  Knee jerk reactions.  My hope is that they don’t make any big decisions, yet. 

The 12 Step programs have taught me to ” Pause when agitated.”  This means breathe, call my sponsor, pray that my Higher Power gives me clarity, go to more meetings and keep my eyes on what I need to do to take care of me in this moment.  Choosing to make a life altering decision in the middle of big upset, which means for me big fear, is not a wise choice.  Too emotional.  Not thoughtful.  We might not like what awaits us on the other side of the pass.

Talking to others, focusing on today and what’s in front of me to do helps me get clear on the situation at hand.  Step 10 says we “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong admitted it.”  That helps me see what role I may have played in the situation.  It brings up questions like – What can I do differently next time?  What didn’t I do that I could have done?  What did I do that would have been better left undone?  Was I reacting emotionally, or responding thoughtfully?  What is a more helpful response? 

My best option is almost always to talk to others – ask for help from a sponsor, another program member or a professional.  Rash decsions are usually, invariably regretted.  Patience is a characteristic that my Higher Power has been teaching me much about in the last few years.  It’s been a steep learning curve at times, but so well worth the results in the healthy choices it’s lead me to, and the additional pain it’s helped me avoid.  Keeping “First things first,” has also been helpful and makes me feel like an adult.  Big decisions can usually wait until we are in a better place emotionally – when we’re out of fear and in a place of love for ourselves.  We deserve that time to breathe and regroup.  And in the meantime, my experience is that our Higher Power graces us with healing, and with solutions that are better than anything we could have imagined.  It works when we work it.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making healthy decisions for all concerned.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson –  I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  I bless the world because I bless myself.

Practice – I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  I bless the world because I bless myself.  God’s blessing shines upon me from within my heart where I need but turn to Him, and every sorrow melts away as I accept His boundless love for me.

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Gardening – Step 4 or Step 10

My gardening friends and I sometimes let the weeds go toward the end of the Fall.  What that means is the weeds grow underground all Winter and cover 10 times the space by Spring when it’s time to dig them out and make room for the vegetables.  The effort expended to remove the weeds by then is vastly increased, exhausting even for the most enthusiastic gardeners as a friend recently confirmed.  The amount of waste generated covers yards instead of inches.

Unhelpful behaviors are like weeds which can be inconvenient to address in the moment.  But, just like keeping up with the weeds in a timely fashion during the growing season requires less effort and helps avoid injury, doing Step 10, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it,” prevents us from repeating the mistakes of our past, and keeps us from developing new bad habits and behaviors that are unhelpful as we grow in Recovery.

When we don’t do Step 10, we find ourselves needing to do another 4th Step to clean up the wreckage from our more recent past.  Personally, I prefer to avoid doing any more 4th Steps than are absolutely necessary.  I’d much rather do the 10th Step daily, and keep up with the weedy behavior that might otherwise choke out my ability to be of service to God and my fellows.   Regular weeding with a daily 10th Step is so well worth that smaller/prompt effort, leaving my life uncluttered with plenty of space for my Higher Power to fill it up with miracles.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing better every day.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson – .Salvation is my only function here.  My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

Practice – Salvation is my only function here – on the hour.  My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation – on the half hour.

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