Oct 01 2013

Using Step Ten

Published by at 7:31 am under Using the Steps

“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

Welcome to Using Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps in Our Personal Lives from Al-Anon Family Groups. This is a series of podcasts to discuss how Al-Anon members use the basic principles of Al-Anon.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they used Step Ten to help them overcome the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

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6 comments

6 comments on “Using Step Ten”

  1. Sue says:

    I have come to believe that Step 10 is one of my favorite Steps! When I first began the Steps several years ago, I had a young man renting a room in my house. Because my sponsor requested I journal (Step 10) about my resentments, fears, etc., I soon recognized a pattern of behavior that had popped up with this young man. I was angry at him and my resentment was growing.

    This Step helped me focus on the why of my anger and to ask my renter to sit down and discuss the issues with me. I told him I wasn’t very good at confrontation and asked if I could simply read from what I had written. We then discussed the issues and came to solutions.

    When he moved out a year later, he told me, “I am so grateful to you for teaching me how to communicate my problems without yelling or getting into a fight over them!” If I hadn’t been daily journaling Step 10, my anger probably would have grown until I exploded at my renter. Instead, I learned how to handle confrontation in a loving way.

    “Continued to take personal inventory” keeps me honest, helping me to think before I open my mouth or take an action. If I can respond and not react by doing this, it means I don’t have to worry about making an amends for my behavior.

    I use detachment a great deal in this Step! This Step has kept me from stepping back into the insanity of the disease, because I don’t want to have to make any more amends!! Today I work not only on my behavior in this Step, but my thinking as well. If I remember everyone is a child of God, it helps me to treat them with the same respect I would like in return. I accept that I am a work in progress! I am reminded that I will never be perfect in all my behaviors.

    The last half of this Step, “when we were wrong promptly admitted it”, guides me in my actions when I have reverted to old stinking thinking and behaviors. Here is where I am reminded to keep my side of the street clean.

    If I make amends promptly for my actions, I feel the balance return to my life. What is important for me to remember is that amends are for me. What the other person decides to do with my amends is not up to me.

  2. Linda says:

    When I got to the program, I thought I was always right and everyone else was wrong. I could justify my behavior. The program taught me to look at me. My sponsor taught me that Step 10 is a way for me to look at me and admit to myself when I had done something wrong, then to change my behavior. Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix anything if I don’t change. Changing my behavior does. I use Step 10 as a way to evaluate me, see the good and the bad, and with my sponsor’s help, decide how to fix what happened. I ask for my Higher Power’s guidance. I may need to discuss the incident with the other person or I may need just to act differently toward that person or myself in the future.

  3. Judy E. says:

    Thank you for providing these mini-meetings. Today I am considering how to use this Step concerning my practice of my program. Even though I have been using my literature daily and have been in contact with my sponsor twice this week, I haven’t been to a meeting in 10 days. I can feel the dis-ease growing. I need all the parts of my program for me to maintain my peace and serenity. So, missing meetings is on today’s inventory and I need to make amends to myself by finding a meeting today. I know that this is a good way to care for myself. When I don’t make the effort to care for myself, then I can get irritable and unreasonable and everyone around me knows it!

  4. Rose says:

    This Step keeps me honest with myself. I no longer hang my head feeling that I must be the one wrong all the time and suffer from misplaced guilt and shame. I acknowledge when I am wrong and make amends to prevent anger and hurt from building up. By being responsible for my actions I can own what I am responsible for and work on what is needed to correct my behavior and grow in the program.

    I especially like the term in this Step, “promptly.” This means to me to take action and become aware of a defect sooner for the good of everyone, especially me!

  5. Kelly says:

    I spent my first 10 years in Al-Anon from 1991 to 2001, and I was very reliable with my program in those 10 years, going every week, and if I wasn’t at home, I would find a meeting so I could have at least one meeting a week. I did all the Steps a few times (with my sponsor of course), did service work, and tried to carry the message, Step 12. And I finally managed to remove myself and my children from the alcoholic/drug addict/gambler.

    I also found out through this program that I was an adult child of an alcoholic–my mother, and a child of a workaholic, my father. I had issues early on and was a co-dependent, an adult child and a people-pleaser. “No” was not in my vocabulary. I grew up with 3 brothers who teased me mercilessly and I rose to their bait every time. During my recovery in the first 10 years, I really found serenity and peace. I was me–not someone’s daughter or sister. I felt in control of my life.

    After 2001, I didn’t have the alcoholic/drug addict/gambler in my life and I moved to another city. My children had moved out on their own or with their father, so I felt I didn’t need Al-Anon anymore. I did attend an occasional meeting during the next 11 years of my life.

    Well, in those 11 years, I came to realize that old behaviours were getting worse and worse. I was in the same place I was when there was an active alcoholic in my life and my new husband didn’t deserve this unhealthy me. I attended meetings, but they just didn’t feel right–they were not “my meeting” that I had in the city I used to live in. I gave it up and did not go for another year.

    In 2013, I decided that I needed some peace and serenity back in my life. I was trying to control the uncontrollable, reacting to things just as if I had never attended one day in Al-Anon.

    My new husband, who is wonderful, was not an alcoholic. Although he had his own issues, I was reacting and over-reacting and reliving my old life. I knew I needed something to change and I needed the peace and serenity only the program can give. I finally went to an Al-Anon meeting and I have been going regularly since. I am right back at Steps 1, 2 & 3 and will be for a while. The difference this time is I know that in time I will find that peace and serenity once I start doing my Steps and Traditions honestly, start journalling again and practice the program in all my affairs.

    I am grateful for this program. I look forward to the day I can actually feel at peace with who I am and have the serenity I so desperately want.

  6. Eileen says:

    When I got to the program almost 30 years ago, I wanted nothing to do with this Step. I always seemed to be doing something wrong, and I was tired of being wrong and it seemed as though my whole life had been a steady stream of saying, “I’m sorry.”

    One night in a meeting as the Steps were being read, the woman who was reading them put the emphasis on the word WERE and not on the word WRONG. It put this Step into a whole new perspective for me. Reading this Step this way lets me look at the balance of it and not as a way to point a finger at perceived wrongs.

    “Continued to take personal inventory and when we WERE wrong, promptly admitted it.”

    Yes, I’m frequently wrong and when I am, I’ve learned how to admit it and correct it. But often I’m not wrong and I don’t have to say, “I’m sorry,” without meaning it–just because I think I should.

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