Awareness. Awareness is being conscious of what is happening around us and inside us. When we’re walking down the street and are aware of our surroundings we are conscious of businesses across the street, of the people walking behind us. We’re aware of the expressions on people’s faces, aware of whether it’s sunny or cloudy, warm or cold.

On the inside, we are conscious of our feelings. Did something we just think or do, see or hear make us feel shameful, resentful, angry, or hurt? Or do we sense that something we said or did made someone else feel shameful, resentful, angry, or hurt? Sometimes awareness comes from others, from talking to those we know and trust. Talking to the right person (our sponsor, spouse, or boss, for instance) can give us perspective.

In Twelve-Step recovery, awareness is noticing when our behavior is being driven by a character defect (such as dishonesty) rather than a spiritual principle (such as honesty).  When we are aware of our behaviors and the motivations behind them (character defects or spiritual principles), we can make efforts to rectify a situation. We can also make a pretty accurate Tenth step inventory and ask our Higher Power to remove these character defects so we can start the day with a clean slate.