The first nine Steps prepare someone for the adventure of a new life. As Step Ten is approached, the AA way of living is put into daily practical use, in fair weather or foul.
Step Ten reads, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Self-searching becomes a habit and a means to learn and grow. Admission and correction of errors need to take place now so that tomorrow’s challenges can be met as they come and joy can be realized each day. Notice of the many constructive things happens, as well, and these are stimulation for continuing forward. This Step also invites an opportunity for retreat into the process. Often welcome is this removal from the outside world where quiet allows for an undisturbed period of time (even a few hours) for self-review and meditation.
“I use spot-check inventories when I experience daily ups and downs. It quiets my emotions and allows me to use self-restraint and honesty to respond in a productive way. Taking a step back and thinking helps me avoid regrets and keeps me humble. It also reminds me that others also face challenges daily – that it is better to be kind and love others than to be angry or hateful toward them. I am grateful for my blessings and continue each day trying to be better than the day before,” shares a Sister in conversation about the meaningfulness of the Steps.
Spirituality surpasses the blossom and profusely blooms in Step Eleven. It’s about change – change in perspective, habits view of self and connections – and spirituality is all about connectedness with self, others and God. Step Eleven reads, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Prayer and meditation are the principal means of conscious contact with God, and they work. One of their greatest rewards is a sense of belonging – and a knowing that when we turn to God, all will be well with us.
A graduate of Guest House in his 34th year of sobriety relates, “I found the most meaningful part of my recovery journey to be in my spiritual awakening in Step Eleven. This Step was a fresh source of strength for me. I became involved in meditation called “Lectio Divina,” and through it I came to experience God’s great love for me. The anguish of the disease gave way to the overwhelming joy and peace in my heart. I vividly remember one day while I was in the chapel praying, I heard a voice speak to me. I knew it was God’s voice, and He simply said, ‘I not only love you. I’m crazy about you!’ Tears streamed down my face. I wish this kind of joy and peace for all my friends on the journey of recovery.”
In these later Steps, it is critical to remember the words of Scripture: “…not my will but Yours be done” Luke 22:42. The spiritual awakening in Step Eleven carries into Step Twelve, and the joy of living is celebrated. Here, the kind of giving that asks no rewards is experienced. The Twelve Steps are woven into daily lives. Step Twelve reads, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” The one in recovery moves from darkness into light, sees his or her life quickly filled with purpose and meaning, believes anything is possible, gives freely and “carries the message.”
One Sister returning for retreat comments that several Steps resonate with her, but she says, “For Step Twelve, I particularly enjoy helping others who struggle with addiction and doing service in several different areas. It brings me joy to give back after the blessed journey I have traveled, and it strengthens my resolve to live each day as fully as I can.” She focuses on the crux of “The Serenity Prayer” that AA uses:
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can
And wisdom to know the difference.
Written by Guest House Staff Writer
AA is not affiliated or allied with any sect, denomination, or specific religious belief. When AA speaks of God, they mean each individual’s own conception of God.