The last three steps are sometimes referred to as the maintenance steps. The first nine marked the path to recovery. The last three keep you on that path and building distance between the old hurts habits and hang-ups that used to plague your life.
This step tells us to meet life using all the tools we have in our tool chest from the previous nine steps. Our sensitivities are heightened now. The illness from physical addiction has been broken. Our heads are not in the fog all the time. We will know when we are messing up. Instead of denying our actions and problems, we face them. We have learned that our bad choices leave other humans as victims in our wake. We learn to forgive and be forgiven. Instead of just thinking about us, we learn to take responsibility for what we do and make things right with others when we have hurt them with our bad choices.
Serving as the lesson facilitator regarding step 10 in my local Celebrate Recovery, I threw out the notion that thinking of Step 10 as maintenance was a misnomer. If we are being brutally honest, when we are on the road to recovery we find that as we peel away and conquer behaviors that have been so out of control they may have even become addictions, we will continue to see– or be dealt from life—new hurts hang-ups and habits we have to “step through” to overcome.
As any that know CR know, what happens there stays there so I won’t divulge the thoughts of others but this notion came from my own musings—which I give myself permission to share. We all have some guilt of the sin of judgment. I have judged many of the recovered addicts I have personally known to “not get it” regarding the maintenance steps. They have used the first steps to beat their addictive use of their drug of choice and got frozen in their recovery at that point. They still harbor the anger, hurts, blame and insensitivity which they dump all over those around them. Old Time AA people label such as “dry drunks.”
I believe working all twelve steps goes way past controlling addictive chemicals and comes to understand them as a symptom. Some hurt or hang-up was being masked by the addictive chemical. As the fog which addictive behaviors entail clears from our lives, we “can see clearly now” as the old rock song crooned! Our maintenance does not equate to keeping a status quo at this point, it calls for a continual engagement to address and throw off any destructive thought or behavior as soon as we see it on our radar screen! That’s how we “Step” into a recovery we can celebrate!