Step 9 of the Alcoholics Anonymous program allows the participant to make amends to the people they have wronged in the past. Step 10 starts the final three practices of the 12 steps, which are not intended to be ever fully completed.

What does Step 10 of AA mean?

Step 10 begins the next phase in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program, with it and the subsequent two steps being the basis for how long-term recovery from alcohol addiction is managed. 

The 10th step reads as follows: “continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong to promptly admit it.”

Step one through nine of the AA program has taught the participant how to look inwards and assess how their actions affect the world around them while admitting their mistakes to others. Through attaining the ability of introspection, the AA member is ready to take daily stock of their lives and begin to control their actions. The weight of old habits and alcohol dependence begins to lift as the person can reflect on temptations and monitor their behavior.

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How does the 10th Step work?

Step 10 may seem pointless or obvious from the outside, and even to some members who reach this step. We may all consider being aware of our actions, but are we really taking stock?

Step 10 asks that those in recovery not only consider their actions but take note of them and reflect on why they felt or behaved in a particular way. Taking personal responsibility for how you act and react to the world around you is crucial for a successful recovery from alcoholism. 

While taking a stoic approach to situations, that is being able to observe and react in a measured way, is the ideal step 10 does not require you to make the right choice every time. For example, if you get into a heated debate with a colleague or employer and end up raising your voice does not mean you have failed. Instead, you are expected to own your actions and take appropriate steps to right your wrongs, in this case by apologizing sincerely for losing your temper. 

Over time and through close introspection of your daily actions you will begin to gain more control over impulses and identify where you have made mistakes.

How long does step 10 of AA last?

Step 10 of AA is an ongoing process, one that is intended to be returned to daily, monthly, and even yearly. By taking a small amount of time each day to reflect on your actions over the past 24 hours you can ensure that you are keeping yourself on a healthy equilibrium and not allowing any mistakes or ill actions to accumulate. 

Periodic reviews, every month or so, allow you to see if you are maintaining promises made, keeping healthy relationships, avoiding negative situations, and keeping your life in balance on a larger scale. This periodic reflection can illuminate wins in your life as well as highlight areas that need improvement that you may have missed. 

Many members of AA use this period of reflection to see if they are still maintaining the work done in previous steps and will return to any that have been neglected or need further work. This process will often last a lifetime as recovery is about continuously growing and developing to be the best version of yourself you can be.

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