Step 10

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


How It Works

This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.
-A.A. Big Book p.84

More about Step 10 in the Big Book


Comments from Web Sites and Publications

Step 10 begins laying the foundation for the rest of my life. It is a pledge to continually monitor my life with honesty and humility. It requires me to be vigilant against my addictive behavior and against the triggers for my addictive behavior. It requires me to be humble before my God who can keep me from my addictive behavior if I have the right attitude. It requires me to deal with my defects promptly when they arise and not to let them linger in my life.
- From 12Step.org


The emphasis on inventory is heavy only because a great many of us have never really acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal. Once this healthy practice has been groomed, it will be so interesting and profitable that the time it takes won't be missed. For these minutes and sometimes hours spent in self-examination are bound to make all the other hours of our day better and happier. And at length our inventories become a regular part of everyday living, rather than unusual or set apart.
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 89-90


The Tenth Step can be a pressure relief valve. We work this step while the day's ups and downs are still fresh in our minds. We list what we have done and try not to rationalize our actions. This may be done in writing at the end of the day. The first thing we do is stop! Then we take the time to allow ourselves the privilege of thinking. We examine our actions, our reactions, and our motives. We often find that we've been "doing" better than we've been "feeling". This allows us to find out where we have gone wrong and admit fault before things get any worse. We need to avoid rationalizing. We promptly admit our faults, not explain them.

We work this step continuously. This is a prevention, and the more we do it, the less we will need the corrective part of this step. This is really a great tool. It gives us a way of avoiding grief before we bring it on ourselves. We monitor our feelings, our emotions, our fantasies, and our actions. By constantly looking at these things we may be able to avoid repeating the actions that make us feel bad.
- Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 10


Steps 10, 11, and 12 are sometimes called the maintenance steps. They repeat many of the points outlined in previous steps, but they emphasize the value of continuing to "work the steps" on a day-to-day basis.

Step 10 encourages the taking of a personal inventory, which, for recovering persons, should be a daily process...

Our daily inventory certainly needs to assess the status of our relationship with God. Are we still yielding our will to Him? Bill Wilson emphasized how crucial this evaluation is, especially for addictive personalities, which tend to be willful. Our need to surrender ourselves to God on a daily basis will go on throughout our lives, and we shall explore the means of that continuing spiritual surrender in Step 11.
- Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 67, 69


Step Ten is a spiritual pocket computer to help us keep tabs on our behavior today and a cleanser to help keep our spiritual lenses clean. In this method of keeping an inventory every day, we ask ourselves questions like, Which of my character defects popped up as uninvited guests today? Am I using the tools of the program? Am I praying? Am I thanking God for all the good things he has done for me this day, and for any positive things he's freed me to do? ...

The reason this is so important is that the Sin-disease, which its denial and delusion, is always hovering "just a decision away" to throw us back into fear and confusion. Its tactics are to convince us in various ways, "You're 'well' now and don't need a stupid program to lead a normal life. You can and should operate on your own as a mature adult." The disease's "strategy" often works like this: When we begin to feel a little secure and happy and our relationships are more comfortable, many of us "forget" to have our quiet time. We forget to go to meetings and don't call our sponsor. We're busy again, because the pain that drove us into the program has been alleviated. This is a dangerous place to be, because it is one of the major delusions of the spiritual life that we can "do it oursleves" without daily contact with God and a daily look at the reality of what is going on in our own lives.
- A Hunger for Healing, by Keith Miller, p. 164


Personal Experiences

In our forums, you can read about how others have worked step 10, or share your own experiences about working step 10. The audio section also has examples of people sharing about how step 10 worked for them.

To share your own experiences in the forums, you first need to sign up for free membership.