Step 10 of the A.A. program is:
“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
For me, taking personal inventory is all about being honest with myself. Early in my drinking and drugging days, I learned to lie really well, and lie about more and more. My life became such a complex web of lies that I found it hard to remember what was the truth. I began to wear a mask in more and more situations, hiding myself from others and from myself too.
Yes, some of the lies were for my personal safety, but lots of them were to hide the truth from people: my parents, my co-workers, even some of my friends and partners. If I didn’t admit how much I drank – except to other users who would applaud how much I could handle my booze or drugs, then it wasn’t a problem, right? If the people who cared about me didn’t know I spent most of my non-school, non-working hours drinking or toking, it was okay, right? Oh, the lies I told myself …
Then I started to get sober and work the A.A. program. It was like peeling away the layers of lies to find the core, the truth, my centre. To get to know myself again, as hard as it was and as shaky as I was in those early days of sobriety. What a blessing!
The second part of this Step is to admit when we are wrong. I have found saying sorry to be very powerful, when genuinely meant. To be able to see how my actions – what I said, what I did, and sometimes what I didn’t do – hurt someone else has become very important to living the intentional life I try to lead. To acknowledge to the other person that my action or inaction hurt them deepens those relationships, makes them more authentic. We all make mistakes, even if unintentionally. I have found that it is very genuine and freeing to be able to admit I have done something wrong, to say I am sorry and, by doing so, move the relationship forward.
The gentle power of saying I am sorry is part of the glue that holds my loving life partnership together and strong, that brings joy to my relationship with my daughter, that enriches my friendships, and that is a foundation of my professional and volunteer life. So much gratitude!