- Practicing Step Ten – For Practical Purposes!

Practicing Step Ten – For Practical Purposes!




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

The difference in Step 4 and Step 10

Postby Dallas » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 pm

I think it’s natural for our thoughts to change as we grow in experience with the 12 Steps and Recovery, just as our thoughts will change about anything else in life – the more we learn about it and the more that we do it.

My thoughts over the years have changed drastically, many times, on about every topic that I’ve had to think about during my lifetime. And, especially, in regards to AA and the 12 Steps.

It’s probably part of the formula of “what we were like, what happened, and what we are like now.â€
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Postby anniemac » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:43 pm

"..to set right any new mistakes..." That's why I see Step 10 as current stuff and Step 4 as old history. My feelings toward my father in law are not new. My awareness of them is, but not the resentments.

The way I figure it, I can call it Step 4 and others can call it Step 10, and it really doesn't matter a good gosh darn, so long as I'm doing the work! :lol:
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Postby Dallas » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:51 pm

anniemac wrote:The way I figure it, I can call it Step 4 and others can call it Step 10, and it really doesn't matter a good gosh darn, so long as I'm doing the work!


I certainly agree with that!!! How true!!!! :lol:
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Postby garden variety » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:38 am

Hi all,

I pretty much agree with Dallas. I can clear away the wreckage of my past if I didn't remember it in step 4 with step 10. But the difference I see as I look at what Annie is saying, she needs to follow the "step 4" thing she forgot about with a "step 5" thing. Now step 5 is pretty clear, and it is different than step 11. So if Annie does a "modified step 10" to include a forgotten part of step 4, there is no "modified step 11" that is similar to step 5.

Bottom line here is Annie needs to admit to herself, to God, and to another human being the exact nature of her wrong. Yes?

So we can get into semantics and all that, but then it's getting too complicated for me. Where is the simple solution? In the steps of course.

Step 12 says we need to "practice these principles in all of our affairs". I don't think that means people who are having "affairs" as in extra-marital affairs, but to all of us. The way I see it is each step develops a "spiritual principle" not found in any other step that I'm told to "practice" in all my daily coming and going. Am I right so far?

So I learn an important "spiritual principle" in step 4 that is different than the "spiritual principle" I learn in step 10.

In step 10, I learn a spiritual principle I understand as "review". And I'm supposed to use that whenever I need to use it as I live my life one day at a time. I say the principle is "review" because it's repeated so many darn times when step 10 is being elaborated about in the book. I "review" the day at the end of the day. I "review" the disturbance after I realize that I'm disturbed - and sometimes I don't know what I'm disturbed about so I end up "reviewing" the day until I find the disturbance. So I end up using step 10 to make sure I don't let "my garden go to seed" after I clean out the garden spot with a thorough step 4, using what Dallas said about gardens. All of that is step 10 work to me.

OK now back to step 4. I learn a very important "spiritual principle" in step 4 that I call "reflection". I use this principle so I can see "my role" in any of my affairs that I played a part in that is morally wrong (to my conscience). So in step 10, I'm using the principle of "reflection" from step 4 to figure "when we were wrong" and to "promptly admit it". Now you could argue that's the step 5 equivalent already there in step 10, but that gets step 10 too complicated for me because I look at each step as having a simple and single spiritual principle that I don't want to mud up with another.

But if I'm doing an end of day inventory (not the "spot check" inventory that I use when I'm disturbed), I'm going to "review" both good and bad things. Keep the "good stock" and get rid of the "worthless stock". When I see the good things, I don't really need to use the principle of "reflection" from step 4 because I already should be aware of "my role" in the good things because I'm supposed to be "practicing" (which means I should have a good idea of what I'm practicing).

Back to Annie and step 4. When she became aware of something she left out on step 4, she had to use the principle of "review" from step 10 to become aware. Then she uses the principle of step 4 which is "reflection" to figure out "her role" in the newly-found old wreckage. For me "reflection" is always the most important tool in clearing away the wreckage of my past - that is not to say "review" doesn't play a part either.

Well now Annie does the pencil and paper thing which works for her when she's "reflecting" or doing a "mini step 4". The pencil and paper thing also works for Dallas when he does step 10. So pencil and paper is not the issue here. It's the spiritual principles that I'm supposed to be practicing in all my affairs.

With step 10 for Dallas, he doesn't have to be "accountable" to another human being for the "good stock" in his inventory. If he finds a "disturbance", he also doesn't have to necessarily be "accountable" to another human being (possibly he does but not always) - but he must be responsible for his actions to the other human beings he has wronged which is covered in the 10th step. So Dallas promptly admits his wrong and makes amends. Because it happens day to day, Dallas might not even have to "reflect" to figure out his role - he probably pretty much knows how he messed up. It goes back to that word "continued" - I just think step 10 is an ongoing review of my life each day, either by the minute, hour, or whole day.

With Annie, when she un-earths this old father-in-law wreckage, then she might need to be accountable with it her sponsor maybe to start with. That's the spiritual principle in step 5 "accountability". I have to admit to God, myself, and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. Then she might need to fix a shortcoming - or maybe she already is working on it. Then she might look to see if amends are in order which are spiritual principles in step 8 and step 9. I call those spiritual principles "estimatiion" and "restoration".

But the wreckage stuff for Annie sounds like it could be gone over with her sponsor, if she wants to, so she isn't missing anything if she were to simply "step 10" the wreckage. In fact it would probably be impossible for Annie to "promptly admit" when she was wrong if this is wreckage of the past and not day-to-day "wrongs" which I think is the "spirit" of step 10. She can't "go back in time" to the place step 10 talks about as "when we were wrong" for the "review" principle to be ongoing, at least that's how it looks to me.

This can be looked at as splitting hairs or "semantics", but I'm convinced that the book is not mistaken when it tells me to "practice these principles". I use principles that I learned from every one of those steps nearly each day. For me, if I'm not using all the spiritual principles from the steps, then I'm not doing step 12. And I sure am wasting my time talking about a darn "toolbox" if the tools are just sitting there getting rusty.

Well that's just my call. Hope I didn't offend anyone.
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Postby anniemac » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:50 am

Wow, Paul! Thank you! Maybe I"ll have you write all my posts; you say it so much better!! :lol:
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Postby Dallas » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:05 pm

Thanks for the lively discussion!!!


Paul wrote:OK now back to step 4. I learn a very important "spiritual principle" in step 4 that I call "reflection".


One of the Spiritual Principles that I discovered in Step 4, is the Spiritual Principle of “following directions.â€
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Postby garden variety » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:27 am

Hey Dallas and Annie,

By using your names in my post, I apologize if it appeared like I was "putting words in your mouth" which was not my intention at all. I was going "hypothetical" but using your examples of step 10 and step 4 as a point of reference.

Also, I was not trying to say either one of you are doing things "right" or "wrong". I'll claim the A.A. tradition here, I'm neither for or against either point of view. :wink: My "understanding" is that I can use any step at any time I need to, and that doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't do the step to the best of my ability the first time. But more importantly than that is the spiritual principle behind each step.

[quote="Dallas"]One of the Spiritual Principles that I discovered in Step 4, is the Spiritual Principle of “following directions.â€
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Postby Dallas » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:02 pm

gardenvariety wrote:By using your names in my post, I apologize if it appeared like I was "putting words in your mouth" which was not my intention at all. I was going "hypothetical" but using your examples of step 10 and step 4 as a point of reference.


Not a problem for me, Paul. I seem to automatically assume that your heart and your motives are good, and personally, I kind of like it when you refer to me -- makes me think someone is thinking about me! :lol: Of course -- the Moderators get nerved up over names -- and, they are just trying to keep it sane.

Interesting notes:

As it reads on page 58, of the Big Book:

"If you have decided you want what we have and you are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps."

The original manuscript for that page, prior to publishing, read:

If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to follow directions. :lol:

There were many times for me -- both before and after sobriety -- that I was - ready to follow directions but, somehow, I just never got started with following the directions, or I would get the directions -- and then not follow them... or I would get the directions, start following them... and then get side-tracked into doing something else... or, I would start following directions... and then just stop, for no appearant reason at all (other than I was lazy and/or undisciplined.... "was" ? :oops: :oops: ).

Geezzzz, how painful it had to get for me, before I became "ready to follow directions."

And, of course... being ready to follow directions won't help me any more than being willing to follow to directions will help me.

So what, if I'm ready and willing? Nothing is going to change.... until I take the actions in the directions. :wink:

As I look back over my life -- I can see that some of my greatest progress has been made when I was NOT ready (according to my thinking) and NOT willing to follow directions -- but, I followed them any way.

I meet so many alkies who are still suffering, and I ask them... "do you want to stop for good -- and are you willing to go to any length to get it? "

They assure me, that -- "Oh yeah man!!! You bet! I'm willing to go to any length and willing to do anything!"

Then, I give them a few simple directions... and, they do nothing about taking actions on those directions. Then, a few days later... they are trying to sober up again.

It goes on, over and over and over again for them... "Yes! I'm ready and willing!" ... but nothing ever gets done.... and, if they do get sober, it's usually only for a few days at a time, followed by long periods of uncontrollable drinking.

I've watched more than a few... who were ready and willing... end up in the grave -- without ever achieving sobriety.

We hear so much in our meetings, from fine, well-intentioned people Chairing the meetings and sharing about "the importance of being ready" and "willingness."

I sure wish that being willing - or having "willingness" was all that it takes. I wish that "being ready" was all that it took.

Alcohol is so cunning, powerful and baffling -- for alcoholics, that it doesn't really matter how willing or how ready they are!

Think about it -- for a minute. "If" I are powerless over alcohol... so what if I'm willing or ready? Being willing and ready is not going to cure or treat my alcoholism. And, if I "have lost the choice" over drinking -- so what if I'm willing or ready? Being ready and willing -- is not going to give me back the ability to choose if and when I can drink!

I learned this lesson the hard way. And, I watch droves of alcoholics still learning it. They come to an AA meeting, and listen to a group of goofs talking about willingness.

It isn't the willingness or the readyness... that is going to change anything. It's the actions that's going to bring about the changes.

Some will say "how can you take actions... if you are not ready or willing to take them?" The answer? Just do it anyway!

It's the doing that changes the attitude that can not do! :lol:

Focus on the doing -- and the attitude will follow.

Dallas
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Postby garden variety » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:33 pm

You're absolutely right.

It goes back to that darn frog thing I hate so much.

I can make decisions, but like you said, and the book says it too, if I don't immediately launch into action with all the desperation of drowning men, nothing happens.

That's where the "rubber hit the road" for me.

I had willingness - and I was ready. But I also had two other essential ingredients: the desperation of a dying man and the awareness of that. I was done.

That's why for me, it wasn't that I was ready. I was done. That's the problem with "relapse" - when sober folks say "I guess he wasn't ready yet". That's hogwash. I know a lot of people who are "ready" and "willing" like you say. I have never met a man or woman who had "all the desperation of drowning men" say "I was ready and willing, so I got it right away". They say "I was done" usually followed by the statement something like "I was dying and I knew it in my soul."

But then it also goes back to perennially relapsing drunks and their level of awareness. The "jumping off point" isn't something that happens by saying the right "words". People who relapse know all the right words. They know all the steps and principles. They have the clinical treatment jargon down to an art. Lack of knowledge isn't our problem. It's lack of POWER.

I needed to have an awareness of that at my "jumping off point". I had to get out of the "fog" of denial just long enough to see the real problem and realize that I'm really doomed. When I say "realize", I mean the thing becomes a reality in my life.

It still has very little to do with me up to that point. It's my soul that cries out in desperation "God PLEASE help me!" - The only thing left inside me that is still connected to the Spirit of the Universe. It's not my mind that has to be "ready". It's my soul that has to "be done".

When I cry out in pure agony "God PLEASE help me" - He does. God "freezes the lies long enough for me to see the truth". I become aware of my soul's poverty and realize how disgusting I have become. I have what we call that "moment of clarity".

That's the only thing that will motivate me to get beyond "making a decision" to "launching into action." Desperation and awareness - a strong healthy dose of reality that rips through every fiber of denial.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:28 pm

Absolute deflation to the point of making a surrender.

:lol: :lol:
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