What Is Step 10 of AA?
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
What Is the Purpose of This Step?
Step 10 of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages you to examine yourself as a part of your daily routine. Just as you addressed your defects, you must keep your successes in check. It’s easy to fall back into a life of pride and self-satisfaction.
How Do You Complete This Step?
You must make self-examination a habit.
Put all of your Alcoholics Anonymous work into daily practice, no matter what life throws at you. Day in and day out you will be tested to see if you can remain emotionally stable, sober and live humbly.
Correction of your wrongs is not a one-time thing; you must make self-examination a tireless habit. Only then will you continue to grow and progress.
Do a spot-check inventory when you have an emotional disturbance. This is a quick, spur-of-the-moment inventory concerned with day-to-day problems. It helps to silence volatile emotions, build character and promote a positive way of life.
What Are Some Tips for Completing This Step?
- Avoid making quick-tempered decisions; train yourself to take a step back and breathe.
- Survey your situation honestly.
- Admit when you’re wrong.
- Forgive others when they’re wrong.
- Focus on progress, not perfection.
What Are Some Myths About Step 10?
- You constantly need to apologize to everyone: Some AA members get hung up on this step because it involves admitting when you’ve done something wrong. But it isn’t so much about apologizing to others as it is being aware of actions that harm yourself and others. It is a very personal process of constant inward reflection.
Go Back to Step 9
- Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continue to Step 11
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1981). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Available at: www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step10.pdf
Perspectives on Step 10
By Dominica A.
When I first entered recovery and began working the steps, I was surprised at how many character defects and shortcomings I had. I thought I had my life together in so many ways, but it turns out I was wearing a mask much of the time. On the outside, I looked happy, confident, and peaceful. But inside I was sad, scared, and slowly dying.
Thankfully, Steps 1 through 3 helped me become willing to admit that I couldn’t manage my addictions alone. Steps 4 through 9 helped me peel back the layers of debris over my gorgeous soul, sifting through the rubble of past mistakes, addiction, and shortcomings.
Steps 10 through 12 help me continue to keep myself in check on a daily basis, in accordance with my Higher Power. I wanted to create a life that I absolutely loved, filled with peace and joy. Step 10 helps me to do so, as I regularly take inventory and quickly make amends.
No more shrugging the shoulders with a “whatever” attitude. No more pointing fingers at others so I can feel better about myself. No. Today, when there’s some sort of conflict in my life, I take a look at my side of the street and clean it up. If I’m in the wrong, if I’ve hurt or offended someone, I am quick to say, “Hey. I’m really sorry for that. Will you forgive me?”
A big part of the 12 steps is taking life in 24-hour chunks. One day at a time. When I view life one day at a time, it seems much more likely that I can tackle just about anything—including staying sober and drug free. If I make a conscious decision to check my heart each day and see if I’ve been acting out (being snippy, judging another, insulting, etc.) I can quickly make amends and continue living in peace.
It works. I don’t have to be led by self-centeredness any longer. I can be motivated and led by Love.
See, the 12 steps aren’t necessarily a program with a destination. They’re a platform for a lifestyle that can be lived out daily. It’s never about perfection or completion; it’s about progress.
When I start forgetting about the 12 steps, my old character defects will slide on in, subtly at first. I might begin to get restless, frustrated, or quite sad, and before I know it, I’m in a real funk and in danger of reaching for “something” to make me feel better. (My drug of choice.)
But, if I take just a smidge of time every day to take a personal inventory and really be honest with myself, I’m more apt to stay on the recovery path. When I can apologize to others and myself promptly, my relationships with others and myself grow nicely, and that is a beautiful thing!
Dominica A. has a love for the 12 steps, as working through them several times has helped her steer clear of addictions and grow personally and spiritually.
She is committed to living out the 12-step philosophy and sharing the message of hope to those still suffering in addiction—and to those in recovery as well.
Dominica has attended both Alcoholics Anonymous and Codependents Anonymous meetings over the years and appreciates the support she’s received. She’s got a deep-rooted passion for helping others heal emotional pain and trauma, as her own journey through love addiction has served as a catalyst for her own healing and transformation.