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An Excerpt from Chapter 7: How Step Ten Works

The promises articulated on pages 83 and 84 of the Big Book “will always materialize if we work for them” (italics added). The initial work is Step Ten. The continued work is to improve and enlarge our consciousness through our practice of Steps Eleven and Twelve, respectively. The work of these three steps Bill W. calls “our way of living.”

We have walked the path of the “destruction of self-centeredness”: Steps One through Nine. As we’re cleaning up the past, doing Step Nine, we are to grow “in understanding” (through meditation and prayer) “and effectiveness” (through consistent practice of principles). Now we have turned, have been turned, “. . . in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all” (Big Book, page 14). We have emerged from the world of self, and we have entered the world of Spirit.

And we can continue to address these disturbances “when they crop up” (page 84). When, not if! So we continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

These are the major components of the original problems examined in the Step Four inventory. So we apply the remedy, the solution we applied in Steps Five through Nine:

  1. “We ask God at once to remove them”: Prayer . . . because we have experienced that we are powerless— Steps Six/ Seven: “My Creator . . . .”
  2. “We discuss them with someone immediately”: Confession . . . because we’re human and want to hold ourselves accountable— Step Five: No secrets.
  3. “Make amends quickly . . .”: Love and tolerance becomes our code . . . because our intention is to be a healthy human being living in harmony in a community of human beings— Steps Eight/ Nine: Forgiveness.
  4. “We resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help” . . . because the ultimate remedy for our self- centeredness is the “turning” to be other-centered— Step Twelve: Service.

The Twelve and Twelve describes this formula as the Step Ten inventory process to be used on the spot:

  • to take “a continuous look at our assets and liabilities”
  • “to keep in emotional balance”
  • “to learn and grow”
  • to create “a habit of self-searching, accurate self-appraisal, unsparing self-survey”
  • to admit and accept the truth
  • to correct what is wrong, to rebalance those excesses of negative emotions
  • to live serenely We have recovered, as the Big Book suggests (pages 84– 85).

PART ONE                    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 two 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?