I have found in my recovery that I must continue to take personal inventory ON PAPER. Simply trying to do it in my head does not work, and I fall behind. Furthermore, when I am doing a written inventory, I must also take the action to make amends where they are due.
The Tenth Step states, “We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” It seems everybody in the program has a different opinion on this step, and works it a bit different. I have tried several different ways, and come to terms with the fact that I must write a written inventory every night.
When I write an inventory, it really makes me take the extra time to see exactly what is happening with my resentment. It forces me to take a little more time with myself each day. When I am writing, I often find that my behavior is absolutely absurd. When I look at what I actually wrote myself about my part, I am able to get a closer look at my own insanity.
The first part of Step Ten is to take personal inventory, which is a practice of Right View. The resentments I go over in my 10th Step prove that my perception is the cause of my suffering. Where I think others have harmed me, I find the reality is it is my behavior that is truly causing harm. Writing step 10 every night takes a certain amount of courage, as it requires looking at our own defects of character.
Using the concept of Right View in Twelve-Step Programs is not hard. Nearly every resentment I have must be viewed more spiritually in order for me to drop it. Looking at my faults rather than those of others prevents me from harvesting these resentments and letting them grow. Seeing the truth, I see that it is my behavior, not the other’s, that is causing me pain.
The second part of the Tenth Step is to promptly admit when we are wrong. This is the most difficult part for many. Although we have made amends in the Ninth Step, we often overlook the importance of continuing to make amends. In my experience, this takes a level of Right Intention, Right Effort, and Right Action.
Right Intention comes into this step because we must keep our intentions pure. When we purify our intentions, we are able to see our own faults and not hold the other person responsible for our feelings. For me, I must constantly remind myself that my intention is to be compassionate toward both others and myself. My intention is to not cause harm in any way to the world I live in. In order to fulfill this intention, I simply MUST make amends. It is not an option.
After I am able to be honest with myself about my intentions, I must utilize what I know about Right Effort and Right Action. As simple as making amends may seem, it truly does demand a level of effort that is difficult for alcoholics and addicts to achieve. When I put forth the right amount of effort, I take the correct action, and make amends.
Right Intention really is the tipping point for all of this. When I realize my intentions, I generally quickly am surprised by how much my actions are in conflict with my intentions. Experience shows me that when my actions are congruent with my intentions, I am free.
Before I do a Tenth Step, I meditate. I do a form of Samatha meditation. I calm myself, usually doing a full body scan. I do this because it helps me become aware of the tiniest bits of tension I may have. After I meditate, I find that I am able to search much deeper within myself with ease.