Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
By the time you have made every effort to clean up past harms and set matters straight, you have come a long way. Step 10 is the first of what many refer to as one of the maintenance steps. This is where we practice these steps on a daily basis . Step 10 is about daily self examination and cleaning up our current mistakes as we go along.
What exactly does “continue” mean in this context?
The word continue, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary means ; “to remain”, “to continue”. In other words, what you did in the fourth step you would continue to do in the 10th step. There are varied opinions about whether to do step 10 with pen and paper, or just a mental review of the day. But if the 4th step was done with pen and paper and since the 10th step suggests we continue, then it seems that writing the 10th step would be the proper approach to working this step. Opinions vary to such a degree that this is another good reason to have a sponsor.
So if we are serious about the self examination process, step 10 would mean continue to take steps 4 through 9 on a daily basis. As we go along, taking our own inventory and seeing the harm we have caused others, it can become possible to clean things up right away. This way we are keeping our side of the street clean and preventing a buildup of emotional and spiritual garbage which can often lead us back to the what got us to treatment in the first place.
Isn’t doing this on a daily basis a bit much? Why not once a week or so? Or whenever something comes up?
Taking ten or fifteen minutes out of your day to keep yourself balanced and comfortable is not really unreasonable when considering the options. Imagine, if you didn’t do this, how much time could be wasted on thinking about someone who earlier had said or done something that hurt your feelings or made you angry? That would be wasted time wouldn’t it? Peace of mind is a beautiful byproduct of continuing these steps. Less time is spent about worrying what others might think about you. Less time is spent resenting people, places or things in the past and less time worrying about the future.
What am I looking for when doing this step?
The suggestion from the AA big book is to continue searching for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment, and Fear, as those are the things that get us into trouble. The key here is to keep it simple. This process of recovery is not complicated. Honesty and willingness are what will be our best guide. Having a sponsor wouldn’t hurt either.