Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. – AA 10th Step
I really like the 10th Step of recovery a lot. The step allows me to be perpetually reflective and is a tool for keeping my side of the street clean. Without the 10th step, I don’t have the regular opportunity to take stock of my role in my life. Without the 10th step, I need to rely on 8th and 9th steps, which seem like much bigger tasks that I might do only on occasion.
I have learned something about working the 10th step that is rather surprising. In a couple of recent instances that come to mind, I was in conflict with another person over x, y, or z. After stewing over the issue, starting to work the issue up into a good resentment, experience taught me that no good could come of such behavior and I needed to get past it. In both instances, I wrote very clear notes of apology/acknowledgement for any role I had in the conflict. Intentionally, I did not include a “we are both at fault” but focused solely on my responsibility. In both instances I expected a gracious response, noting equal fault in the conflict. In both instances, I got an appreciative response thanking me for the apology but without any acknowledgement of shared responsibility.
Here is what I like about the 10th step process. The step does not predict the response of the prompt admission. The step only requires that we take appropriate action. In both instances I note above, I am no longer consumed by a growing resentment that allows someone to live rent free in my head. In both instances, yes, in a court of law, I am certain I would be vindicated of any wrong doing, but that is not really the point. In the same way I have learned that if I pick up the first drink, I will get drunk, I have learned that interaction with some folks will lead to conflict. Therefore, when I am in situations where either alcohol or problematic people, places, or things are around that will mess with my sobriety, I remain vigilant. I choose not to drink alcohol today and I choose not to place myself in certain situations. It really has nothing to do with the alcohol or the situation. It has to do with what happens to me when I am a participant.
The 10th step is an automatic reflective process that allows me to live day-to-day in recovery.