PREVIOUS : Use “THINK” instead of “feel” #2
SITE: Al-Anon Step 10
• MORNING MEDITATION READING = Today I will…..
AA/AL-Anon 10th Step: “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
This Step separates into 3 distinct issues: inventory, wrongs, admitting
1. DOING a REGULAR (daily?) INVENTORY
a. STEP 10 is a general evaluation of our activities for some brief period. The actual purpose is to help us stay present for what’s going on inside of us on a continuing basis.
It’s an antidote to our compulsion to escape the WIC’s old pain that hasn’t been cleaned out yet – by retreating into the ‘lala land’s of FB, TV, reading, over-doing…. & various addictions. It’s a way to not slide back into denial, back into just DOing instead of BEing, back into our ACoA’s built-in forgetter state.
b. WHEN? While it’s not stated, the assumption is that we take this step every day. In the Al-Anon book: “Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts” a member writes that at first they did it once a day, then added a lunch time evaluation at work, so that anything that needed to be corrected could be done right away & then the afternoon would go more smoothly.
But each of us must find our own rhythm. The more regularly we get in the habit of checking in with ourselves, the more we can connect with our True Self, & burn off bits & pieces of our damage.
c. Continuing a personal inventory does not exclusively mean listing all the flaws, mistakes, omissions… we’ve committed that day.
Yet in the literature & in meetings the focus is mainly on character defects we identified in Step 4. Re. Step 10, one internet site says “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them…..”
d. Simply doing it this way is lopsided. To be accurate it would be useful to make 2 – very brief – lists of both plusses & any negatives we observes in ourselves. If we’re doing this during the day, they can both be brief.
If it’s at the end of the day, we would benefit from sticking to only doing a positive inventory, as shown in the column —->. This is particularly important for ACoAs because our focus is always on what we did wrong, which keeps us stuck in narcissistic S-H. (More on ‘wrongs’ in Part 2)
And, to be ‘rigorously honest’ – we need to include all T.E.A.s (thoughts, emotions & actions) – without self-judgement – BRIEFLY. SO:
✔︎ What were my actions today? This is what most of us focus on. This includes things like co-dependent people-pleasing or passive-aggressive reactions – which mostly hurts ourselves, but also hurts others by nor being present with them (psychological dishonesty) – some ways we abandon others.
ASK: Did I “Correct, Complain, Criticize?”
POSITIVE: Identify any & all actions, even if they’re easy, short, simple or repeated every day
✔︎ What were my emotions (Es) today? Excitement, anxiety, boredom, annoyance, anticipation, gratitude, pleasure…?
Since ACoAs have trouble identifying our Es, start by briefly listing any events of the day which might have bothered you but which you brushed aside at the time – (someone ignored you, your ex called, you got a compliment, you forgot something…..)
Then ask yourself: “IF I had had an E for each event, what might it have been? Sad, hurt, angry, relieved, pleased….
This inventory is particularly important if you feel drained, upset, antsy, obsessing…. at the end of the day but don’t know why. Notice how these unrecognized Es add up & may contribute to your unease. Just because we don’t FEEL them, doesn’t mean they’re not there!
NOW: You can acknowledge some of these Es you’ve learned to suppress (denial), & can talk about them in meetings, therapy & with sponsors – to bring them into consciousness.
IMP: This will prevent having to act them out.
POSITIVE: Include a list of comfortable Es you experienced – no matter how subtle or brief. It’s important to reinforce all positives (peaceful, happy, relieved, relaxed….)
NEXT : Step 10 – #2 (re. Thoughts)