Step 10 – Jon's Experience
I happened to be on my knees that morning staring down rather gratefully at a half-filled sheet of A4 paper. Five minutes beforehand I had been talking myself out of taking inventory; the sun had been shining, the many activities of the day were calling and the little annoyances of the previous day could be easily suppressed – if, in fact, they even required suppressing. Thank God for good habits! It’s quite simple: I am in the habit of writing down resentments; of not squandering the hours that might be have been worthwhile by failing to deal with them. The amazing thing, though, is that there are still times when this process is not automatic. In microcosm it’s similar to the decision newcomers have to make between accepting spiritual help and carrying on to the bitter end, i.e. to keep on drinking. What I mean is that, for a moment or longer, my mind tries to trick me into not bothering with the spiritual help and I wonder whether writing down this stuff is really necessary.
I’m fortunate, too, in having a low pain threshold. For example, I went to bed the other day without dealing with a resentment that clearly needed writing down; I haven’t had such a restless night in ages! Can I live very long like this? I don’t know – how long is a piece of string? To me, picking up resentments is like loading a shotgun and parading it around with the safety catch in the off position. Things might be alright for a while, perhaps even for ages. Actually, the shotgun analogy is not a good one; while the shotgun might or might not go off, and I might or might not be in the line of fire when it does, harbouring resentments will definitely, definitely lead to a drink. That’s a fact.
So, back to this other fact: that taking inventory is not always ‘automatic’. Bizarre, isn’t it? Well, no, not really – it’s alcoholism. What is my line of defence against me in this kind of situation? You guessed it, get into good habits. Write down resentments that need writing down. If in doubt, write it down. It’s only when I write it down that I see what the causes of my discomfort really are. This process paves the way for taking other actions suggested in the Big Book; things like asking God to save me from being angry and calling newcomers. For me, though, I don’t start unloading the shotgun until I write it down.
Jon F – Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth