KEY PRINCIPLE: Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it. By the time you come to step 10, you are ready for a new way of living. The first nine steps helped you learn a pattern of life based on spiritual principles. These principles now become the foundation on which you build for the rest of your life. In taking the first nine steps, you have applied principles of the gospel—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. You have seen miraculous changes in your life. You have experienced love and tolerance, and you have developed a desire for peace. Your desire for your addiction has all but disappeared. When you are tempted, you often find yourself recoiling from your addiction rather than desiring it. You feel humility and awe of what Heavenly Father has done that you could not do alone. The final three steps will help you maintain your new spiritually minded way of life, so they are often called maintenance steps. Self-evaluation throughout life is not a new concept. In the Book of Mormon, Alma taught that maintaining a mighty change of heart takes effort. In verse after verse, he indicated that honest, prayerful self-appraisal and immediate repentance must be a continual part of life (see Alma 5:14–30). To retain what you have gained, you must stay in fit spiritual condition. You do this by asking the kind of searching questions that Alma suggested about your feelings, thoughts, motives, and conduct. Through daily self-evaluation, you will keep from slipping into denial and complacency. As you learned in steps 4 and 5, an inventory that includes only your behaviors is not sufficient to change your heart. You also have to examine your thoughts and feelings. This principle is just as true in step 10. Con- tinue to watch for pride in all its forms, and humbly take your weaknesses to your Heavenly Father, as you learned to do in steps 6 and 7. If you feel worried, selfpitying, troubled, anxious, resentful, carnal minded, or fearful in any way, turn immediately to the Father and allow Him to replace these thoughts with peace.
As you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, you can also discover any negative beliefs you still hold. Ask your Father in Heaven to remove these. In taking step 10, you will no longer have to resort to justifying, rationalizing, or blaming anything or anyone. Your goal will be to keep your heart open and your mind focused on the lessons the Savior has taught. Most of us follow step 10 by taking inventory each day. As you plan your day, prayerfully examine your motives. Are you doing too much or too little? Are you taking care of your basic spiritual, emotional, and physi- cal needs? Do you serve others? Ask yourself these and other questions as you seek balance and serenity in your day. As the day unfolds, you can quickly stop negative thoughts or feelings that threaten to overwhelm you. Be especially alert for old behaviors or thinking patterns during highly stressful situations. Some people think of this type of inventory as a time-out. During this time-out, take a few moments and apply to your immediate situation each principle you have learned in following the steps. You will soon remember how essential it is to rely on the Lord in all your efforts to recover. You can say to yourself in a moment of crisis, “What character weakness in me is being triggered? What have I done to contribute to this problem? Is there anything I can say or do, without pretense, which will lead to a respectful solution for me and the other person? The Lord has all power. I’ll relax and trust Him.” If you have taken a negative action toward another person, make amends as quickly as possible. Cast aside pride, and remind yourself that sincerely saying “I was wrong” is often just as important in healing a relation- ship as saying “I love you.” Before you go to bed, examine your entire day. Ask yourself if you still need to counsel with the Lord about any negative behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. In addition to counseling with the Lord, you can talk to an adviser or a friend in the program, someone you can trust to be objective about your thinking. You will continue to make mistakes as you interact with others, but a commitment to step 10 is a commit- ment to take responsibility for mistakes.