From the November 2000 magazine.

A Clean Sweep

For a time in AA, about the only thing that I noticed about Step Ten was the "when we were wrong" part, which, of course, seldom if ever applied to me. That blissful state of ignorance and denial came to a crashing halt at the beginning of my second year of sobriety, when a rather annoying old-timer continually brought to my attention the spiritual axiom, "Every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us."

Then as my third year dawned, I was introduced to a seldom mentioned Tenth Step exercise. An old-timer (of course) rather strongly suggested that I set aside time at the beginning of each year to do an "annual Tenth Step housecleaning." Driven by "Just-where-does-it-say-that?" and convinced that she was just a tad out of focus and creating "her" version of Step Ten, I flipped open my "Twelve and Twelve." Golly, gosh, gee. There it was, in black and white on page 89: "Many AAs go in for annual or semiannual housecleanings." Mustering up as much grim resignation as possible, I scuffed my way back to the table, plopped into a chair, and slouched down with all the petulance of a three-year-old (which must have looked pretty silly, since I was in my late thirties).

-- Annemarie M.

Raynham, Massachusetts

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