Understanding Step 10
In Step 10, we learn to live one day at a time. We begin to take what we have learned up to now and work toward continual progress and character development. Our goal is to stay in emotional balance, taking things day by day. We continue to look at the choices we are making sober and consider what we’re doing right and wrong by taking an inventory at the end of each day.
By examining our actions each day, we can recognize when we have fallen short of our ideals. We can see where there is room for improvement and where we may need to continue to work on ourselves. When we persistently try to correct our errors as we make them, we are able to make our lives much more manageable.
A Daily Inventory
We have spent a lot of time looking at our mistakes and facing our shortcomings. We have taken responsibility for our actions and have made amends to at least some of the people we have hurt. To a large extent, we have made peace with our past. We don’t need to continue to dwell on it.
But recovery doesn’t have a graduation date. To remain sober and in emotional balance, we need to continue to work toward improvement. We do that by developing the habit of taking a daily inventory. By taking Step 10 on a daily basis, we look at the ups and downs we are experiencing as they are happening rather than waiting until things get out of control over a long period of time.
Living in Today
The essence of Step 10 is to live in today. When we waste today dwelling on things that happened yesterday, last week or even last year, or when we worry about things that may or may not happen in the future, we lose sight of today’s possibilities. We can also ruin today with negative emotions such as jealousy, anger or fear. If we dwell on resentments or nurse a grudge, we may be setting ourselves up to eventually relapse.
By keeping the focus on the 24 hours at hand, we can get a much better handle on our recovery and our lives. Getting in the habit of taking a daily inventory allows us to prevent negative emotions from overpowering us. We strive to learn self-restraint and try to avoid emotional meltdowns or explosions. We remind ourselves that we can’t afford to wallow in self-pity, depression or anger, and we also can’t afford to allow any other extreme emotions to get out of control.
How to Take Inventory of Ourselves
There are different ways to approach our daily inventory. Some of us take our own inventory on the spur of the moment when we catch ourselves backsliding or getting caught up in negative emotions. Others get into the habit of examining ourselves and our behavior at the end of each day.
To take an inventory at the end of each day, we look back at the things that happened that day. What are the things we could have done better or differently? Most important of all is that we recognize that we did some things right today. At the top of our list of accomplishments today is that for this 24-hour period, we didn’t pick up a drink or a drug, even if we felt uncomfortable or unsettled.
It may seem like making it a priority to do a daily inventory is taking ourselves way too seriously. But developing the habit of spending a few minutes making sure we are still on track can make a huge difference in our recovery. We look at what we did right and what we did wrong for just this one day, and then we let it go. By learning to approach life one single day at a time, we find that it’s possible to live a sober life and achieve real peace of mind.
Changing our ways of life and our attitudes will take time, and we will never be perfect. The important thing is to recognize that we can simply aim for progress and improvement, not perfection. All we have to consider for today is this one day.
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