Step Ten – “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong
promptly admitted it.”
Morning Prayer for this Second Sunday after Christmas can be found here.
Clothe yourselves with humility
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. (Col. 3:12-14)
In yesterday’s post on Step Nine I ran a little bit ahead of myself (a common symptom of addictive behavior) when I anticipated the focus of today’s Step Ten.
When we approach Step Ten we commence to put our A.A. way of living to practical use, day by day, in fair weather or foul. Then comes the acid test: can we stay sober, keep in emotional balance, and live to good purpose under all conditions? (88)
The habit of daily self-examination is one that dovetails nicely with the Daily Office, and this Step in particular has helped me appreciate the connection between recovery practices and the religious traditions I have known my whole life.
Confession of Sin
You’ll notice that the service of Morning Prayer that I linked to above does not include a Confession of Sin.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen. (BCP 78)
My knowledge of liturgical history helps me understand that the Confession of Sin is optional in the Daily Office; it can be omitted, for example, during festive seasons like Christmas.
However, my practice of Step Ten has taught me that the Confession is not optional; it’s the daily self-examination that helps keep me on the road of recovery.
The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes.
… in thought, word, and deed …
… by what we have done …
… and by what we have left undone …
… we are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
We need not be discouraged
What I have enjoyed learning as I practice recovery is how much the basic spiritual wisdom is the same.
In all these situations we need self-restraint, honest analysis of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere. We need not be discouraged when we fall into the error of our old ways, for these disciplines are not easy. We shall look for progress, not for perfection. (91)
Daily we confess our sins, daily we resolve to do better, daily we admit that we cannot do it alone.
Daily we praise God and give thanks that we don’t have to.
Collect of the Day
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, you Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 214)