Taking a daily personal inventory is essential to recovery and personal growth. Life Recovery Step Ten says, “We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” Unlike Life Recovery Steps Four through Nine, which focuses on the past, Step Ten focuses on the present.
Before going to bed, spend a few minutes thinking about the good and the bad things that happened that day. Record answers in a journal. Consider asking the following questions when taking a daily inventory:
1. “What do I have to be grateful for today?”
Take the time to write down all the things that happened that day to thank God for. Write down as many things as possible each day—whether it’s a compliment from a coworker, an opportunity to reconnect with an old friend or an answer to prayer. Seeing life through the lenses of gratitude can give hope to prevent relapses or giving up altogether.
2. “Did I say or do anything that I need to take responsibility for?”
Everyone makes mistakes and has poor behavior and judgment at one time or another. But the act of trying to right a wrong that happened today is much easier than trying to make amends years from now. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and courage to apologize if needed.
3. “Did any regrets from the past or fears for the future flood my mind?”
Fearful, anxious thoughts can quickly come into the mind if left unchecked. These thoughts can destroy peace of mind and lead to poor decision making. List any fears, worries, or regrets. Remember, fear should compel us to trust in God. David said, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3, NLT).
4. “Is there anything that happened today to threaten my sobriety?”
Sobriety is a process; setbacks will happen. But the best way to prevent a relapse is long before it happens. Understand external triggers such as people, places, and things that elicit thoughts or cravings associated with addiction.
5. “Did I allow myself to become too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?”
The H.A.L.T. acronym is helpful in avoiding or resolving feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness for those in recovery. By learning to identify these feelings and trying to meet these basic needs in healthy ways, it’s easier to reduce and relieve triggers that pop up. The key is to pay attention to them and not ignore them.
6. “Is there anything I need to admit to God and those to whom I’m accountable?”
A critical component of taking a daily personal inventory is being honest. Taking an inventory helps to spot negative patterns as they emerge—be sure to talk about these with a New Life Counselor and a Life Recovery Group.
7. “What steps can I take to have a better tomorrow?”
In recovery, there will be good days and bad days. When things don’t go so well, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Take it one day at a time. Learn lessons today and realize it’s never too late to make better choices tomorrow.
If you or a loved one needs help with recovery, call 800-NEW-LIFE. We can connect you with a licensed counselor or certified coach.
by Kimberlee Bousman