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An Excerpt from Chapter 7

STEP TEN IS A TOOL that captures and releases the transformative power of Steps One through Nine for the continued “deflation of ego at depth.” The fact is, we never transcend our basic humanity: we are finite body, mind, and will: all functions that regularly misfire.

Step Ten is the tool that keeps open the gate to the world of Spirit, the instrument through which we establish and foster emotional sobriety.

The Twelve and Twelve (page 90) suggests a spiritual axiom: “Whenever I’m disturbed there is something wrong with me.” It further explains that Step Ten is a “spot-check” inventory. That is, on the spot, at the very moment of our “disturbance,” we pause, taking responsibility for that disturbance. We apply the Step Ten formula immediately— not in writing, not at night. We are to address the disturbance right now as a method of dealing with this very moment’s disturbance. Our body’s survival instinct is to react, generating emotions. These feelings direct our attention and behavior toward what we feel, at that time, is in our best interest. Our mind’s function is to receive all this data, to think, perceive, and know (intuit) what’s truly best for us in that moment.

The mind’s problem is that it is a lens formed by our biology, psychology, social framework, and experiences. It sees reality as we are, not as reality objectively is. Our will— that function in us that makes us uniquely human— relies on our instincts, our feelings, and our intuitions to make its choice for action. If any of these prior functions go awry, we will make unhealthy choices and therefore take unhealthy actions.

Step Ten is our spiritual instrument of intervention, for recalibration of our various systems for surviving and flourishing.


PART TWO                    PART THREE                    PART FOUR                    PART FIVE

Herb K.

Herb K. was given the gift of freedom from alcohol February 21, 1984. As a result of the application of the Twelve Steps as contained precisely in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, he experienced a profound spiritual awakening in 1988. Since then he has been very involved in carrying the message of recovery through presentations, facilitating workshops, and leading retreats.

He has authored three books to help people access the instructions and confirm the actual process contained in the Big Book for experiencing a spiritual awakening: Practicing the Here and Now: Being Intentional with Step 11 (2017), Twelve-Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (2004) and Twelve Steps to Spiritual Awakening: Enlightenment for Everyone (2010). His books are available on Amazon and other locations.

This is part one of a special five part blog series on HerbK.com to help those preparing for an Emotional Sobriety workshop reflect and meditate. It is an excerpt from Practicing the Here and Now: Being Intentional with Step 11.  Specifically it is Chapter 7,  “We Continue Awakening by Dealing with Internal Disturbances.”

Allen Berger, PhD and Herb K. have been hosting workshops as more people recognize the importance of Emotional Sobriety, especially in long-term recovery.  Bill W. first coined the term in a letter written and then published in AA Grapevine in 1958 (see The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety for more background.)

In addition to workshops and retreats on the topic of Emotional Sobriety, Allen Berger and Herb K. have founded the Institute for Optimal Recovery and you can find resources, events updates and more on the Facebook page OPTIMAL RECOVERY.


“We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.”

— BIG BOOK, page 84

Keep these questions in mind

  • Am I aware of my tendency to fall asleep, unintentionally unconscious?
  • Am I committed to a daily practice to stay awake, intentionally conscious?
  • Am I willing to work at keeping my channel clear to enable – a vital prayer and meditation practice? – a life of compassionate service based on universal principles?
  • Am I willing to have a guide or teacher?
  • Am I willing to be accountable for my daily inventory practice and my daily behavior?