This week's "Here's To Your Health" completes Step Ten, "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." In his book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Bill Wilson finished his Step Ten discussion with: We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underline the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living. An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow, will be the permanent assets we shall seek.
Having so considered our day, not omitting to take due note of things well done, and having searched our hearts with neither fear nor favor, we can truly thank God for the blessings we have received and sleep in good conscience. On page 84-85 (Third Edition), of his book Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson said about Step Ten: We have entered the world of the spirit. This is not an overnight matter, it should continue for our lifetime. It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee-Thy will (not mine) be done." These are the thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish because it's the proper use of our will.
Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions in Steps One through Ten, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action...It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.
I never understood the Tenth Step's spiritual axiom until I had this experience. I was sitting in my bedroom, reading into the wee hours, when suddenly I heard my dogs barking in the back yard. My neighbors frown on this kind of disturbance so, with mixed feelings of anger and shame, as well as fear of my neighbors' disapproval; I immediately called in my dogs. Several weeks later the exact situation repeated itself but this time, because I was feeling more at peace with myself, I was able to accept the situation—dogs will bark—and I calmly called in the dogs. Both incidents taught me that when a person experiences nearly identical events and reacts two different ways, then it is not the event which is of prime importance, but the person's spiritual condition. Feelings come from inside, not from outward circumstances. When my spiritual condition is positive, I react positively. Next week's HTYH will begin a discussion about Step Eleven.