Working Step Ten and Step Eleven Has Strengthened My Sexual Sobriety
For me, a review of the day is a definite part of my daily Step Ten and Step Eleven work, as suggested in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. The AA Big Book (page 84) describes Step Ten as follows:
This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.
So, in working Step Ten in my daily life, I watch for those four unhealthy attitudes: selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. I once heard this described (by a Sexaholics Anonymous old timer) as a hawk flying above me at all times, with a God’s-eye view of my life. So when I start to fall into wrong attitudes, my Higher Power shrieks at me to remind me to return to my SA recovery. If I have harmed someone by allowing those attitudes into my life, then I make amends as quickly as I can. The Big Book also acknowledges that it is easy for me to let up on my spiritual program of action, and rest on my laurels--and this is dangerous place to be. It has led to my handful of slips, even after years of sobriety.
Then, the Big Book describes Step Eleven on page 86:
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept some thing to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
This tells me to look back on each day as it is closing. That post-review will often show me things that I missed during the day, and will help me plan corrections and possible amends for tomorrow.
And then Step Eleven goes on:
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. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
So even my plans for each day are directed toward following God, as I understand Him (as in Step Three). These bookend prayers are a very important part of my SA recovery. They are so important that I start my newcomer sponsees practicing those two prayers even before they start really working the Steps. And for me, If I am doing the Step Ten and Step Eleven daily prayers, I rarely get into trouble in my Sexaholics Anonymous program, either during the day or during the night.
(sober since 2014)