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The Big Twelve
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Step 10

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.



“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”


Beginning with Step Four, we commenced to search out the acquired character defects that brought us to physical, moral and spiritual bankruptcy.  Step Five allowed us to share with God and another person the exact nature of our wrongs.  Steps Six and Seven made us aware that God may remove these defects and shortcomings if we are so willing.  Step Eight continued the house cleaning by our listing of all the people we had harmed.  In Step Nine we then made those direct amends to such people except when to do so would injure them or others.  Thus, if Steps Four through Nine have been completed honestly, then the past has been laid to rest.


Step Ten is concerned with the present and is a maintenance step.  The past is done with.  Now we are ready to really practice living the principles of the program—one day at a time.  Step Ten will keep us on the straight and narrow and keep us from accumulating wreckage from the inventory and admit when we are wrong.  We will be practicing Steps Four through Nine each day if we are honestly willing to do Step Ten.


The first portion of Step Ten is to “continue to take personal inventory”.  Although we have a searching and fearless inventory from Step Four, it is not enough.  Step Ten suggests that we take a personal inventory daily.  The greatest awareness of our acquired character defects and how they still cause havoc in our daily lives is what we are after.  The personal inventory is of three types.  The “spot-check” inventory finds its chief application to situations which arise daily.  In this situation, we need self restraint, honest analysis, of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere.  The second inventory, done at the end of each day, allows us to carefully examine our motives in each thought or act.  Here we recognize that we did act or think badly, try to visualize how we might have done better , and resolve with God’s help to carry these lessons over into tomorrow, and make any amends still neglected.  The third type of inventory involves, when we are alone or with our sponsor, a careful review of our progress.  This is a periodic house cleaning, much like the fourth and fifth steps, except we sweep away the wreckage of the immediate past.


The remainder of Step Ten tells us “when we are wrong, promptly admit it”.  This practice will become easier as we become aware that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong.  The false self will resist admitting its wrongs.  The only way to decrease the control of the false self is to defeat the ego.  We can defeat the ego by continually admitting the wrongs done.  When we harm others, we must promptly admit it (to ourselves always) to others when the admission would be constructive progress.  We continually ask ourselves, “Am I doing to others as I would have them do to me—today”?


The development of an accurate self-appraisal is your responsibility and is an indication of how your program is working for you.



The purpose of writing the tenth step is to help us acquire the habit of accurate self-appraisal and, on a daily basis, admitting our wrongs to ourselves first and then to others when the admission would be helpful.  Our continued recovery is dependent on how well we practice this step.


Go through the following questions and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time.  You are out to develop self-restraint, honest analysis, willingness to admit your wrongs and willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere.


1.      What does “continued to take personal inventory” mean to you?


2.      Explain the three different types of inventories as outlined in Step Ten (in the 12 x 12).


3.      Have you acquired the habit of accurate self-appraisal?  Why or why not?  If not, how do you acquire it?


4.      Why is the development of self-restraint our first objective?


5.      Are you aware that all people, including yourself, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong?  Why?


6.      Why is it necessary to spot, admit and correct our acquired defects of character on a daily basis?


7.      How do you grow in understanding and effectiveness?


8.      Have you ceased fighting anything and anybody?  If not, what or who are you still fighting?


9.      Why is it important to promptly admit when you are wrong?


10.  For the next week, keep a diary of an accurate self-appraisal for each day.  Each day:

  1. List the amends that have been made or are to be made.
  2. List the defects involved.
  3. Examine your motives in each thought or act.
  4. Ask God to remove these defects.


11.  Why is Step Ten called a maintenance step?


12.  How are you going to live Step Ten?

Am I continuing to peel the onion?

Work the steps, call your sponsor, just don't take that first drink, call before you fall, if you don't think about it, you'll drink about it.