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  • Writer's pictureeschaden


One of the very best things I have learned in recovery is the skill of inventory...about myself. Where am I needing work, where am I doing well, how can I do better?

Before recovery, I didn’t spend much time looking at my own behavior because I was so sure that my behavior was always and forever caused by you. You were the reasons I did messed stuff up. You were the reason I was a mess. You were the reason that I acted out. It was all your fault and I was just this hapless victim in it all.

Sobering up really caused me to have to stop all the blaming and shaming and get down to causes and conditions in my self. Why I was the way that I was could be driven by a lot of the shit you did but ultimately it was my life and my responsibility to clean it up.

I have to say that this change from being victimized by the world to one of personal responsibility for myself pretty much changed everything. I became a person who at first took it a little too far. Everything was my fault and I felt immense guilt and shame about everything. Your stuff, my stuff, everyone’s stuff was my fault.

But the skill of inventory changed even that. I may have swung too far in the other direction but I could now come back to center to leave you with your own inventory (or not) and move on with my own.

Seeing where I was warped and misshapen was helpful in being able to change long courses of conduct that were maladaptive, shitty and self defeating. I was able to take stock and see where I was ruinous, where I was barely hanging on and where I was actually doing pretty well. It took some time but I got there.

In the beginning, I had a lot of wreckage to clean up. I had made a huge mess of my life and I had to get to work and begin dealing with who I really was instead of who I thought I was trying to be. The gap between those two persons was ginormous.

Inventory has become ingrained in my life. I just do it now. Over and over again. Checking in sometimes formally, other times more on the spot to see where my instincts have run wild yet again. This balancing act of instincts has gotten me to a much more sane life. The extremes have moved in from the lunatic fringes of exceedingly overly optimistic ideas about myself or disparagingly self defeating disgust with my behavior.

I still fuck it up which is why I am always going to need this process to help me unfuck it. I wish I could say that I am one of those people who has this straight line trajectory of progress but that is not who I am. I am more moth like in my trajectory, seemingly all over the place but eventually getting there.

Inventory helps me every time land closer to where I feel more comfortable in my own skin, closer to who I think God wants me to be and less full of selfish ideas and notions about how to show up for this life.

While there are still days that my inventory comes up severely lacking, there are many, many more days that I can say that have made major improvements. Striving always to have the life I am living today to be my gift back to God for saving me from that hopeless state of mind and body one day at a time.

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