Addiction Recovery Program - A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing
Step 10: Daily Accountability
KEY PRINCIPLE: Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it.
By the time you come to step 10, you are ready for a new way of living. The first nine steps helped you learn a pattern of life based on spiritual principles. These principles now become the foundation on which you build for the rest of your life.
In taking the first nine steps, you have applied principles of the gospel—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. You have seen miraculous changes in your life. You have experienced love and tolerance, and you have developed a desire for peace. Your desire for your addiction has all but disappeared. When you are tempted, you often find yourself recoiling from your addiction rather than desiring it. You feel humility and awe of what Heavenly Father has done that you could not do alone.
The final three steps will help you maintain your new spiritually minded way of life, so they are often called maintenance steps.
Self-evaluation throughout life is not a new concept. In the Book of Mormon, Alma taught that maintaining a mighty change of heart takes effort. In verse after verse, he indicated that honest, prayerful self-appraisal and immediate repentance must be a continual part of life (see Alma 5:14–30). To retain what you have gained, you must stay in fit spiritual condition. You do this by asking the kind of searching questions that Alma suggested about your feelings, thoughts, motives, and conduct. Through daily self-evaluation, you will keep from slipping into denial and complacency.
As you learned in steps 4 and 5, an inventory that includes only your behaviors is not sufficient to change your heart. You also have to examine your thoughts and feelings. This principle is just as true in step 10. Continue to watch for pride in all its forms, and humbly take your weaknesses to your Heavenly Father, as you learned to do in steps 6 and 7. If you feel worried, selfpitying, troubled, anxious, resentful, carnal minded, or fearful in any way, turn immediately to the Father and allow Him to replace these thoughts with peace.
As you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, you can also discover any negative beliefs you still hold. Ask your Father in Heaven to remove these. In taking step 10, you will no longer have to resort to justifying, rationalizing, or blaming anything or anyone. Your goal will be to keep your heart open and your mind focused on the lessons the Savior has taught.
Most of us follow step 10 by taking inventory each day. As you plan your day, prayerfully examine your motives. Are you doing too much or too little? Are you taking care of your basic spiritual, emotional, and physical needs? Do you serve others?
Ask yourself these and other questions as you seek balance and serenity in your day. As the day unfolds, you can quickly stop negative thoughts or feelings that threaten to overwhelm you. Be especially alert for old behaviors or thinking patterns during highly stressful situations.
Some people think of this type of inventory as a time-out. During this time-out, take a few moments and apply to your immediate situation each principle you have learned in following the steps. You will soon remember how essential it is to rely on the Lord in all your efforts to recover. You can say to yourself in a moment of crisis, “What character weakness in me is being triggered? What have I done to contribute to this problem? Is there anything I can say or do, without pretense, which will lead to a respectful solution for me and the other person? The Lord has all power. I’ll relax and trust Him.”
If you have taken a negative action toward another person, make amends as quickly as possible. Cast aside pride, and remind yourself that sincerely saying “I was wrong” is often just as important in healing a relationship as saying “I love you.”
Before you go to bed, examine your entire day. Ask yourself if you still need to counsel with the Lord about any negative behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. In addition to counseling with the Lord, you can talk to an adviser or a friend in the program, someone you can trust to be objective about your thinking.
You will continue to make mistakes as you interact with others, but a commitment to step 10 is a commitment to take responsibility for mistakes. If you examine your thoughts and actions each day and resolve them, negative thoughts and feelings will not increase until they threaten your abstinence. You no longer have to live in isolation from the Lord or others. You will have strength and faith to face difficulties and overcome them. You can rejoice in your progress and trust that practice and patience will ensure continued recovery.
Participate in priesthood interviews as part of your commitment to self-appraisal; continue to strengthen your relationships with other Church members
We can all remember a time when we were afraid to look honestly at our own behaviors. Trying to avoid such moments was one reason many of us limited our involvement in the Church. However, as we progressed through this program of rigorous honesty, we began to understand the value of self-appraisal.
Now we no longer fear the opportunities for selfappraisal that come through activity in the Church.We are able to appreciate the truth of this teaching of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“Worthiness interviews, sacrament meetings, temple attendance, and other Church meetings are all part of the plan that the Lord provides to educate our souls, to help us develop the healthy habit of constantly checking our bearings to stay on the path of faith. Regular spiritual checkups help us navigate life’s highways and byways. . . .
“. . . We can all . . . benefit by looking deep inside our hearts during reverent moments of worship and prayer and asking ourselves this simple question, ‘Am I true?’
“The question becomes more powerfully useful if we are completely honest with our answers and if it motivates us to make repentant course corrections that keep us on the path of faith” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 20; or Ensign, May 1997, 17).
As you participate in these opportunities for selfevaluation, you will find yourself growing in love for brothers and sisters in the fellowship of the Church.
Examine your thoughts, words, and deeds daily; immediately set right any wrongs
Step 10 represents acceptance of the truth that you must continue to live by spiritual principles. If you stray from them, repent immediately and ask God at once to restore your peace through His Spirit. Honesty and humility can strengthen you. You will become more conscious of Heavenly Father’s presence in your life as you call on Him to help you stay spiritually clean. You will learn to value progress and to forgive imperfection in yourself and others. You will lose the desire to be at odds with anything or anyone. Self-appraisal becomes a way of life as you let go of fears and overcome temptations one day at a time.
Study and Understanding
Study the following scriptures and statements of Church leaders. Use these scriptures, statements, and questions for meditation, study, and writing. Be honest and specific.
Watch your thoughts, words, and deeds
“If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not” (Mosiah 4:30).
It could be dangerous or deadly if you didn’t pay attention to what you were doing while driving a car. How does step 10 help you to stay awake and alert to where you are going in life?
Write about being self-observant. How does self-appraisal help you avoid lapsing again into your addictions (and perishing)?
Humility and self-control
“Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble” (Alma 32:16).
Being willing to eliminate negative thoughts before they erupt into hurtful behavior is a way of humbling yourself without being compelled. Write about your willingness to humble yourself. Experiment for a day with eliminating negative thoughts. What blessings come to you?
Living in the present
“The more enlightened a person is, the more he seeks the gift of repentance, and the harder he strives to free himself from sin as often as he falls short of the divine will. . . . It follows that the sins of the god-fearing and the righteous are continually remitted because they repent and seek the Lord anew every day and every hour” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 3:342–43).
One of the most beneficial effects—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—of living the principles described in these steps is that you learn to live in the present. How does step 10 help you to deal with life one hour at a time when necessary?
How does it help you to know that you only have to live these principles one day at a time?
Continuing repentance and forgiveness
“As oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven” (Moroni 6:8).
Knowing that the Lord is willing to forgive you as often as you repent with real intent can give you courage to try again each time you fall short. Write what you think it means to repent and seek forgiveness with real intent.
Continuing in your spiritual growth
“I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things” (Alma 7:23).
Whoever coined the old saying “Practice makes perfect” didn’t mention how much patience it takes to keep practicing. How does self-appraisal and making amends on a daily basis ensure you will continue in your humility and your spiritual development?
“Behold, in the last days, . . . both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations. . . .
“. . . Behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink” (2 Nephi 27:1, 4).
“When the night came they were drunken with anger, even as a man who is drunken with wine; and they slept again upon their swords” (Ether 15:22).
In these verses, people are described as drunken but not with wine. Recovering addicts often refer to this kind of situation as being on a “dry drunk” or “an emotional bender.” Write about any tendency you might have to hold on to anger or other hurtful emotions.
How does taking an inventory at the end of each day help you overcome this tendency?
“I still feel to urge upon the Latter-day Saints the necessity of a close application of the principles of the Gospel in our lives, conduct and words and all that we do; and it requires the whole man, the whole life to be devoted to improvement in order to come to knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 11).
Taking these steps could definitely be described as a “close application” of gospel principles. How does being willing to evaluate yourself daily at every level—actions, words, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs—help you devote yourself to lifelong improvement?