Are you ready to find out about AA Step 10 here with me, Jerry Banfield, an alcoholic? AA Step 10 is about continuing to take personal inventory and when we are wrong we promptly admit it.
The main idea with this step is to look at what we’re doing in the present moment, how we’re feeling and pay attention instead of waiting years to apologize.
We have to try, do a better job and make adjustments. We get that amount of time it takes when we do something that hurts somebody or leaves us not feeling good. We get the amount of time that takes ideally down to a few seconds, maybe not even at all.
Initially, once we learn how to do this or remember how to do it, it can take us a while. We can be nasty, rude and not realize what we’ve done for often a long time, especially when we’re drinking.
However, with AA Step 10, we’ve started working on the process we’ve learned in the first 9 steps. We start working that fast, consistently and speed it up. For example, when I say something rude to my wife, I often am able to rectify the situation by admitting what I did and going through the whole process.
Sometimes in a few seconds or a few minutes and almost always now in a few hours instead of taking days due to AA Step 10. Sometimes things are not being said and not even being identified for weeks, months or years building hurts.
What we do in AA Step 10 is ideally we’re on a constant inventory basis. We’re always paying attention to what we’re doing with some kind of almost third-party like “This body is a little disturbed right now. What’s going on? Are we experiencing some fear? What did we just say? What happened? How may we help someone?”
Well, the big book suggests doing this at night. However, I’m not willing to wait at night to take my inventory for the whole day. I’m constantly looking at, you know, how my day is going, how am I helping people and is there anything that’s good or bad going on that I need to look at?
This helps me to be in a state that is in good connection with others where I’m not disturbed on a regular basis and that makes staying sober very easy because when I’m disturbed, a drink is much more attractive.
With AA Step 10, we are able to run a life that’s clear where we are free and clear. It says in a big book somewhere that God doesn’t render us and keeps us white as snow without our cooperation.
AA Step 10 is the key to being kept white as snow. We see when anything has blackened our soul or our spirit, we immediately get into it. We immediately asked for help. Sometimes I can’t just meditate or read a book and immediately feel better.
Sometimes what I need to do is call someone and talk to my sponsor. Sometimes I need to call and talk to a bunch of people, go to a meeting, exercise or do several things before I calm down.
I also have a hypnotherapist that has helped train me in some methods to just be in the body, relax and practice. Basically, she is guiding me into a relaxing meditation on myself and this way when I’m disturbed, I generally drop what I’m doing and get right.
If I’m in pain and I’m all frustrated, for example, I was just taking my children to the store a little while ago and in taking my children to the store, I got a little off-center where I was starting to have thoughts of yelling at them and getting upset and for me thinking about something like that is the beginning of it happening.
I don’t even like to have those thoughts because if I’m not having those thoughts, it won’t happen and I feel that the true person I am does not get upset, yell, scream, rant, rave and get crazy with people.
That doesn’t feel like me. It feels like something or someone else. Therefore, I prayed. I took some deep breaths. Just taking a deep breath is one of the easiest ways when I detect that I’m disturbed to just resent and to get in the body.
When I do a prayer or a meditation, I just say, Thank you, God, for this trip to the store with my children. Thank you for the chance to spend time with them today and usually just a few minutes of that re-center me and that’s what I did.
I’m at the store and I also talked to the cashier about it. I’ve seen the cashier several times and I talked to the cashier about it and sometimes just speaking how I’m feeling helps me to do a very effective AA Step 10 and allows me to change how I’m feeling.
For example, I told the cashier I’m so annoyed right now. I spent an hour in a store with my children. My daughter is running around. She got knocked over running into somebody and like the constant negotiation with my 4-year-old daughter and my 1-year-old son and trying to go buy groceries.
I ended up feeling annoyed and off-center. Often just confessing saying I’m feeling a bit annoyed right now allows me to work past that because I’m saying it with the intention that I don’t want to keep feeling that way.
That’s me taking AA Step 10 in kind of real-time and it helps when people around you know that. I say, “Oh, I’m feeling a little annoyed right now taking my kids to the store”. The cashier then gives me a different point of view and she tells me how she’s feeling and then suddenly I don’t just feel all alone anymore.
John: Is it good to start drinking alcohol occasionally if we never drink?
My personal opinion is it’s better to do without. I haven’t done lots of drugs and I think it’s better to do without anything that we put in our bodies like alcohol and drugs.
These things are generally poisons to the body. The body is intended to run without these things and the worst part is if you have to have a drink every day, that’s alcoholic drinking.
It may not be a severe case of alcoholic drinking just like some cancers aren’t severe. It’s not going to kill you. It just might be a little ugly bump somewhere. Wayne Dyer was talking about how he had to have 3 drinks a day and that’s all he did but he had to have those 3 drinks every single day.
He realized that it was alcoholic drinking if you couldn’t do without it. So, to me, this wisest thing to do is just not even play with it. Don’t even have that first drink and the big benefit of that is if you don’t poison yourself or obscure how you’re feeling with things like alcohol or drugs, you’re free to really examine how you’re feeling and reach your full potential.
There’s a spiritual master in India who suggested that we will not reach our maximum potential as long as we are using alcohol and drugs and I’m very interested in living life to the fullest.
I love being sober today and the key with AA Step 10 is that I’m not obscured from identifying what’s going on. If I’m drinking, I can’t accurately guess how I’m feeling or how I’m doing. If I’m taking medications, I don’t even take over-the-counter things like Advil anymore.
I just feel the pain because I want to feel how it feels. Now that’s not that I’m completely against it in every single situation, for example, if there was a traumatic injury, I’m not saying I would say no to any kind of help with that.
That said, on a daily basis, I avoid anything that alters my state of mind which requires drinking or ingesting it.
John: When was the last time you drank?
Last I drank was in April 2014. Before that I tried to get sober a lot of different times and I consistently changed my mind. I consistently thought I changed my mind and went back to drinking when I really had a sober life that I didn’t know what to do without alcohol.
Cindy: If you have to take one minute at a time then take one minute at a time.
Yes, my sponsor just called me and said his blood pressure is really high. His heart’s beating weird and he’s afraid of passing on and he’s a man that’s just centered on me a lot. It inspired me to go out there and carry a message because you never know how much time you have left.
What I like about AA Step 10 is that for him, he’s feeling afraid. He is afraid of dying and he talked to me about it right away. As the sponsee, I call him every day and to me, AA Step 10 is just expressing and sharing your life with people, especially when things are scaring you or things are difficult or things are great.
Sponsors and accountability partners helped a bunch not just in AA Step 10 but across life. In anything you want to learn, it can help to have a mentor to learn it faster.
Richard: If you can drink like a gentleman, hats off to you.
It seems to me that alcohol is not a natural part of human life. It is one that we’ve created and advertised to make big profits off of. Therefore, there are a lot of advertising messages that tell us drinking enhances our lives but from what I see, drinking does not enhance our lives at all.
In fact and from what I can see, it’s one of the biggest causes like we are so intolerant and upset at certain ways that people die and yet there are people drinking, driving and murdering people every day all over the country.
Well, that’s you know, that’s acceptable. It’s okay to advertise alcohol and then people get in the car and murder people just as dead as if it happens another way. To me, we’d all be much better off without any alcohol or drugs so that we could accurately look at how we’re feeling.
There are degrees of addiction and I’m grateful that I was able to pray desperately and keep coming back to Alcoholics Anonymous at the point I did because I couldn’t handle any greater form of addiction than I didn’t drink alcoholically every single day but my thinking was alcoholic every single day and it still is.
If I stop going to AA meetings, if I stop doing what I do, reading the book, having a sponsor, if I stop doing that stuff, I’m surrounded in a culture where the predominant opinion is positive about alcohol.
It’s only a matter of time if I get away from something like AA to get back into that.
Zach: Any advice for someone just starting on the road to sobriety?
Yes, find a sponsor or accountability partner and I personally go to AA meetings every day.
Having a sponsor go to AA meetings every day, the 2 of those are extremely powerful on a consistent basis. That’s my number one suggestion and the first thing I did right in a way was make a habit of going to AA meetings.
I could see that just going and attending meetings was not going to keep me sober that if I wanted to stay sober, I would need to do AA meetings on a daily basis at least 5 days a week on average. If I miss some days then I go every day is what I generally do.
I could see that I was not going to stay sober, just going to meetings. I needed a sponsor. I needed to read the book and I needed to put it into practice all day every day.
I do live streams with the imagination that I’m catching someone at the right time in early sobriety or thinking about getting sober or who’s already sober and just maybe hadn’t been to a meeting or needed a little boost that day.
It can be a bit uncomfortable to get up here. I thought about that beforehand and I was starting to think, “Oh, does anyone really need AA Step 10 or does this really matter?” and the thought that got me out there was to get out there and carry the message. You never know who you might be able to help.
Asda: Do you use any type of drugs?
I do not. I don’t even take any supplements. I just drink water. I don’t even drink tea or coffee. If you hung out with me on a daily basis, you might think I was incredibly boring.
I eat whole vegan plants. I eat foods that generally aren’t cooked or I put things in a juicer. I mean my life is pretty regimented and focused on taking care of myself and this makes it if anything comes up in AA Step 10 and if I detect a problem, it’s very easy to focus down on it.
What I found is when I was drinking tea or caffeine and then taking things like Advil whenever I had a little tiny pain and then I’m eating a whole bunch of foods all the time without paying attention to the ingredients, it was possible for me to get disturbed, depressed, upset, and frustrated without any idea how it happened.
Today, I take such good care of myself that if I’m a little bit disturbed, it’s really easy to spot what’s going on and correct it.
If you’re not an alcoholic, having any kind of fellowship can make a big difference in your life. I talked to my wife. I tried to get her to go to Al-Anon and she helped me see that clearly whatever she does works really well for her because she’s been with me when we first got together.
I tried to minimize my drinking and then it got really bad when my dad died. I went to AA and early sobriety, she said, was tougher than me drinking and now she’s with me sober. Clearly, whatever she does works for her and what she does is that she spends time with her family.
She’s got a strong family that she talks to about everything. She has a community of friends that she sees on a consistent basis and she participates in online groups where she contributes and helps out there.
She spends a lot of time with our children. She raises them full-time. She does work. I mean, she has a very balanced life. Whatever she does works for her really well. I don’t have any family around here so AA helps me a lot because I don’t have any family.
Dustin: I used to drink heavily every day. I just quit one day and never really picked it up. I still smoke a lot of cigarettes though.
Dustin, my dad was able to quit drinking. He had a bad drinking problem. He was an alcoholic, drug addict, sex issues, gambling addict and he was able to just quit all of those somehow just on his willpower but he didn’t go to bars.
He stayed at home and raised me and my brother and did everything so that my mother could have her career in the army and everything in her life was taken care of. He did her laundry, cooked the food and took the cars.
My dad got sober by dedicating himself completely to his family and essentially giving up the entire rest of his life. He said to my mom something like he didn’t really enjoy the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that he went to in the mental hospitals.
My dad went to Vietnam and went through being homeless in a lot of mental hospitals and he didn’t have a very good opinion of AA. He just dedicated himself completely to his family and didn’t do anything else for like 20 years or so.
So, it is possible to be sober. The question for me is, is it possible for me? Is it possible for me to be sober doing it that way? I tried to just say I’m not gonna drink but for me, I need Alcoholics Anonymous.
It helps me give back and serve others as well as stay sober myself.
Adrian: Are you happy?
I absolutely love my life, Adrian. I’m very happy about living the dream. I mean, my life is an absolute dream. At the same time, there are always good and bad things about any life you get to.
One of the worst illusions I’ve encountered is that if I get this, I’ll be happy and this is a big struggle for a lot of people with sobriety is that if I stay sober then I’ll be happy. Yes, I’m very happy being sober and at the same time just being sober is not enough to be happy.
There’s an entire life for me to live and I also thought I was happy during my drinking days and maybe I was right. There are good and bad parts to every part of life.
What seems true to me is that there’s an unlimited opportunity to enjoy life. There are unlimited chances to enjoy life wherever we are and the more I’m happy and enjoy my life, the more I continue to get more of that.
When I was drinking a bunch and being miserable, I kept getting more of that until I sought a way out, especially with AA Step 10.
Clutch gaming: My fiance and I live together and we have a one-year-old son. Should a man of the household be the breadwinner of the household and pay for everything or should it be a group effort?
Thank you very much for asking about that. Life is a group effort. When we go at it from there, we’re able to see that ideally, we have flexibility in helping each other out.
The benefit of bad things happening and of challenges is there’s a strong need to help each other. I wouldn’t have gone to Alcoholics Anonymous if I could have stayed sober by myself. No way would I have done that.
I go to Alcoholics Anonymous because I need help to stay sober and I love helping others. When it comes to a household, to me, the ideal arrangement is flexibility.
I’ve been married now since 2012 and I’m coming up on my 7 year marriage anniversary. My wife Laura and I have been through so many different arrangements with money. When we first started dating, she lived with her parents and I lived in a bachelor pad near campus.
When I moved in with her, she got a job as a personal injury attorney and paid for everything. I chipped in for maybe one or two bills like the Internet and then I was free to build my business and I wasted and lost all of my money.
After a few years, she got a job that didn’t pay as much and we split the bills. As I started teaching courses online, the sales went really well after about a year. The first few months I did almost nothing teaching online and then after about a year, I was up to several thousand a month and by the next year, I was making thousands of dollars a day.
For several years, I paid almost all of the bills. I paid down her student debt and I bought the car and I paid and paid and paid and with this year as I’ve been putting so much money into building up my business, she started paying about half of the bills or so and that’s what we’ve done.
Meanwhile, while raising the children, she does most with the children. However, I will help out as much as I can.
To me, a true partnership is where you help out where you can. There are very few hard and fast boundaries and in my experience, those need to be explicitly talked about. For example, Laura and I talked specifically about monogamy.
This is a hard and fixed boundary that neither of us is willing to deviate from and deviating from that is a critical violation of our relationship. It’s a non-negotiable boundary and something new that we discussed in my sobriety.
Me staying sober is a non-negotiable in our relationship now. This wasn’t the case for the first several years, but now it is. Thus, if I even think of a drink, I’m thinking of giving up my family as well which is very helpful to have it be that simple.
Non-negotiable for me is that I get to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings where whatever’s going on with the kids, the family or jobs that I have time for on a daily basis to go to AA meetings because non-negotiable is me staying sober and non-negotiable is that I have time to go to AA meetings regardless of what’s going on.
That’s how I do it. I hope that I have given you an effective answer to your question.
What I’ve found is I have the most experience on myself. If I start talking about someone else I start to not know what I’m talking about either. Thus, I focus on sharing my experience, strength, and hope when I’m live and doing videos.
Then I go listen to other people the rest of the time and get the experience, strength, and hope back in. I like hearing people talk about themselves in a very open and honest way. I don’t listen to or watch almost anything where people are talking about other people for the most of the time because things like news where they’re reporting on somebody else, to me, you don’t really know about that.
You weren’t there. It’s not your experience and what I’ve seen firsthand as a police officer is what you see on the news often has no relation to what happened. It’s just as made-up as if you go read a novel.
Thus, I stick to talking about myself because that’s what I know and I listen to other people talk about themselves because that’s honest and then I don’t talk about other people. If you notice, I rarely talk about what anyone else is doing because it’s very easy to get into gossip that way.
One thing that can help you out a lot is to ask. Do you believe people are doing their best? I believe people are doing their best.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I should just allow people to say whatever they want in chat and not ban them. It means that everyone is doing their best and sometimes someone’s best may need some guidance to go somewhere else and do something else but I believe everybody’s doing their best.
I remember a day when I was about 90 days in AA. I just I couldn’t imagine even staying sober for another week. Let alone 5 years and I’ve been able to do it by consistently showing up to AA meetings by helping people, praying, talking to the sponsors, reading the books, changing my whole life and I love it today.
I have to carry the message with the setup I have here, it is a very effective tool to carry the message in. Thus, I show up and carry the message as often as I can.
Lil Pump Vevo: Do you want to make a song with me?
I am interested in doing some collaborations on songs.
If you’re interested, I’ve got my contact information and if you do lyrics or if you can sing that’d be an easy collaboration or if you want me to sing or do something like that we can figure it out.
Wyatt: 14 years sober.
Nice. Thank you for sharing how long you’ve been sober here as well.
I remember when I started going AA, it helped me so much to see that Wow! This guy’s got 30 years and he sounded hopeless. Both of my sponsors have over 40 years. I’ve got a local sponsor and sponsor who knew me when I started that lives in Sarasota.
I remember there was a guy in a wheelchair who was living in a home or something and I’m like, “Man if he can be sober, I can definitely do this” and that helped me a lot.
Bobby, I still remember him and that’s the magic of AA Step 10 i.e. helping each other.
I’m very interested to hear from you. If you want to help me listen to you, I’ve got a lot of ways set up to do that. I trust you can contact me and help me listen to you and we’ll go from there.
Thank you very much for reading to the end of this blog. I appreciate the chance to serve you and inspire or entertain you. I love you. You’re awesome and I’ll see you on the next live stream.
You may also like to read this post: AA Step 7! Humbly Asked Him to Remove Our Shortcomings!