There’s a giant unspoken part to Step Ten that trips me up, but good: knowing when I’m wrong. I’m not talking about the obvious wrongs, the “I’ll write you a check for that” wrongs. I’m talking about the cool distance I give someone because my alcoholism has been playing monkeymind with the perceived state of our relationship. They should have known… why isn’t this… does anyone do what… it’s all unfair and against me. These are base thoughts that come from base feelings; ones I’m giving far too much leash.

 Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

I’m serious. I’m pulling this two apart.

When we were wrong promptly admitted it. I’ve always seen this part of the step from one side: mine. When I was wrong, apologies were involved. That’s as far as I ever took it. But there’s a whole world of wrongness that I’ve been ignoring. The wrongness that sits between my ears. The thoughts and beliefs that don’t necessarily lead to actions for which I’m reprimanded, or require penance.

Anything can be set in concrete. However, just because it’s solid and heavy doesn’t mean it’s truth. Once I start making foundations out of concrete character defects, trouble is sure to follow. Because my made-up world, the one with scary people with hidden agendas, doesn’t match up with what’s really going on in life. When those two things come into conflict, as they always do, I’ve got to explain “what I was thinking”, and normally I can’t.

Because I wasn’t thinking. I was feeling. I can’t promptly admit a wrong feeling, because I’m wired to believe all my feelings are true, no matter how asinine or hurtful or destructive or depressive they are. Just try picking up a piece of that concrete. Pretty heavy, right? So how can that be a falsehood? It’s too heavy to be untrue.

To be free of these horrors: blast down to the bedrock on what I’m holding onto, cut whatever it’s chained to, and let it go. It probably won’t rise up and float away, but at least it’s no longer around my ankle.

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