Addiction Recovery Exercise

Most programs I’ve tried have always some sort of personal inventory, where you go over regrets, mistakes, etc. and try to find peace with them, either by apologizing or making the situation right.

I find completing this inventory very hard because I have no idea where to start, how to do it. I am logically an orderly person so I look for steps. I don`t know how far back I should go, or what to include –

Can you explain why this is so important? And provide some guidance on my issues to completing the inventory?  

Thank you for that question. There’s a lot of very in-depth topics wIthin that one question, so I’ll do my best to try to help answer those.

A personal inventory is very commonly used in the therapy world, especially in terms of addiction recovery, especially as a means to promote healing.

Motivation for Change

The idea would be that each of us has an opportunity to take a look at the past and to consider what we’re changing and why we’re changing it, and to go back to the first question the motivation for change.

You know we’re going to consider why we want to make changes in our lives.

And then to ultimately be able to move forward, we want to be able to identify ways that we’re making actual change. And so, I love the fact that you brought up the question about logic because you seem like a very logical person, a person who wants to look for a cause and effect relationship or a step-by-step progression: If I do this, then what will happen? kind of thing. And that`s wonderful! Because I think you can take a look at how steps toward healing can be helpful.

Step One: Simply recognize, What is it in my life that I`m changing? What am I trying to accomplish?

With the first question we mentioned, the why is very important. With this question,  It`s more about the what, and then potentially what is the result of that.

A lot of the clients that I’ve worked with will take a very deep personal reflection when they do a personal inventory, and definitely, they will mention especially in an individual session or in a couples session, the experience was very heavy. It was very sobering, and I use that word in terms of identifying the seriousness in terms of what they’re trying to change, so they’re taking it very seriously because they see the impact on their lives.

So the logic would be,  Ok I can see the impact that this has had on my life. And definitely, there’s always the ability, you know when someone is looking at a change in life, recovery from addiction, one can definitely see the need for change that comes with desire. They can see why things are disruptive in their lives, they can see how their relationships are affected, they can see how you know jobs, and goals and service in their church or other things in their lives are heavily impacted by all of those things. And that brings with it a lot of desire for change.

And then when you couple that with the idea that seeing what the impact has been on one’s life, can allow you to say,

Ok I am turning the page. I am making a change here, I’m turning the page. I am moving forward in my life.”

I think the idea of progression and healing comes very much into play there because we have the ability to say, “I’m not dwelling on the past. I’ve recognized it, I’ve seen it, I know the impact that it’s had on my life, but the past doesn’t own me. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t dictate my future”.

One of the comments or concepts I should say that we often talk about when it comes to thinking about the future in relation to addiction recovery is the idea of future tripping where we might have a tendency to say,

Well it’s always been this way, so therefore it will continue to be that way in the future. I’ve had this challenge, therefore it will continue in the future”, and that kind of a thing.

Even to the point where hopelessness and depression can creep in.

Life and a Journey toward Healing

Therefore the idea of looking toward the next chapter of life, looking toward healing, and reflecting on the past only to the point where we see the impact it’s had and then we make that formal commitment to moving forward. That’s why we feel like that’s something that can be very helpful.

Now, having said that, it’s not always true that everyone’s ready at the same time to go through that process. It can take time. It can be very slow for some. It can be very quick for some, to get to that point where they’re ready to jump into a very deep personal review of their past and look at how the addiction has impacted their life.

With that idea of you do it when you’re ready, that’s what we try to do is help you through that process when it’s time. And to the degree that you want to. Sometimes clients want to dive into it very deeply. Other times they want to address it briefly and then move forward and either way, it can be very helpful and healing.

So what a great question that is. Hopefully, I answered that there were a number of questions in that. Yeah, those are my thoughts right now if you have any further questions on that go ahead and submit them.

Along those lines also, I just want to point out that if somebody has slipped up and they’ve completed moral inventory, it is not necessary to go back and relive everything again.

Go back to the last point you slipped, and process from there.

Don’t go back to when you were five…

If you’ve never done the full inventory, then we strongly recommend you do it. We’ve had many people that think, “Oh it’s not going to be that big of a deal”, but when they start diving into it it’s the most difficult thing that they’ve ever had to do in their life. But once you’ve done that, don’t relive it.

Move on, move forward, and look towards what the day is bringing you today, not what was in the past.

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