In steps 4 and 5 we learned the proper way to take a personal inventory. Step 10 admonishes us to “continue to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it.” It also says in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous for us to “continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.” In reference to this passage the book says “when these crop up,” not if, or maybe or not likely but WHEN these defects crop up we are to continue dealing with them on a spiritual basis.
Selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of our problems. When we act in a selfish manner, we must recognize this quickly and change our thinking and behavior. After some time being sober and applying the steps and principles of the program to our lives this becomes almost an automatic process. We’re not dummies, just alcoholics. We come to learn to know when we are being selfish. We feel it in our spirit, and it doesn’t feel good. If we have harmed someone while being selfish, we must make amends quickly. This is so we don’t accumulate a long list of amends to make again. We try to take care of things in the moment instead of letting them pile up on us.
Dishonesty is the next character defect we are to watch for. The reason for this is obvious, it’s just plain wrong. We can scheme and be dishonest in our thinking. We can also lie to another person. The funny thing about lying is that most times the truth would have served us better! We must stop stealing time from our employers. We must be honest with others however, we must always remember to speak the truth in a loving way. We don’t want to cause more harm or reopen old wounds.
The Big Book states that “resentment is the number one offender.” By making amends in situations quickly we avoid accumulating a long resentment list again. If we offend someone, we make amends quickly. We don’t allow these resentments to fester into new wounds. Being angry at someone or something does not always cross the threshold into resentment. I can be angry about something and not build up a resentment around it. However, I also need to dispense of this anger as quickly as possible to avoid the temptation of creating a resentment. We must keep watch on our thoughts and actions and avoid resentment as if it were the plague.
The Big Book states that fear is an “evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it.” We fear some people because we owe them an amends which we haven’t made yet. The particular fear will leave us once we make the amends. We may have irrational fears such as the CIA is watching us. These types of fears are best left to another conversation. Fear can be debilitating. At times we may try and hide from our fear by covering it up with anger. This usually doesn’t work for long, and we are left to deal with the fear. The best way to be rid of fear is to face it through prayer and meditation. We make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone by our fear-based anger.
So, that is our revisit of Step 10. Remember that these things will crop up in our lives. The good news is that now we have the tools to deal with them when they do crop up.