The 12 Step Program: Step 10

You’ve reached the tail-end of the 12-Step to recovery program. That, in itself, is a big accomplishment and should not go unnoticed. Celebrate your wins today, especially after the heaviness that you faced during step nine. Take a deep breath and realize that you’ve just completed one of the hardest steps of them all… successfully. Making amends for things we’ve done to others in the past, due to our addiction, is hard for anyone to do, but here you are! You have cleaned your slate with negative circumstances from the past. Moving on to Step 10, you will continue to take, “a personal inventory of your wrongs and admit them promptly.” 

From step one until now, you’ve come such a long way with personal growth, allowing yourself to face your mistakes and shortcomings head-on, addressing them from start to finish. Step 10 is very much in line with this idea, allowing you to admit your wrongdoings whenever they occur in your recovery journey to clear them from your path completely so that you may continue to move forward with strength, courage, and sobriety.

What does Step 10 accomplish?


Step 10 continues with the goal of personal accountability. The biggest lesson, outside of long-term sobriety, in the 12-step recovery program, is teaching everyone how to be and stay accountable over your life and the actions that you take, both good and bad. No one is perfect, before or after recovery, so understanding how to manage your emotions and actions is vital to your personal growth and recovery journey. This step is more than just taking accountability for physical actions, and too, focuses on emotional and mental triggers that may arise throughout your long-term recovery. Reducing emotional triggers and mastering healthy coping mechanisms is key during Step 10. 


What are some tips to handle Step 10 effectively?


  1.     Admit when you’ve been out of line. Owning up to our wrongdoings promptly allows us to nip them in the bud before they balloon into a bigger and more complicated issue for ourselves or others. Talk through it with those involved with positive and open communication.
  2.     Think before you speak. Words can be empowering or detrimental based on how they are used. When talking to others, think about the words you use to have difficult conversations before you begin. Empathy is a wonderful trait to have when working to create healthy relationships with others. Choose kindness in your words, over hurtful and negative choices. 
  3.     Take a personal inventory often. Self-reflection is an essential element to self-growth and personal fulfillment. Take, and schedule, time each day to reflect upon your words and actions from the day prior. Understanding where you’ve done well and areas that need improvement allows you to grow in a healthy manner. Remember that we are apt to make mistakes as humans, so don’t set yourself up to achieve impossible standards. Allow yourself grace to grow and learn through each interaction. 
  4.     Don’t forget about yourself. We can give out all the love, grace, compassion and empathy we want to others, but if we neglect to give ourselves the same we miss out on a great opportunity to care for ourselves. Self-care is an important facet of your recovery journey, so reflect on how well you are treating yourself daily and make changes, as needed, to your self-care routine. 


If you had to describe Step 10 in one word what would it be?


Responsibility. Up until this point we’ve asked others to help us with our personal inventory listings. We’ve used those lists to make amends with others from the past that we harmed, but now it has become our sole responsibility to care for our inventory bank. We must use the coping mechanisms, healthy self-talk and positive affirmations to push through times that are less than ideal for us based on circumstances we may have caused for ourselves or others. Understanding how to outweigh all of the good experiences from the bad, on this journey, is fully up to us. We are responsible for our long-term recovery and the personal accountability it requires of us.


Taking a personal inventory of your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions is key to a prosperous long-term recovery journey. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with maintaining personal accountability or still battling through the throes of addiction, contact us for help today.