Step 10 of the 12-step program focuses on taking personal inventory and, where needed, admitting wrongdoing. The first nine steps of the process prepare the way for step 10 and beyond. Building on this pattern of life is important for maintaining sobriety for the long haul.
Self-evaluation is an important part of recovery. A daily examen, or inventory, of an individual’s life is helpful when seeking to make amends. Taking inventory is a sort of self-seeking opportunity to discern thoughts, feelings, motivations and beliefs. Denial and complacency can set in when a person is not able to see any wrong done on their part towards others. Old behaviors and patterns can easily begin to emerge when there is no conscious effort to focus on others above self. Humility and courage are required to delve deep into one’s own psyche and examine just what actions or beliefs need to be worked on in order to bring about positive change.
The most growth and progress happens in this part of step 10, admitting wrongdoing against another. As a daily part of life, seeking forgiveness comes only after admitting a wrong and setting to make it right. Character is built on the refining fires of daily asking loved ones and friends to set things right and keep moving forward.
Some helpful hints when working through Step 10 might include a mindfulness practice of breathing slowly and calmly before decisions are made. Quick tempers and flashes of anger occur without much thought, therefore it is important to slow down, breathe, take a step back and reflect on the current situation before a burst of anger appears. When wrongdoing occurs, admit it freely and openly and offer to make amends. Letting things settle for too long can bring about hurt and resentment. Make a point of not allowing this to happen by dealing with it as it happens rather than letting it fester. Step 10 is a process of progress, not perfection. Expect that not everyone will want to make amends or accept an apology but know that all was done to make things right.
All of the steps in a 12-step program are based, in part, on letting go of control. In step 10, there is no guarantee anyone will receive an apology freely given. However, it is still up to each individual to take inventory of where wrongdoing occurred and, for themselves, decide to do what is right and go to the person wronged to admit what happened. Awareness is a key factor in this step, in that not everything which occurs needs apologizing for, rather it is about being mindful of how actions and behaviors cause harm to self and others. With awareness comes growth and opportunities to become better, day by day, are what recovery is all about.