TAKING A PERSONAL INVENTORY

A few years ago, I posted a blog correlating my healing process with a 12-step program similar to the 12 steps for Alcoholics Anonymous. I received quite a few positive responses at the time about how it helped others to have this simple direction that has proven successful for over 80 years.

There are many I have spoken to over the past year that have brought me back to this same mindset as I listened and prayed for them. I encourage doing a ‘personal inventory’ of where you are in life, where God desires you to be, and what you need to do in order to move forward out of a stagnant place. Making a personal inventory can be simple, implementing and sticking to the changes you know need to happen is the difficult part.

Moving forward means change that breaks you from a comfort zone; Even change from something negative to positive is difficult when you’ve become accustomed to the negative. This could be a move away from an abusive relationship, friendship or even employment.

Sometimes we don’t make the move because we convince ourselves it would hurt others. What is worse is when we become the martyr convincing ourselves to stick with it because bettering ourselves would only topple the organization or the lives of those around us.

The danger in this ‘martyr’ mindset is when the reality is misconstrued. The definition of this martyrdom is ‘a display of feigned or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy or admiration’. Often this martyrdom hinders and hurts those around you rather than keeping them ‘safe’.

When this mindset takes place, you don’t want to speak out because it’ll hurt those around you to know your truth. However, because you don’t speak out the same abuse or dysfunction can happen to those around you causing that much more pain.

You don’t leave an abusive or dysfunctional environment (employment, friendship, etc.) because of loyalty or fear you’ll never be able to replace what you are leaving behind with something healthier. In reality that environment most likely is already ‘moved on’ or capable of moving forward which is why the environment is unhealthy.

Trusting in God’s plan for our life also means to embrace the fact He wants us to lead happy and healthy lives.

Below I’ll reprint the original version of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps, along with my truthful response many years ago when I had a conversion moment. This was my version of a personal inventory.

Where do you believe you are in the process?

To best understand this let’s take a look at the Twelves Steps for AA (Alcoholics Anonymous asper Wikipedia.com)

1)  We admit we are powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

My Case – I was powerless over who I had become as a person due being a victim of my past abuse. I too was abusive, negative, mean, and definitely depressed.

2)  Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

My Case – I saw Christ in my sweet two-year-old son the day I realized Step 1.  God showed up in a moment I was at my worst, and this sent me face down on the floor.

3)   Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.

My Case – I surrendered to God that night, face down on the floor, ‘Take my life and do with it what You will!’ I cried out because I knew I could no longer hold the hate, negativity, and depression inside. 

4)  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

My Case – After this fateful evening I began to recognize the areas that I was sinning.  The behavior was no longer attractive to me or desirable.

5)  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

My Case – RECONCILIATION – putting my pride aside and going to confession to make sure and reconcile with God.

6)  Were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character.

My Case – I stopped the behavior as I recognized it.  It was day by day.

7)  Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.

My Case – I prayed on my knees daily to become a better person. I surrendered myself to the Lord. I still do! 

8)  Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

My Case – I can’t say I made a list; however, I did see the need to contact those I loved.  I sat down a year or so after that key moment on my bedroom floor and wrote a letter to all of my siblings telling them that I loved them.  This particular inventory was done nearly 23 years ago, and I have found that over the decades I have come back to this entire process to do a fresh inventory and most importantly, revisit this step with those that I needed to make amends. 

9)  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except to do so would injure them or others.

My Case – By the grace of God I’ve had the opportunity to meet with people from my past that I have needed to extend an apology.  God is intentional which is why this word is key for me. He knows what we need, and He will provide the right opportunity. We must be open and willing to accept the call.

10)  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admit it.

My Case – As in the above…God gives the grace to achieve this even when I didn’t realize it was a step needed to be done at the time.

11)  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

My Case – Daily prayer life is key.

12)  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

My Case – It has been my ministry to speak out and lead others to Christ. 

I think we can all see how pertinent these steps are in ALL OF OUR LIVES.  It isn’t a weakness to admit failure, it is only a weakness when we don’t try to do better.  If you know someone who has succeeded in these steps through a program such as AA, give them a hug and acknowledge the work they’ve done to better their life.

A great 12 step program to help those who have suffered PTSD from abuse is Celebrate Recovery. They have CR meetings all over the United States. To learn more visit:  Celebrate Recovery.com

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, depression or eating disorders please go to the following sites to find your local meetings:

Alcoholics Anonymous:  www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous:  www.na.org

Overeaters Anonymous:  www.oa.org

Eating Disorders Anonymous:  www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org

Depression Anonymous:  www.depressionanonymous.org

ALANON (Friends and family of those in 12 step programs)  www.al-non.alateen.org

MORE BY THIS AUTHOR

SPIRITUALITY & DEVOTION

At the National Eucharistic Congress, Decided Excellence Catholic Media - with the help of Bishop William Waltersheid - will be presenting "Beautiful Revelation: The Eucharistic Timeline". Throughout human history, God has left repeated proof of His presence in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Salvation. God has given us the wisdom. Have you taken the time to understand? Read this spiritual journey through time to examine critical moments that God uses to reveal the truth of the Body of Christ.

This will close in 32 seconds