Thursday, October 21, 2010


Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it”

Mistakes…they happen. The reasons why they happen…that’s a whole different story! Bad mood? Not thinking? Accident? Indigestion? There are many reasons why one has to make apologies in life. If I had $5 for the number of lame reasons I have heard people use as to why they resorted back to alcohol/drug use…I would have a LOT of $5 bills. Regardless of the reason(s), it is nice when someone acknowledges a real or perceived wrong that they have perpetrated on us. And, believe it or not, it is nice when we acknowledge that we have been wrong in our speech and/or actions.

Step 10 is just the vehicle for such a situation. It’s been said that Steps 4-9 are the personal changes steps. If that is the case, which we think it is, than Steps 10-12 are the daily maintenance steps that keep that initial change alive, well, and growing. Why would the creators of the 12 Steps include one about admitting wrongs once you have already done so in Steps 4, 5, and 9? Because those were admissions of past guilt, NOT present guilt. Step 10 is about admitting wrongs as soon as they happen or as soon as possible when they happen.

Part of recovery is personal accountability. If we are not accountable for our words and actions then we pave the way for sailing aboard the “Good Ship Selfish”. This type of “lifestyle vessel” always leaves casualties in its wake, including ourselves. Therefore, we have to keep our personal behavioral books up-to-date, so to speak. The reality is that we are going to hurt people and we will make mistakes. Many of us struggled with the elusive “perfection” standard and ruthlessly held ourselves and others to the same standard. Perhaps when they failed us, we got revenge. This very act of revenge comes from resentment which is an addict’s worst nightmare. It leads to relapse and it’s wrong. The Big Book puts it this way, “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When they crop up, we ask God to remove them at once (p. 84).”

Step 10 is a lifelong process. We will make new mistakes, that is inevitable. However, we can create new beginnings with a sincere apology and a renewed effort not to repeat the same offense again.

Chris Newcomb - Aftercare Coordinator

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