Step 10 & 11: Growing in Understanding & Effectiveness
"Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.
This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime." page 84, Big Book
When we discuss Step 10, with those that have only read Step 10 as one of the Steps "hanging on the wall" -- or listed in the list of 12 Steps, on page 59-60 of the Big Book -- about the only thing we'll hear them talk about is: "Continuing to take inventory and admitting it when they are wrong."
And, the same goes w/ Step 11. They will only discuss prayer & meditation -- when the instructions for Step 11 in the book, go way beyond, 'prayer & meditation'.
However, if we read the instructions in the Big Book, which explains to us "How to Practice Step 10" we'll discover that only a very small part
of Step 10 involves "continuing to look for wrongs and admitting them."
Surely, we've got to keep our side of the street clean -- just as much as we need to eat food and drink water -- to stay alive and stay sober...
However, the MAIN FOCUS of Step 10 is: Growing and becoming effective
This goes beyond "Spiritual growth and progress of a spiritual nature" (which is addressed in Step Eleven).
So, how about we take a look at it?
"to grow in understanding" -- Understanding IS a thing of the mind.
Before taking the Steps, we were admonished, at the bottom of page 58, Big Book... about the importance of "letting go of our old ideas absolutely."
We did that as a prerequisite of taking the First Nine Steps.
Now, in Step 10... we're reading things that relate to our brain "
"a new attitude" ~pg 86
"We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has
happened automatically." ~pg 84-85
And, a peek into Step 11 (is very relevant when we are doing 10 & 11 'together') "Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use."
Oh. You mean God... is NOT going to do my thinking for me? No. God is not going to do our thinking for us. He gave US brains to USE.
Ok. Remember what happened the last time you were in a meeting and someone discussed "their plans" -- and how some old-timers chuckled at them and seem to ridicule them for having plans, by saying something like: "If you want to hear God laugh -- tell him your plans"?
And, MANY of us (myself included at the time)... would laugh, too!
What was going on here? We were probably new, inexperienced, and we were listening to an oldtimer that we figured "this person must know something because they've been around here a long time" ...
WHEN apparently that old-timer had never read about Steps 10 & 11, in the Big Book! So, actually... he/she... should have been the joke of the laugh!
In Step 11: It tells us: "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day.
Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives."
Imagine that! Step 11 is about way more than just... Prayer & Meditation
So, WHY would God be laughing at us... for "considering OUR PLANS" ... if this is precisely what the book is instructing us to do?
Warning: Be careful about WHAT you HEAR in meetings... Your life depends upon what's in the book... not on what you hear in meetings. If you don't read the book -- you'll never know the difference. So, it's a prerequisite: READ THE BOOK!
As I look back on the first 5 yrs of my sobriety -- sometimes, I almost feel like puking -- over the valuable time in "growing in understanding & effectiveness" ... that I didn't do, that I could have been doing!
Sure, I would use the old saying "Yeah, but, at least I stayed sober."
So, what? I'm EXPECTED to stay sober just as much as I'm expected to breath -- if I want to stay alive!
Sobriety -- is about SO MUCH MORE than just being physically sober! It's about MAKING PROGRESS in LIFE.
What kind of progress have you been making?
Are you busy -- patting yourself on the back 'for just not drinking'?
What were your plans for today?
What do you want to be doing w/ your life -- 5 yrs from now, IF you just stay sober?
Do you have goals, objectives and outcomes that you would like to achieve? Have you thought about them? Have you written them down? Have you asked yourself "What would it look like and what would it feel like and be like -- if I accomplished this? (or that).
What are you CURRENTLY doing... to grow, in understanding & effectiveness?