Okay, step ten, let’s start putting you to some practical use. I need to see how this stuff holds up at game time. It’s all well and good to run through my personal inventory at the end of the day with my head on the pillow. What I need to see now is evidence that it can work in real-time, in the heat of the battle, not just from a distance, long after the fact.

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

When I’m in a situation (that’s what I call interacting with people), I can sometimes feel that what I’m saying, or how I’m behaving, or the vibes I’m putting out there are causing the other people near me to become uneasy. I notice them noticing me. So this is prime Step 10 territory, right? I’ve recognized that my actions or inactions are causing unrest. Do I stop the conversation, hold up my hands and promptly admit my wrong? And just what is my wrong?

That’s easy: my wrong is I’m not happy in my sobriety all the time, and that sometimes the old behaviors come roaring back, even without the benefit of alcohol. Which makes it all the more frustrating.

And it’s generally more an aura of tension that I cast about the room that they react to: my sulking, my agitation. How do I promptly admit that? “Hey, everyone, sorry about being a dick. I’m obsessing over the pointlessness of life again, and how I’m managing to fail at it big time. My bad.”

These are the killers – these unidentifiable moments that I can’t explain or pull myself out of long enough to fix.

So, hear’s what I’m trying to do, emphasis on trying: Break the cycle. I’m horrible at it, and my alcoholism loves to watch me flounder. What needs to happen is exactly what I said earlier in jest: hands up and excuse myself. Try not to get caught up in things. Because when I try to untangle myself without giving myself a minute first, things go bad in a hurry.

Slow down; create a time gap. Go with the second or third or fourth reaction. They can’t possibly be any worse than the first.

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