Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
This was a new habit pattern for me in two ways: I had to admit that I was wrong, and according to this step, I had to do it "promptly". I really didn't like admitting any wrongs at all, but if I wanted to become a better person, I had no choice. I didn't want to go back to where I had been, I wanted a better place. So, I had to order humble pie with almost every meal, every snack that I ate.
I have learned that humble pie can be tolerated, and that it is very good for my soul! I have not yet acquired a taste for it, but at least I no longer choke on it as badly as it goes down!
My natural reaction to being . . . wrong, is to explain why it is not my fault for having done something . . . stupid. Yet, to get defensive, to defend myself, or to make excuses for myself is to stay self-centered. Staying self-centered is what gets me, and most of the people reading this, in trouble, in bondage to the dependency.
If we keep on doing what we have been doing, we are going to stay in the same place, on the same road, to the same destination.
We have a choice to do something different, which puts us on another path, which takes us somewhere else.
Natural reactions are not the best, they are only the initial ones from which we must grow in order to be of greater value to the people around us.
"Taking personal inventory" means to take a few minutes every day to check our progress against our goal. Planes that navigate the skies are always "checking their position" to help get where they want to go. Ships at sea do the same. We need to stop, take a quiet moment or two or three or ten or twenty, and think about how we are doing, how we have reacted, and if we need more fine-tuning. We also need to praise progress and be grateful for every step in the right direction.
"and when we were wrong" means that there's no question about "if", but "when". You will be wrong from time to time, it is part of the human condition! You will NEVER become always right, neither will I! We will always continue to make mistakes, to stumble and to backslide to a degree. The key is not to never err again, the key is to recover better.
One step towards "recovering better" is to "promptly admit" the error. The longer we hide something the more it tears up apart. The sooner we admit the wrong and ask forgiveness from the one we have wronged, and the sooner we can accept forgiveness from our Higher Power, the sooner we can move on in life.
You never stop doing step 10, it is part of the rest of your life. Well, maybe some of you plan on no longer making mistakes, so you won't have to do this step too long. As for me, I believe that I am stuck with this one, as I am too human to not need it!
I have to get used to it!
Also, there is a flip-side to this step. If I am in need of constant fine-tuning, then so are others around me. If I give myself permission to make mistakes, and then to do my best to correct those, I need to give other people the same permission. Once I took this step to heart, I acquired a new ability: I started to learn how to forgive others, sincerely.
I needed to learn to forgive, I needed to forgive, and boy, is life better now that it ever has been!
* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.
The complete Serenity Prayer is also available on this website.