Step 10 – Onward and Upward


Steps 4-9 are the house cleaning steps. We go over our past actions, thoroughly and honestly, and make amends wherever indicated. Step 10 tells us how we can keep it that way by putting them into practice day by day. How I do this follows below.

Every day as I go about my business, I try to be aware of any instances where I am acting selfishly, dishonestly, or resentfully in my relationships with others. When I see any of that going on, I correct it (make amends) immediately or as soon as I’m able.

Early in my recovery, I wasn’t very good at staying aware of how I was acting. So after each interaction with someone, I would stop and do a sort of mini-inventory (Steps 4, 5 and 9). I’d put the of the interaction through Steps 4 and 5. If I found anything I needed to correct, I’d continue as directed in Step 9. Note: I was already ready to work on correcting myself, that’s why I was doing this in the first place. So Step 6 was a given, and as I’ve said before, Step 7 does not apply to me. As for Step 8, listing the person would be a list of one, and I was not likely to forget that I needed to make amends to the person, so I didn’t bother. Also in Step 8, we are to “become willing” to make amends. Also a given from the fact that I was doing the mini-inventory.

As time went on, doing my mini-inventory became habit. Today, I can usually catch myself acting selfishly, dishonestly, or out of resentment at the time I’m doing it, and often before I act at all. It has just become part of how I live my life.

I go through the same process with my interactions on-line. When someone writes something to me or anyone else that ‘get’s my hackles up’, I give my feelings the mini-inventory treatment before I respond. Why am I feeling angry, resentful, envious, or whatever? (My answer almost always comes down to pride.) And I remind myself that “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

That’s how I practice Step 10. I’d love to hear how you put the step into action in your life.

Review: Why You Drink and How To Stop: Journey To Freedom

Cover Art “I do believe that instead of getting lost in the ‘why’ you are an alcoholic, it’s far more important to figure out what you are going to do about it.” – Veronica Valli, Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom

Addictions therapist and recovered alcoholic Veronica Valli has written, in words from the heart, a solid, practical resource not only for those who have or think they might have a drinking problem, but also for those who have a friend or loved one who may. I know a few addiction counselors who would be better for reading it, too.

Well organized and easy to read, she covers a great deal of ground, from alcoholic behaviors, denial and unmanageability to finding help, self-discovery, relationships and co-dependance, and much more. The section on overcoming the possible roadblocks of past spiritual and religious beliefs is as direct and to the point as it is sensitive and enlightened. Not an easy feat considering that topic.

The three main sections of the book are:

  1. ALCOHOLISM – What it is (and isn’t).
  2. THE PROBLEM – Veronica nails the problem, including what she believes and I agree is “The World’s Best Kept Secret” concerning recovery. (Sorry, my lips are sealed. :))
  3. THE SOLUTION – An in-depth discussion from beginning the journey to eventually living your authentic self.

The book is sprinkled throughout with illustrative narratives from other recovered alcoholics and case studies from her counseling practice. It should prove an inspiration to anyone affected by alcoholism or other addiction. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Book Review “Between Drinks”

Full title: Between Drinks: Escape The Routine, Take Control, and Join The Clear Thinkers

In this amazing little book, author David Downie writes of his experience with setting down the drink for a predetermined time as “an experiment,” and discovering a richer, more meaningful life because of it.

I was skeptical about (what I thought was) his premise when I received the request to write a review and more so when I started reading the author’s drinking history, a history that includes both a blog and a book celebrating beer and the merits of the culture surrounding it.

The simple fact is David Downie has distilled the essence of the 12 Steps and packaged it for us here. I would recommend this book to anyone, with the “true-blue alcoholic” as a major exception, as the author himself points out.

He delivers pints of wisdom liberally sparkled with humor throughout. Included are vivid descriptions of his life as a drinker, as well as what his life has become after the experiment. Along way, he offers general actions anyone who wishes can try for their own experiment with life between drinks.

If this book had been available thirty-some years ago, it likely would have saved me and everyone else in my life a lot of heartache. Five stars and extra kudos for a book well done.

Book Cover Image


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