June 22, 2021
When we face the guilt that truthfully tells us, “You made a mistake,” we’re freed of the shame that falsely tells us, “You are a mistake.”
OA Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Second Edition, page 36
I don’t know about you, but when I was new, I didn’t have that much experience with being really honest about my feelings and experiences. I was really good at keeping things stuffed inside and pretty bad at sharing things about myself. My first fourth step inventory was searching and fearless, but it was limited by my own abilities at that time. There were a lot of layers underneath that first one that I just could not see at the time. That does not mean I didn’t do a thorough job. It just means there is more work to do. Over the years, I have repeated the steps many times, either because I had a new sponsor or because something major was going on in my life or because it was just time to do another thorough house cleaning.
Whether it is a spot check inventory as part of a regular tenth step practice or reviewing the steps again periodically, I need to continue to take regular inventory both to make sure that I am cleaning up new things as they come up and so I can look at those lower layers that are revealed the longer I am abstinent and actively working my program. I get better at sharing my feelings, and I get more honest with others…and with myself. That’s why this is a program for living, not just a program for checking off a ‘to do’ list.
Journal Prompt: Are there resentments or fears that I am still holding on to? Is it time for another inventory?
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