12 Steps: Step Ten
Steps 4-9 of the 12 Steps process teach us how to get things right in our life. Steps ten and eleven teach us how to keep things right.
In the book, "God Walk - A Journey of Faith" we talk about cleaning out the well of our life in step four. The story behind the idea of cleaning out the well comes from the Bible.
Genesis 26 tells the story of Isaac returning to the land of his father Abraham and discovering that all of the wells his father had dug had been filled in with dirt and rubbish by their enemies after Abraham died."
Isaac had returned to the land of his father and was beginning a new life. To have that new life he had to clean out the wells that had been filled up so he could have fresh water. That is what step four is about. It is cleaning out the garbage from our past life and breaking the bondages of habitual, undesirable behaviors.
Step ten is about keeping the well of our life free of anything that would hinder the free flow life into us and from us.
STEP TEN: Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
This step is about maintaining progress in our recovery. Sometimes we forget that there are 12 steps in our recovery process. Some of us stop at various places along the journey, but to be totally free we must follow all of the steps and step ten is critical. If we aren't doing a regular inventory we lose track of our progress and very often begin practicing behaviors which can lead to relapse.
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There are three kinds of inventory in step ten:
1. Spot Check: This is the daily, and sometimes more often, "quick check." You know what I mean - it is that certain feeling we get when we are about to make a bad decision. That is our inner person saying, "Don't go there!"
2. Daily Inventory: This is when we review our day. We look at things we have thought, the things we have done, the places we have gone, the people we have been with and in that process we ask ourselves, "Have my activities today helped me to feel more secure in my recovery, or have they made me feel a little insecure?"
3. Periodic Extended Inventory: The Bible records many times that Jesus left his disciples for a period of prayer and personal consecration. If he needed those times we certainly do. All of us should set aside a time periodically when we reflect on our life and ask God to help us to be aware of everything that might be a hindrance to our continued recovery. This doesn't have to be anything elaborate, it can be as simple as going fishing and sitting on the bank of the river as you examine your life. It could be just going to the park, or some other comfortable place to reflect on your progress.
One of the purposes of step ten in the 12 steps process is to guard against the feeling that we are finally strong enough to stand alone. There is a Scripture that says, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (1 Corinthians 3:16).
When we can regularly make an assessment of where we are, a continual fearless and searching moral inventory if you will, we are constantly reminded of our need for God, our higher power to keep us free of our past behaviors.
Is this step important? It was important enough that it was put in the Bible. It's worded a little different, but the message is the same. 2 Corinthians 13:5 reads, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize the Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test."
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