“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.”

- Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84.

With that simple sentence, the book Alcoholics Anonymous begins our instructions for Step 10. This is the ‘design for living’ that allows us to find contentment in our life without drinking. Nearly 2,000 years ago early Christians living in the deserts of Egypt, the Desert Fathers, discovered the same thing. “Pay attention to yourself!” Having faced our reality honestly in Step 1, we admitted our problem (lack of power). In Step 2 we came to believe there was a solution (more power). In Step 3 we made a commitment to give this solution a chance by making a decision to live a spiritual life. These last two steps arise from the desperation of finally realizing just how dire our situation is. Without help we are lost. In Steps 4 – 9 we learn the skills necessary to practice our ‘design for living’: With the help of our sponsor and our faith in a Higher Power we fearlessly make an inventory of character defects and the faulty attitudes and beliefs that have driven our actions for a lifetime. We become willing to be transformed by asking for help in removing these shortcomings. We humbly go to those we had harmed and do what we can to fix our mistakes.

Having begun the process of removing those things that block us from living in the Spirit we continue to use these tools daily as we walk through life. Not just at night. We need to remain present to our lives and pay attention to our thoughts, our attitudes, our emotions and our actions as we go. It is difficult. The patterns we have developed during our life are often deeply ingrained. So we practice, knowing that we will make mistakes. Eventually, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, things change. These practices become our new way of life. They become part of who we are and intuitive. We discover that living a spiritual life is as simple as paying attention.

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