Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 2)


PREVIOUS : 10th Step #1

SITE: 10th Step Worksheet 

A Study of Step 10 


AA/ Al-Anon Step 10 : “Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


1. Daily INVENTORY
(cont.)
✔︎ What were my thoughts today?
NOTE: This is NOT what you said – only what was in your head.
Re: Yourself – most of this list will be the self-abusing thoughts from the PP or WIC.- ie. Self-Hate, either in the ‘I’ form (I’m such a failure) or ‘You’ form (You should have know that)
Re. Others – If you’re angry at someone, the thoughts will be harsh judgments & derogatory name calling
If you’re anxious, they’ll usually be thoughts of how to placate or avoid that person.

These will all be in the form of obsessions – going round & round, without asking yourself what childhood button was pushed, nor looking for a solution to the situation. (POSTS: “What just happened?”)

IMAGEs: they illustrate the positive & negative sides ➡️ of our thoughts & Es, NOT as mental illness, but actually normal in all humans

POSITIVE: Identify all helpful, kind, adult, realistic, mentally healthy thinking (“What she said had nothing to do with who I am // I’ve just reached my limit // I need help with this // that was a good meeting”…. )

✯   ✯   ✯   ✯   ✯
2. AND WHEN WE’RE WRONG  (see posts on “Being right“)

What kind of wrong(s)? First we need to distinguish between defects of character, what’s our responsibility & what’s S-H.
DEFECTS (same as short-comings) can be defined as “a fault or failure to meet a certain standard….” They are basically defense mechanisms (unhealthy patterns) that all of us develop in response to a painful childhood & outside traumas

** IMP: in 12-Step ‘work’, lists of defects always include emotions. This is WRONG! Emotions are never defects – only some thinking (CDs), AND some behavior patters (abusive actions) – which together are used to deny painful emotions.

RESPONSIBILITY is simply a frank acknowledgement of what we think, do & feel – or not, without judgement or self-abuse
We can still ‘feel bad’ about hurting someone & need to make it right if possible, but it does NOT cause shame or self-abuse

SELF-HATE is blaming ourselves for causing ANY hurt or fear we feel, & projecting abandonment, especially if someone ignored or harmed us, or if we’re not perfect!

We also need to Identify our rights, so we know what a wrong IS or is NOT. Just because someone doesn’t like what we say or do does not mean it was ‘a wrong’! SO, look for:

a. Something that was NOT wrong at all, but:
someone else made it sound like it was. This can be from :
— projecting their own disowned defect
— a way to deflect blame from themselves
— you happened to push a button in them
— being caught in a defect (lie, error, abuse….) which they’re ashamed of

someone hurt us & ⬅️ WE made it our fault – typical of codependents. We apologize in knee-jerk fashion, as if we caused the other person to say or do something inappropriate.
✸ While this reaction is deeply ingrained in ACoAs, it will most often show up when we’re around anyone who is oblivious to the effect of their actions, or who doesn’t care.

— This is the WIC taking responsibility for someone else’s narcissism
— It’s what we were trained to do by family & religion
— It’s carrying the guilt for them, since they won’t
— It’s as if we could teach them how to be responsible for their actions – like the alcoholic’s spouse who thinks they can ‘show’ the active drinker how to be moderate by example.

b. Something we were often punished for / made fun of…. as kids (family, school, religion…). It may have been normal child behaviors or inabilities, omissions, expressions of emotions….

This left us with a deep sense of Shame now re. expressing any imperfection which is then labeled as a character defect.
This emotion prevents us from thinking clearly, it silences us, makes us want to slink away, hide under the carpet, to die – the pain is so great, like a punch in the stomach!

NEXT: #3

Al-Anon STEP 10 – Comments (Part 1)

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)