Does taking an ongoing personal inventory sound intimidating? Although it can bring sadness, it’s a necessary step to living a life of joy.
When recovery is going well, it’s easy to assume that the worst is over and that it’s time to celebrate by taking a day off. But not so fast! Should someone who is recovering from addiction take the day off? No! Sobriety doesn’t take a day off—nor does it get a vacation day. Recovery is a lifelong process that takes daily work. Life Recovery Step Ten says, “We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
So, if a person in recovery is not careful and refuses or neglects to take an ongoing inventory as Life Recovery Step Ten requires them, they could relapse.1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT) says, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” Part of a daily routine can include prayerfully taking a personal inventory. In a journal, such as the New Life Journal, write down one good thing that happened that day and one thing that needs improvement. Then, share these from time to time with a Life Recovery Group.
One example of taking an ongoing personal inventory in the Bible happened when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon. These exiles had lost touch with God because no one had taught them about God. But after rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem and the temple, Nehemiah, the Jewish Governor in Babylon, had the priests gather the people and read the Book of the Law. When the people realized their lives didn’t measure up, they started sobbing.
Then, the priests and Nehemiah said:
Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God…Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared . . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength!—Nehemiah 8:9-10
That day marked the beginning of Sukkot, the Festival of Tabernacles, a Jewish feast in the fall that celebrated their escape from bondage in Egypt and God’s care for them while they wandered in the wilderness. But on this sacred day, the exiles had work to do—admit their shortcomings to God and reconnect with Him.
It’s never too late for someone with a weakness for addiction to discover the joy of the Lord to give them strength.
by Steve Arterburn