Throughout Each Day

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This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

During my early years in A.A. I saw Step Ten as a suggestion that I periodically look at my behavior and reactions. If there was something wrong, I should admit it; if an apology was necessary, I should give one. After a few years of sobriety I felt I should undertake a self-examination more frequently. Not until several more years of sobriety had elapsed did I realize the full meaning of Step Ten, and the word “continued.” “Continued” does not mean occasionally, or frequently. It means throughout each day.

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MY CHECKLIST, NOT YOURS

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Gossip barbed with our anger, a polite form of murder by character assassination, has its satisfactions for us, too. Here we are not trying to help those we criticize; we are trying to proclaim our own righteousness.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 67

Sometimes I don’t realize that I gossiped about someone until the end of the day, when I take an inventory of the day’s activities, and then, my gossiping appears like a blemish in my beautiful day. How could I have said something like that? Gossip shows its ugly head during a coffee break or lunch with business associates, or I may gossip during the evening, when I’m tired from the day’s activities, and feel justified in bolstering my ego at the expense of someone else. Character defects like gossip sneak into my life when I am not making a constant effort to work the Twelve Steps of recovery. I need to remind myself that my uniqueness is the blessing of my being, and that applies equally to everyone who crosses my path in life’s journey. Today the only inventory I need to take is my own. I’ll leave judgment of others to the Final Judge–Divine Providence.

Judge, Juror And Defendant

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I was always very belligerent when I drank, and took offense at anyone questioning my drinking.  It was “my body, my choice,” and I challenged anyone who spoke negatively about my drinking.  I was a blackout drunk and do not remember much of my drinking days.  In some ways that was a blessing, as I did not remember my poor behavior – but at the same time it troubled me to have these “black holes” in my life, where I could not recall where I was, with whom I was with, and what was my behavior like.  I woke up in another State and knew not how I got there.  I woke up next to someone I probably would not have associated with, sober.  Denial was my middle name, all the time.  I denied my disease, I denied my behavior, and I denied what others said I did, or said, to others.  There were always others I could point to and say “Well, I certainly don’t drink like they do.”  Comparing myself to others was my way out of the confusion, or so I thought, as I could manipulate people and events to my benefit, and therefore continue on my blind path to alcoholism.  God has interceded in my life and cleared my thoughts. I am blessed.

Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Unremitting Inventories

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Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

The immediate admission of wrong thoughts or actions is a tough task for most human beings, but for recovering alcoholics like me it is difficult because of my propensity toward ego, fear and pride. The freedom the A.A. program offers me becomes more abundant when, through unremitting inventories of myself, I admit, acknowledge and accept responsibility for my wrong-doing. It is possible then for me to grow into a deeper and better understanding of humility. My willingness to admit when the fault is mine facilitates the progression of my growth and helps me to become more understanding and helpful to others.

The Self

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My focus needs to remain constantly on my recovery as alcoholism is a very sneaky thing and can creep up on you before you know it.  In the Program it is “suggested” that we work our program one day at a time.  Most problems and troubles can be dealt with for a small period of time, like one day, whereas the old way was to throw my hands up in the air, and claim “I can’t do it!”  But when I break it down to small amounts of time, I can do almost anything.

Changes Within

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New relationships require a basis of honesty, if they are too last.  I was once willing to do whatever, say whatever, and be whatever in the hopes of a lasting relationship.  Today that is no longer the way it is for me.  Now I am open, honest and willing.  I have come to a place where I put myself first, right after God.  I am who I am, and that’s all there is.  I don’t try to match the behavior of others, that’s for them to define.  I work to take the higher path, as I have learned through the Program of A.A.  My self-esteem has grown, and I work to keep it modest and humble, but true to me. Thank goodness for the Steps as they have served as my guide to improved behavior, and I no longer have to buy into poor relationships out of misguided sense of acceptance and need.  Today I face others with hope, love and the promise of better relationships.

Simply Feelings

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Feelings govern my spiritual condition, and when I am working on a higher path, my feelings will come from inside, not outside.  I can accept life and all that it entails easier when I am “spiritually fit.”  Working Step Ten on a fairly consistent basis helps me to remain “spiritually fit,” and better able to handle whatever life throws at me.  To begin with I now have a Higher Power, a power greater than me, greater than my disease and greater than the challenges in life.  Together with this “power” I can summon the strength to face the battles and challenges in this life.  Knowing this, accepting this, enables me to call forth the courage it takes to encounter all the fears and changes that recovery requires.  Not only do I meet my fears, but now I know that I can overcome them with the strength my spiritual master gives me, when it is time.  Only God knows when I am ready to push forward, to change and grow mentally, and spiritually.  When life challenges me it is time to take another spiritual inventory.

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