The tenth step of Alcoholics anonymous (AA) is “continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” In steps one through seven you have worked on the inside and steps eight and nine you have begun the work on the outside by taking action. By this time you will have quite a bit of sobriety under your belt. Your life is working well. You have a higher power that you trust and your work and relationships are back on track. You probably no longer crave alcohol on a daily basis. It is important to note here that Dr.Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, actually craved alcohol for a long time after getting sober. The only thing that kept him from taking a drink was his work with other alcoholics. For most of us, however, drinking is no longer something we need to do everyday. We are grateful to be alive and grateful to be sober.
At this point Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that you take an inventory everyday. You search your mind and hearts for things you may have said and done that were not consistent with the way you want to act. If you have offended someone make amends immediately. You may even want to journal your activities. Journals are extremely helpful with working through feelings as well. You begin writing about something that is bothering you and often as you write, you may find a solution to the problem. With journals you can also keep track of your growth in sobriety. You may read something that you wrote months ago that is no longer a problem. We continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. AA suggests that as soon as we see one of these emotions that we ask God to remove them. Remember a recovering alcoholic does not have the luxury of sitting in negative emotions for too long. Your sponsor will help keep you on track as well as long as you are practicing “rigorous honesty” with them and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. By this time we will have ceased fighting everything. In the first few steps our ego was still in the picture as well as our pride. By now we are willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober as our lives have gotten so much better.
Remember that alcohol is patient. It can wait for years for us to slip up again. Often when we have a while in the program we may begin to take sobriety for granted. We feel we no longer need meetings on a daily basis. We begin to feel secure in our sobriety. AA says that the farther we are away from a drink, the closer we are. People who have been sober for twenty years find they are drunk and don’t know how it happened. That is why doing a personal inventory everyday is so important. Keeping vigilant about this disease is paramount. We only have “one day at a time”.