This Way of Living

Working Steps 10, 11, and 12.
Building a personal practice.
Creating a small group practice.

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Why do we suggest small private groups?
When we do Step 10 with other people, why don't we do it in a 12-Step meeting?

This is our experience. Your experience may of course be different.

In small private groups, it's possible to find the trust and intimacy that must accompany the working of Step 10.

We do Step 10 by ourselves as a constant practice, just as the AA Big Book suggests on page 84. But part of Step 10 is the discussion of our selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear with someone else. Obviously, if we need to do this part of the Step, we have to interact with another person.

Trust
This can only be done wholeheartedly in a situation of trust. That is why our attempts to do Step 10 in large 12-Step meetings can be unsatisfactory. We may be sitting next to a complete stranger, and we may quite understandably be reluctant to talk about our mistakes and our fears with someone we don't know. In small private groups, trust comes more easily.

Intimacy
Intimacy is what permits discussion of our deepest fears. And discussing our fears in turn deepens that intimacy. We are not talking here about sexual or physical intimacy. We are talking about a relationship that is based on trust and openness.

Can small 12-Step groups be suitable venues?
Some small 12-Step groups may offer this sort of trust and intimacy. But this is unusual. 12-Step groups with more than about seven or eight members, or groups where members do not know one another well, may be less suitable. We are talking here only from our experience. Your experience may be different.

No advice
The discussion part of Step 10 does not involve the offering or receiving of advice. After all, we practice Steps 10 and 11 constantly because we don't know what we should do ourselves, much less what other people should do. So the discussion consists in sharing our feelings, and then listening while the other person shares his or her feelings.

In regular 12-Step meetings, by contrast, some people are inclined to offer advice, even if that's done using crosstalk. In our experience, neither crosstalk nor advice is useful in our practice of Steps 10 and 11.

Guidelines
Here you'll find an example of Guidelines for small private groups. This was used to create, guide, and maintain one such small private group.

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