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The Step Ten Connection

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Action plans are boring aren’t they? They’re just another way of procrastinating. The best thing is to just get on with it!

I’d heard statements like these from many people in OA meetings, but I wasn’t really sure what I thought, because I wasn’t actually doing an action plan.

The OA Tools of Recovery were well known to me, and I used many of them in my daily life. At my home meeting, we had a slot for someone to share briefly on a Tool they had used that week. I sometimes shared, but never on the action plan, because I didn’t have one.

I was abstinent. I enjoyed keeping a food plan that I shared with my sponsor. I was committed to doing daily OA readings, prayers, and meditation. But I struggled to commit to making any written plan, though I did have a daily to-do list in my head. I felt I was working the program well enough to keep a good balance of physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery, but in truth, I was reaching for more recovery!

Then I had a lightbulb moment when I was reading the Big Book chapter “Into Action” and was considering how I could do a written daily Step Ten inventory. This transformed my understanding of an action plan, and I immediately set out to write down all the elements of my day—who I would see, what I would do, where I would go—so at the end of the day I would be able to take my inventory. I knew it had to be easy and quick, or I would lose interest.

I’ve modified my action plan (see below) since then, and the rationale is to help me hand my day over to HP. I am reminded that I have no power over any of the people, places, and things I encounter when they are in my action plan.

I then use the Big Book’s Tenth Step inventory (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 86) and ask if I was selfish, dishonest, resentful, or fearful to check how well my action plan succeeded. I also ask whether I managed to achieve my intentions.

This has been revelatory and transformative. I am able to reflect when the same character defects repeatedly occur and also see what growth has taken place when my HP has removed the defect.

Above all, I have learned that when I take the five to ten minutes I need to write down my daily action plan, my Higher Power seems closer to me, gently nudging me in the right direction throughout the day, which leaves me a much more fulfilled and happier person.

I am so grateful to the OA program for all it has given me.

— Linda C., United Kingdom


Linda C.’s Action Plan

Date:

Commitment to Abstinence: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual
(This reminds me daily that I am a Compulsive Overeater)

People
Names: people I am planning to see
Encounters: people I come across unplanned/unexpected
(These are the people I am powerless over)

Places
All of the places I will visit or go to today,
e.g., car, roads, shops, hairdressers, daughter’s,
choir rehearsal, etc.
(These are the places I am powerless over)

Things
Eating mindfully and abstinently and keeping to my food plan
Taking car to garage
T’s for haircut and food shop after
Pick S up on way to choir rehearsal
Making calls to insurance and builder
Being the best person I can be today with HP’s guidance
Reaching out to other people today
Checking my motives and intentions and doing my best.
(These are the things I am powerless over)

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