An Excerpt from Chapter 7: Emotional Sobriety through Step Ten
Inventory Meditation at Night
The Twelve and Twelve’s Step Ten chapter suggests an evening inventory where we “draw a balance sheet,” noting
- our honest regret for harms done.
- our genuine gratitude for blessings received.
- our willingness to try for better things.
The Big Book is clear: Step Ten is used during the day as an intervention and correction to our cycle of disturbances— on the spot. The Twelve and Twelve makes clear that inventory and meditation go hand-in-glove. Inventory removes the clouds that block the Sunlight of the Spirit in us, to us, and then through us to others. We are built to be a channel of Light. In Step Ten, we remove the obstacles in our channel. In Step Eleven, we fill our channel with Light. In Step Twelve, we work to have the Light in us seep out to our community.
Step Ten is the inventory we do on the spot during our waking moments during our working day.
The Big Book’s Step Eleven discussion contains suggestions for inventory “when we retire at night”— perhaps acknowledging that during the day we are not always awake to being disturbed. Actually, we are asleep dreaming that we are awake. Or we are so disturbed that we are in a “white out”— incapable of any self- reflection, held hostage by our emotions of the day.
When we take a little time in the evening, after the day’s hustle-bustle has quieted down, especially within ourselves, we are able to discern unhealthy moments during the day. These become grist for the mill of the next morning’s meditation, listening for guidance and then planning for the day: What will I do, and who am I invited to be today?
Step Ten is the spiritual technology that provides emotional sobriety; this in turn enables us to improve and enlarge our spiritual sobriety: Steps Eleven and Twelve, respectively.
Step Twelve’s importance is obvious. The bulk of the Big Book addresses Step Twelve and how the Twelve Step process manifests: living our life based on spiritual, universal principles; carrying the message of the promise of an awakening. There is the hope of freedom both from our addiction and also from our anxiety.
The problems of both halves of Step One have been addressed. In other words, we are promised the power to live an integrated and authentic personal life that gives us: purpose, meaning, context, and value.
This is a very hope-filled “Vision for Me.”
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 four 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?