Jul 15

Staying Accountable

By the time we reach the Tenth Step we have begun to understand the true importance of admitting and then taking responsibility for the state of our affairs.  Our efforts this far have already shown us what honesty and humility can achieve and we have made significant progress toward repairing the damage done to ourselves and others in the past.  Now we are given instructions on how to set a foundation for the future by creating a new habit and a better way to live.

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

As we approach Step Ten we are usually convinced that through working these steps we are in fact creating a new life.  No doubt our circumstances have changed through recovery because we have changed.  We have learned the meaning and the value of integrity.  We no longer live in denial.  We have found the strength to examine ourselves thoroughly and given every detail of our lives over to the care of a Power far greater than we are.  Through making amends relationships and finances have at least been properly addressed.  Even if they have not been repaired completely we notice that a burden has been lifted.  Perhaps health has been restored or the mind noticeably relieved of wrong thinking.  Our gains may be subtle at first but if we have been thorough up to this point we have experienced some degree of healing.  We are encouraged but we are not by any means finished.

The truth is that we will never be finished and this is why Twelve Step Programs work.  We are forming new habits, moving forward with intention – honest and accountable. The Tenth Step is a commitment to the daily repetition of Steps Four through Nine. We cannot afford to falter or fake our way through day to day living if we want lasting success.  Just as the first three steps continuously teach us to let go of our old way of life the last three will become the cornerstone for building a new one.

Page 84 in the Big Book tells us exactly how to work Step Ten:

  • Continue to take personal inventory. (Step 4)
  • Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. (Step 4)
  • When these crop up, ask God at once to remove them. (Steps 6 and 7)
  • Discuss them with someone immediately. (Step 5)
  • Make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. (Steps 8 and 9).

In working the Tenth Step we devote ourselves to the ongoing process of recovery. Once again the Big Book says it best, “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.”  We have turned a corner and chosen a new path that will not fail if we persist.

 “Higher Power, My daily prayer is to best serve you.
I pray that I continue to grow in understanding and effectiveness;
Help me to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear;
Help me to be willing to have You remove them at once;
Make me willing to discuss them with someone immediately;
Making amends quickly if I have harmed anyone;
Turn my thoughts toward helping someone else;
Please help me to keep love and tolerance of others as my code.”

~ Tenth Step Prayer

Steps Ten and Eleven are deeply intertwined, there may even be a bit of controversy about where one ends and the other begins or by which name we should call our practice.  However that detail is of little consequence. Ten and Eleven are practiced together daily.  Sometimes they are taken hourly and when needed moment by moment.

  “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.”  ~  Promise Ten


The following links from Barefoot’s World are helpful for taking inventory and establishing habits for Steps Ten and Eleven:  Step 11 Inventory, all of the Prayers in the Big Book , How To Listen To God and St. Francis Prayer Meditation (12 and 2)

Recommended Reading:

The AA Big Book and Guide for Working the Twelve Steps are recommended reading for anyone in recovery of any kind, not only because they were the first but also for their inspirational and direct content. Two great resources for those working the Steps for codependency are also included here. More books on 12 Step Work from other fellowships and programs can be found in the “Steps” drop down list under “Programs and Literature.”

Featured image for this page taken from Hazelden 12 Step Pamphlet Collection – The Complete 12 Step Collection used by patients in recovery centers throughout the nation, these easy-to-read editions are a sure way to gain a basic, and yet thorough, understanding of the significance of each Step. Pamphlets are available individually or in a money-saving full collection.

Recommended Links:

The questions above are fairly generalized in order to apply to a variety of conditions. The basics are the same but if you are working the Steps specifically for drug/alcohol abuse or codependency the following links may help you to explore further. There are many other formats and workbooks available through a simple web search.

12 Step Worksheets

CoDA 12 Step Worksheets

Barefoot’s Intro to Working the Steps

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