Daily Inventories / Tenth Steps

The Overeaters Anonymous (OA) version of Step Ten reads, “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” Some people find writing a daily Tenth Step an important part of their recovery practice, as it helps them to take stock of their emotional life and become aware of anything that could trigger a slip or relapse. You can do these short writing exercises at any point in your Step work, even if you haven’t completed any of the Steps! Here are several formats to try.

Download a copy for your journal (pdf) 

Is there a Tenth Step format you like? Share it with us.

In this format, each letter stands for a question for you to answer:

A = Have I been Abstinent today?
E = Have I Exercised today?
I = What have I done for myself today?
O = What have I done for Others today?
U = Am I holding on to Unexpressed emotions today?
Y = Yeah or Yippee! What is something good that’s happened?

Melissa S, of San Francisco, CA, has a busy life so she does this speed round daily inventory where she lists just a few words for each part, and it’s enough to do the job.

  • A name or issue
  • How is it affecting me?
  • What is my part?
  • What might the amending action be? (especially if there’s no apology, how am I going to amend my behavior, or how could I change so this doesn’t happen again, or am I going to “pray” by doing a loving kindness meditation for the person, etc.)

Sample

  • Name: My Partner
  • Effect: Resentment
  • My Part: Didn’t speak up
  • Amends: Speak up now

Spend 10 minutes writing about these four G words:

What went Great today?
What Glitches did I encounter?
What am I Grateful for?
What are my Goals for tomorrow?

1. List 10 things you wish you’d done differently. (These can be little or big.)
2. List 10 things you are grateful for.

1. Was I resentful today?
2. Was I dishonest?
3. Did I promptly admit when I was wrong?
4. Do I owe an apology?
5. Did I do or say something out of fear?
6. Have I kept something to myself that should be discussed with another person at once?
7. Did I think of what I could do for others?
8. Was I kind and loving towards all?
9. Did I reach out to someone in recovery to see how they were doing?
10. Did I take the time to connect with my higher power [or your favorite substitute] through prayer or meditation?

This is a daily action plan.

1. How was the food yesterday and how has it been today?
2. What feels hard for me? Do I have any resentments?
3. What do I need to turn over to the care of the universe so I can get present?
4. When was I wrong?  Did I promptly admit it?  Do I have unfinished business?
5. How have I participated in my own recovery and self-care in the last day?
6. Have I done anything I love or that made me happy recently? 
7. What did I do that took courage?
8.  List 10 things I am most grateful for.

This daily inventory comes from The Alternative 12 Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery (page 93).

Today I will…
Do something for someone else
Do something for myself
Do something I don’t want to do that needs doing
Do some physical exercise
Do something that takes real thinking
Take time for reflection and gratitude

Writing a daily 10th Step is time for reflection.