Step Ten

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Step Ten Outlined

"This Step gives me permission to walk away, cool down, apologize for my part, and let go of the incident."

"This Step gives me permission to accept my current state and move forward without blaming or shaming myself."

"This Step gives me permission to accept who I am and learn my lesson from the relationship."

"This Step gives me permission to notice and accept that I am not owning my power. It gives me permission to begin doing that, without casting judgement on myself or another."

"This Step gives me permission to identify when have become angry at myself again or begun to neglect myself - my feelings and needs."

"This Step gives me the freedom to admit promptly when I have gotten off course, so that I can get back on track with my program of self-care."

"This Step also means that I am free to take a few moments each day and focus on and enjoy what I have done right - then feel good about that."


"If we have done our work on the Steps, we have progressed through that kind of thinking. We may fall back into it on occasion, but at least now we know what we're doing, and we know that it is an illusion. Many of us began our recovery journey because of what someone we loved was or wasn't doing. We came into this program because of that kind of thinking. Then, the First Step grounded us in a new way of thinking, a new way of approaching life, others, and ourselves."

"By the time we made it to the Fourth Step, we were ready to begin focusing inwardly. We were ready to begin soul-searching. We started to take a look at ourselves and what was going on with us. We began to look at how we habitually responded to life, instead of focusing on what was going on with others."

"The process we went through in Steps Four and Five took us on a housecleaning tour of ourselves. We turned our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God. Then we cleared out the package we had turned over."

"Now we have been given this Step, a maintenance Step, to help us continue this process of looking within. This Step doesn't ask us to go after ourselves continually with a hammer and chisel. It doesn't tell us we have to walk through life holding ourselves under a microscope, hyper vigilantly watching all that we say and do, waiting with bated breath to criticize and punish ourselves."

"It does give us permission to continue to be aware of ourselves - and, when we are wrong, to admit and deal with that promptly."

"This Step asks us to continue the process of using our intellect, our wisdom, and recovery wisdom to review and inventory ourselves. We want to trust our feelings, but we must also call our intellect into play, so we don't get lost in the swell of unearned guilt and defensiveness."


"For years, when I would feel hurt or angry, I'd run to God and ask God to forgive me. I would feel ashamed and contrite for feeling angry, for feeling hurt - for feeling. "Father, forgive me, for I have sinned," was my motto each time I had any kind of disruptive feeling toward another. I looked at myself and my feelings as something outside and apart from my Higher Power."

"Then I would feel confused and guilty when the feelings didn't go away. When the other person's behavior continued, so did my feelings."

"It took me a long time - I'm still learning this lesson - to realize that my feelings are often how my Higher Power speaks to me and tries to get my attention about a lesson I need to learn. That lesson may be setting boundaries, owning my power, or learning something about myself and relationships. My feelings are not incidentals. They are an important part of me, my life, and what I need to be paying attention to."

"At the least, they are to be fully experienced before I move forward. Life, and my Higher Power, will often pellet me successively with similar circumstances - designed to provoke a certain emotion. I used to think that not feeling the emotion was what was expected of me. Now, I'm learning to surrender with more ease and dignity to the emotion as a necessary and important part of the experience."


"There is another area of our lives where our inventory may lead to the discovery of a wrongdoing that requires prompt admission. This area is one of wrongdoings toward ourselves. Not acknowledging and feeling our feelings, not setting the boundaries we need to set, not paying attention to ourselves, not trusting ourselves, not respecting ourselves, not listening to ourselves - these are wrongdoings that need prompt attention."

"Being angry at ourselves, and punishing ourselves, is a wrongdoing."

"Self-neglect is wrong."

"Self-neglect can become habitual for those os us who have spent many years practicing codependency. It is much easier for me, in any given situation, to shut down my emotions and neglect myself than it is for me to value and trust myself and my emotions. This is something we need to watch for in our inventories."

"Getting hooked into caretaking, focusing on another, and neglecting our own emotions and needs can be another instinctive response we might want to watch for."

"Trying to control the course of our relationships, rather than allowing them to unfold and taking care of ourselves in the process, is another behavior to be on the lookout for."

"Not being emotionally honest about our needs and wants with ourselves or others - is a wrongdoing."

"Forgetting or neglecting to treat ourselves with a nurturing attitude is an area that we may want to watch for. Often, our initial response to any given situation is to be harsh, demanding, critical, and shaming of ourselves. That, my friend, is doing wrong."

"Not nurturing and taking care of the child within is a wrongdoing. Looking to others, rather than ourselves, to take care of, to protect, to nurture that frightened, needy child is a wrongdoing that can lead us into desperate and codependent gestures in our relationships and our lives."

"Falling back into a deprived and martyred way of living is a wrongdoing. Allowing others to control us or our lives is a wrongdoing."

"This Step tells us that making mistakes is expected and anticipated."


"Some people in recovery prefer to take this Step nightly. When they retire for the evening, they review their day and their conduct. If something arises during that review, they make a mental note to deal with it. That may mean dealing with feelings, being honest with someone, telling someone they're sorry, or making an amend to themselves. We may need to go back to another Step to help us in our inventories. If we are open, we will know what to do. We have begun a process that we can trust, a process that will continually support us in our growth. This program and these Steps will not abandon us."

"Some of us like to take this Step in the morning, during those quiet moments before the busyness of the day sets in. During that time, we are open and receptive to our feelings. We may want to ask, What's going on with me? What do I need to do to take care of myself lovingly and responsibly? Then we listen to ourselves and respond."

"Others work this Step in a more relaxed fashion, trusting that if they are working their program, staying connected to other recovering people, and trying to stay on track, this Step will find them when it needs to."


"While we're busy inventorying ourselves, we may want to pay attention to what we're doing right. Step Ten says, "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." It doesn't say that we ignore what we do that is right or what's right in our lives. It says we continue to inventory ourselves."

"When we inventory, we can look for many things. We can search out feelings that we may be running from. We can look for low self-esteem or inadequacy creeping back in. We can look for reversions to old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. We can look for those behaviors that we truly are uncomfortable with, that we have directed toward others, and we can make prompt amends."

"No matter where we are, who we are, or what we're doing, even on our worst days - especially on our worst days - we can find one thing we did right, something good about ourselves and our lives to dwell on. We can find something to feel hopeful about, something to look forward to. We can focus realistically on a vision of what is and what can be good in our lives."

"There's room in reality and recovery for "what's right." Identifying the negatives and the problems will help us solve them. Empowering the good will help that to grow, too. We can tell ourselves, others, and God what we appreciate about the person, ourselves, and life."

"We can let go of our need to be so critical of ourselves and others. We can look for what's right."


"This is the Step of continued self-awareness and self-responsibility. In the other Steps, we began the process of looking within, rather than focusing on others. This Step encourages us to continue on that path. We don't have to use it as a rigid tool to control ourselves and keep ourselves behaving perfectly. We can use it, instead, as an anchor, to keep us grounded in ourselves and our own growth process."

"We can allow ourselves to live and trust the lessons to reveal themselves to us, when it is time, when we're ready, when our Higher Power is ready. Sometimes that lesson is a new behavior we need to work through. Sometimes the lesson is an old behavior that has crept back in."

"This is the Step that encompasses our imperfections and the imperfections and humanity of others. It is a vehicle for learning to love ourselves and others unconditionally. Take it not in fear, but in trust that we are right where we need to be in our lives, our recoveries, and our relationships."

"Be patient with yourself and others as you struggle forward in this process of growth, change, life, and recovery. Be patient as you struggle to identify issues and what your part is or was in those issues. Be open to the answers because they will come."

"Once we have worked our way up to Step Ten, we can maintain and increase our self-esteem by regularly working this Step. It incorporates the process we've gone through in Steps Four through Nine. It means we go through this process again, as needed, to keep on track."

"We don't work this Step to punish or demean ourselves. We do it to maintain harmony in our relationships with ourselves and others. We do it to stay on track. We don't project this Step on others: We inventory ourselves - our own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and paths."

"When we get off track, when an issue emerges that we need to address, we now know how. We identify the issue. We talk to someone about it. We're honest, rather than defensive, fearful, or ashamed. WE accept what happened and take responsibility for our part in it. Then we become willing to make any appropriate amends, and we let it go."

"This Step gives me permission to be me and to be imperfect. It gives me permission to love and nurture myself and focus on what's right with my life. It allows me to be a vulnerable human beings. And it has taught me much about forgiving others, too."

"We don't have to be perfect and right. Now we can say, "I was wrong, and I'm sorry. to ourselves as well as to others."

"This Step gives us permission to be honest about who we are. We can deal with things as they come up. Use it regularly to grow and maintain the good feelings we have discovered."

The Source for this Step Ten outline: Melody Beattie's: "Codependents Guide To The Twelve Steps"

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