Step Ten – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
By the time we get to Step Ten we may feel that we are well on our way to recovery and have it all figured out. Daily life has become easier and we can quickly forget what got us into trouble and what brought us to, and keeps us in recovery. Making a regular Step Ten inventory helps us maintain a clear and balanced view of our progress. We need to be reminded of our strengths, our weaknesses, and the areas where we remain vulnerable to stumbles.
We need to ask ourselves, and answer truthfully, questions such as: What is my current overall condition? How am I feeling? What is happening today? What unmet needs do I have? How am I living within the boundaries that protect me and those around me? How am I welcoming God’s guidance rather than living in my own self-will?
Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. (Romans 12:3 NLT)
Our life with God in recovery should be one of continual learning and growing. We need to be diligent as we reflect on our motives and behaviour in situations that arise, and ask God to shine his light on our souls to help us sort them. When our actions or attitudes conflict with God’s principles, we need to re-align our ways with what God is saying, and we need to do it sooner rather than later. Where we are wrong or out of balance, it’s important to take quick action and admit it. We also need to make any necessary adjustments and amends. This builds our character, strengthens our relationship with God, and helps us find the satisfying life of living in community as God intended.
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:12-13 NLT)
Suppose we looked in a mirror and found we had something smeared around our mouth. We would be foolish if we didn’t immediately wash our face and clear up the problem. In the same way, we need to routinely look at ourselves in a spiritual mirror. The dirt on our face, which the mirror revealed, will not go away until we remove it by washing our face. The same applies to a problem that could lead to relapse in our recovery; the problem needs to be corrected as soon as we become aware of it. If we avoid taking care of a problem, it will not go away just because we refuse to deal with it.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. (James 1:22-24 NLT)
Step 10 encourages us to regularly take a personal inventory, which for persons in recovery, should be a daily process. Here are some suggested components for this ongoing inventory:
1. How are our basic needs for love, acceptance, and security being met each day?
2. What are our feelings – both positive and negative? Have we noticed anger rising within us? Are we willing to identify the hurt beneath it? In any situation, did we act or react out of fear of rejection, abandonment, pain, or other unmet needs?
3. What’s the status of our relationship with God? Where have we surrendered to God’s will and where have we operated in pride and self-will? How are we living “Not my will but Yours be done?
4. Have we acted codependently in our desire to meet our needs? Have we been controlling, rescuing, acting the victim, enabling, been compulsive or perfectionistic? Have we respectfully maintained boundaries – our own set and those of others?
5. Have we been fair-minded and flexible with others? Did we make snap judgments or take time to listen and understand the other person’s point of view? Have we been critical and disagreeable in our interactions, or respectful and patient?
6. In our relationships with others have we “Done to others as we would have them do to us?”
Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory. (Mark 14:38, Psalm 85:8-9 NLT)
As we reflect on our behaviour, what are some of the principles that God gives us in His word around which we can base our inventory?
How was love my motivation? You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27 NLT)
What was the nature of my attitude and behaviour? When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:19-20, 22-23 NLT)
What was I thinking? And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)
When I reflect on God’s values, did I live today according to the wisdom He gives me when I ask? If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. (James 3:13-14, 17 NLT)
We need to take regular personal inventory measuring ourselves against God’s tried and true principles. We also need to take appropriate action when problems are revealed. As we maintain this discipline we will move forward in our recovery and discover a life that is meaningful, purposeful, and joyful.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. What tools am I using to help me assess, reflect, learn, and grow in my recovery?
2. What does “when we were wrong, promptly admitted it” look like in my daily practice?
Gracious God, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Amen (Psalm 19:14, Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)