A Study of Step 10

The 12 Steps of A.A. and Al-Anon

Concerned Couple
Admitting You Were Wrong Helps. © Getty Images

Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But it is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery.

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

Step 10 may be one of the least popular of all the 12 steps because it is simply no fun to be wrong and then have to admit it! But without this step, progress toward recovery can not only cease, it can actually lose ground.

It is another process which seems on the surface to be difficult to face, but in actuality, it is as much a benefit to the one admitting the wrong as it is to the person who was wronged.

By promptly facing mistakes and taking responsibility for them, it prevents situations from festering into resentments and anger that can become real problems.

Step 10 helps to keep the spiritual house clean. All humans and are bound to make mistakes and errors. Owning up to those wrongs quickly settles the issue. Rather than weighing on the conscience or building up to produce greater consequence, the mistake is corrected promptly and the problem nipped in the bud.

For example, suppose you say something insensitive or crude and as soon as it pops out of your mouth, you realize it was not the right thing to say to that person. As step 10 suggests, you apologize immediately and tell the person that you were wrong and you should never have said it.

Then, you can walk away knowing you have done your part to make it right. If the other person wants to hold on to it and remain angry about it, it is their problem, not yours. The steps are to help you make progress. In the end, you apologized for your spiritual benefit, more than for their benefit.

Visitors to the bulletin board at this site have shared some very practical ways they have applied this step to their lives, in our study of the 12 Traditions and 12 Steps continues:

Staying Humble

I love this step! It keeps me honest and humble and keeps that inner peace with me that I sought for so very long. I know immediately if I have hurt someone, I really try in daily living to always stop before I open my mouth and think.

I know when I hit the pillow at night there is usually no one that is hurt by something I've said or done. This step in my daily life has helped me to be more conscious of other people's feelings instead of just my own. I guess you could say it gives you a conscience and the means to deal with it.

Nancy

Step 10 Is an Ego Buster

My least favorite step. Me? Wrong? Can't be! And when I am wrong, I always find a way to turn it and twist it and make it the other guy's fault. That's what I did for years. Today, I very reluctantly admit when I am wrong, and to tell you the truth, even though it makes me feel better, I still don't like doing it.

The reason is simple: ego.

Sox

Cleaning House

For me, Step 10 is very important to my daily living. What a joy to not let any mean spirited deed or thoughtless remark fester. The act of quickly trying to right the wrong keeps my mental house clean. If I can not "fix" the hurt directly to the person, I try to do an unexpected kindness to another.

Carol

Taking Responsibility

Continuing to take my inventory was not too difficult, because my fourth step really acquainted me with myself as I was, and what I was. After sharing what I had learned about me, with another person, and God, I was capable of recapping my life on a daily basis.

When everything was going well It was important that I reflect this also in my daily inventory. I had learned that the inventory was good as well as bad. When or if it were bad I had to take responsibility.

I had learned the hard way that if I didn't, then the conscience that God had renewed in me made me very uncomfortable.

So I learned that it made me feel good to admit to being human, and making a mistake, and being truly sorry for it. This being accomplished this alcoholic felt some bit of serenity. It sure does beat the heck out of getting drunk over the situation.

The bottom line for me is don't pick-up a drink no matter what. I do whatever I have to do to accomplish that. That definitely includes step 10. the first of my "maintenance steps".

Larry

Step 10: Daily Inventory

One of the worst hangovers that I can ever have in life is anger. This is something that I must take care of real fast, not let it go on for days or even hours. I am very aware of how I treat people and when I lay my head down at night and I can't go right to sleep, there is something the matter with the way I have lived my life that day. Time to take that daily inventory.

There are times when I have to do this as the day goes on. If I am feeling overwhelmed (spot check). Having been in this program for some time now I know that I have to do this step all the time (every day). I have had to make this a daily thing in my life. At first, I thought this was going to be a drag until I realized how good it made me feel at the end of the day and during the day.

This step has also shown me the good side of me also, things that I have done well today. I always try to look at both sides of the day the good and the bad, and thank God for sitting beside me all day, and you know what? I slept pretty well last night!

Skip

Harder to Do In the Family

The hardest area to practice this step is at home. My blind, disabled, 84-year-old mother lives with me. She is an alcoholic and very difficult at times. We have had a battle of wills for as long as I can remember. We still do today!

For my sobriety, I must work this step every day. I must look at "my" part alone. I get frustrated and angry with Mother at times. It is usually because I am being selfish and want my way. The 10th step has afforded me the ability to recognize this. Without it, I would continue to believe I am always right. I would not accept I could be wrong.

I am not perfect in working this step, but I rarely let Mother go to bed without a "goodnight, sleep well, I will check on you later". It gives her comfort, and I feel better for it. This is progress!

Saying "I am sorry" is easy. Meaning it is a different story. Today, when I say I'm sorry I usually mean it and try not to repeat the same mistakes.

I do carry this step into all my affairs... it just seems easier with casual acquaintances or strangers. It is a process and so far I haven't had to take a drink because I didn't do "my part".

Magic

Index of 12 Steps and Traditions Study

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