Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 10 is considered the maintenance step for good reason. It’s imperative to sustaining quality sobriety and drawing us to closer communion with God, ourselves, and others. Step Four offered our introduction into this self-analysis of conducting a personal moral inventory, which was a painful but eye-opening experience of putting on paper our defects, shortcomings, and sins. It helped to uncover and reveal some hard truths about our natures and shine a light on the darkness of sins or unresolved traumas that may have been responsible for many of our unhealthy behaviors.
Yet, without continually taking a personal moral inventory, we will not maintain solid and stable emotional sobriety. This is why the spiritual principles associated with Step 10 are perseverance and vigilance. It’s only by regularly conducting a personal moral inventory that we can continually align our will more closely to God’s will.
When we do so and our outsides match our insides, we are right with God and with the world. We shine the Lord’s light naturally without boasting or bragging, acknowleding that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Doing a personal moral inventory daily keeps us on the fast track to a peaceful spirit and serene countenance. It also helps us remain thankful to God from the bottom of our hearts for the many gifts He has bestowed upon us—especially our sobriety.
But we can only maintain this peace and gratitude if we are conducting a personal moral inventory daily and admitting when we have wronged others. Remember, those of us struggling with addictions or unhealthy attachments are selfish and self-centered when left to our own devices. Without checking in with the Lord, we can allow vices to take root in our hearts, causing us to deny our own sins and faults.
This denial can cause tremendous spiritual, relational, and physical damage to us and others. We must not wallow in self-pity, self-rationalization, arrogance, vanity, pride, resentment, or anger but, instead, in all humility admit our wrongs and make direct amends to God and others when appropriate.
Of course, we’ll often find ourselves in situations that cause us undue agitation, annoyance, and suffering. We must learn to stop at these moments and conduct a spot-check inventory to identify what within us is causing this angst. By doing this over and over again, we can learn to invite God into each situation throughout our day. Even when we have been unjustly wronged or treated poorly by another, by checking in with God we can find the grace to forgive others and maintain our peace.
Lastly, by conducting a personal moral inventory daily we also humbly acknowledge the good in ourselves and our lives. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we’re able to also see how we effectively served God throughout the day, got out of ourselves, and trusted more fully in Him.
It could be that we remained silent at a recovery meeting or out at lunch with friends, letting others speak when we wanted to. Or that we turned attention away from ourselves and toward another. Or that we mustered up the courage for the first time to share our experience, strength, and hope to help someone.
By acknowledging the ways we have served God and others, we’re able to turn to the Lord in thanksgiving for the grace He has worked in our lives. We’re able to maintain our recovery and grow in holiness.
So, let us not be afraid to look at ourselves squarely and honestly by conducting a personal moral inventory daily, allowing us to stay ever-fixed to God’s love so He can use us to set the whole world on fire!
Kathleen Ann, by God’s grace, has been clean and sober since June 1, 2006. She is an active member of AA, CIR, and works part-time as the Project Rachel Coordinator in the Life office at the Diocese of Rockford, where she helps gently and confidentially guide those wounded by abortion to hope and healing in Christ Jesus. On most days you can find her at daily Mass, the gym, or caring for the needs of her family, young and old alike.