Step 10 of AA

Step 10 of AA is a daily continuous step alcoholics use in order to keep an ongoing personal inventory to help stay sober.

Step 10

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

Official Readings on Step 10

What is Step 10?

Staying emotionally balanced is a big part of staying sober. That requires a continuous, self-reflective, check on oneself which is the Tenth Step. Whether a person is drinking or not, we all suffer from the emotional hungover, which is the excess of yesterday’s and today’s negative emotion (anger, fear, jealousy, etc.). The only way to get rid of these emotional hangovers is to admit and correct one’s errors now. When inventory is taken and corrected, the past is settled and the future can be met with a clear (peaceful) head.

There are two primary forms of personal inventory that are involved in step 10, which are as follows:

  • Spot-Check Inventory – A developed sense of awareness an alcoholic uses to catch themselves when getting tangled up.
  • Day’s End Inventory – A self-reflection at the end of each day where the alcoholic reviews the good, and what he or she could have done better. The Day’s end inventory should be completed by asking yourself these questions (found on page 86 in the “Big Book”). 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 something 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?

Step 10 AA Worksheet

Step 10 is a reminder that being in recovery is a process of progress, not perfection. This step may come across as being a nuisance and a downer, but it’s necessary as most alcoholics never acquired the habit of self-appraisal. Once practiced enough, one’s habit of self-examination will become immensely valuable, the thought of it once being a nuisance will become almost laughable. A good way to get in the habit of practicing inventory is to use a checklist or worksheet everyday, which is simply a series of questions to ask yourself at day’s end.


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