As outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the personal inventory we continue to take in Step 10 and the conscious contact with a higher power of our understanding we seek to improve in Step 11 go hand in hand. By working these two steps on a daily basis (or as daily as you can), our character defects become the seeds for continuous spiritual awakening.
Step 10 states, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Known as the maintenance step of our 12-step program, the daily inventory of the tenth step can help us see so much about our spiritual journey on a daily basis. We get to see any 9th step direct amends to be made (and to whom such people), where and how our fourth step defects of character showed up, the exact nature of the wrongs in those defects we could turn over in a fifth step (and what we can get ready to ask to be removed in steps 6 and 7), and…you get the idea.
The spot check inventory of Step 10, once it becomes a habit, can be taken anywhere, not necessarily during a nightly inventory. But no matter where and when we are conducting this mini fearless moral inventory, it is important to remember to do so in the loving care of our higher power, and so that’s why we have paired the 10th Step Inventory Worksheet with a Step 11 Daily Prayer List.
Step 11 states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” No matter how well we think we know ourselves from all the inventories and 12-step tools we use on a daily basis, at the end of the day, all that separates us from a drink is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Step 11, the cornerstone of our spiritual program of action, helps get a continuously better idea of who our higher power is, how that power works in our lives, and what that higher power wants us to do–putting into practice the decision we made in Step 3 to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
And so when we take stock of our emotional disturbances and negative feelings in Step 10,
we seek to know God’s will as to what to do with them. The more we practice this, the more we begin to see the result of these steps. What’s wrong today may be the door through which we pass into the best way of living for tomorrow. (Plus, the maintenance of our spiritual condition with these two steps saves us from having to take the 9th step more than necessary!)
To aid in your recovery in this way, we humbly present this adobe reader idiot’s guide to the 10th and 11th Steps. Know that in this very moment, by taking the time to read this and absorb these concepts and take the matter of prayer intently, that you are armoring yourself against the subtle foe that is alcoholism, which lives in our character flaws and feeds on new mistakes. Luckily for us, we have a right way of dealing with this, and we do this together.
10th Step Personal Inventory Worksheet
To cultivate the God-consciousness that begins to naturally arise as we work the 10th step, we employ Step 11 by taking to our higher power in prayer (i.e. talking to God) the following questions and meditating (i.e. listening to God) for their answers. Most 10th Step Worksheets employ the prayers that are found in the section on Step 11 in the Big Book for this reason. Below is a sample worksheet using the prayers from Step 11 to conduct your 10th Step Inventory.
Step 11 Prayers for the end of the day
1. Was I resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid today?
2. Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once?
3. Was I kind and loving toward all?
4. What could I have done better?
5. Was I thinking of myself most of the time or was I thinking of what I could do for others and what I could contribute to the flow of life?
Who or what did I resent today?
When was I selfish?
When was I dishonest?
When was I afraid?
When I refused to take out the trash
I told Clara it was okay that she canceled, even though I was disappointed
When I thought about how I was going to make money at the end of June
What I am withholding?
Times I was loving
and kind toward
Times I was not
loving and kind
What could I have
That I feel scared and ashamed about my finances
When I picked up the phone and talked with Joe while he was upset
When I snapped at
my partner for asking me to take out the trash
reacting about the
When was I thinking
of myself and what I
How did that feel?
Times I was not
When was I thinking
of others and
When I thought of
how my partner was
wasting my time and interrupting me frommy tasks
When I imagined
arriving at the
meeting early to set
up the coffee
Reluctant but easy
While we take our 10th step inventory, it is important to remember we do so in conversation with our higher power who loves us. Step 11 is about our relationship with our higher power, not punishment. Intimacy is being known by someone by sharing everything. This is what we do when we pray and meditate with our higher power about our thoughts, feelings, decisions, and behavior. After we make this “review” we ask for God’s forgiveness and accept it, because that deepens our relationship and our humility. Because our higher power is with us throughout the day and not just during our tenth step inventory, the other part of Step 11 is how we begin our days.
Step 11 Prayers to be prayed upon awakening
1. God, direct my thinking as I plan my next 24 hours. Let my thinking be divorced from self-pity, dishonest, or self-seeking motives.
2. (When indecision is encountered) God, grant me inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision.
3. God, please show me throughout the day what my next step is to be. Give me whatever I need to take care of such problems.
4. God, please free me from self-will and help me to want only what will also help others.
After we open our day with these prayers, it is important to relax, take it easy, and let God lead the way. We can use Step 11 for solitary prayer or engage in conversations about our spirituality with others, or pray and meditate with others. And variety is good with Step 11. We use spiritual tools to help keep the relationship with our higher power fresh. We use different names for God at different times. But most importantly, like we learned in step 10, we made it a practice, i.e. we did it daily or as consistently as we could. “Thy will be done” led our journey through the discoveries in this step. And, we will add, even if it seems paradoxical, they will be fun the more we come to rely upon our daily conversations with our higher power. The negative feelings of the past held less power over us and we began to see the 9th step promises come true as self-seeking slipped away.
We hope you will trudge this road of happy destiny with us, and this humble worksheet might help you organize your thoughts on how to do it.