Step Ten: Continued to Take Personal Inventory

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Step Ten Personal Inventory

Examine My Motives for All That I Do

If someone were to ask me what brought me to the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, my answer would be: “Alcohol had got the best of me, I was desperately circling the drain, and I didn’t want to die young”. Not everyone that comes to AA has that degree of desperation.

I got sober on October 15th, 1969 and that was just before alcoholics were being offered rehabilitation clinics. Up to that point, most of our members came here looking for answers.

The success rate at that time, according to the foreword to the second addition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, it says that 50% of those who came here looking for answers got sober and never drank again, 25% got sober after a few relapses and stayed that way, and the other 25% showed improvement.

To me, 75% sounds like a surprisingly good ratio of success. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking (Tradition Three). Not everyone who comes to AA from the court system or from a rehab environment has the same amount of desperation as those original members had.

This does not mean that they are not invited, for we treat them with respect. But, a large percentage of them do relapse and we welcome them back with open arms so as not to be considered an AA failure. Eventually, many of them do stay sober.

The depth of the desperation is often consistent with the depth of thoroughness a person is willing to go through as he takes the steps. And, when I was faced with this suggestion that I do a Fearless and Thorough Moral Inventory in the Fourth Step, I began to resist and did what I would call a shallow facade just to get my ticket punched.

Being in the Navy at the time, I was abruptly flown out to the western Pacific during the Vietnam War and assigned to a tanker replenishing the fuel on ships in the Tonkin gulf Fleet. I had four months to think about what I was going to do on my return home. My conscience told me to discard my original inventory and do it right the second time around. That I think, is what made the rest of this program easy for me.

Being willing to take responsibility for all those disgusting behaviors of yesterday and to make restitution has been the answer to all those alcoholic behaviors in the past. If we have completed a good 4th and 5th Step and again on the 8th and 9th step, how do we approach the 10th which suggests that we continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Early in my sobriety, my wife came home from an Al-Anon meeting excited about the topic they shared. She said that “We should examine our motives for all the things we do” and that made perfect sense to me.

I have been living a life based on Unselfish Principles and I am never finished examining my motives. All my outside behaviors (short-comings) are the result of my thinking (motives). And, so long as I am willing to continue this path it has taken all the fight out of me. Selfishness–Self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.

Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity we step on the toes of our fellows, and they retaliate (BB p 62). What a Profound statement!

Living a life based upon unselfish motives has restored my self-esteem and the final and most important result is peace of mind. Never thought that would happen! This is my understanding of Step Ten.

By Rick R.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.