The Value in Taking a Personal Inventory

After fully diving in and understanding the first three steps in a 12-Step Program, a person in recovery may begin working the fourth and very critical step, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Step 4 is one of the key foundational steps in everyone’s recovery journey as this is the step where they make a personal inventory to account for what actions and behaviors of theirs lead them to addiction. This step not just encourages but requires honesty and accountability of a recovering addict to examine their past, so they may finally break the cycle of addiction in their life.

Understanding the Personal Inventory

Creating a personal inventory gives individuals the unique and rare opportunity to sit down and create “a searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous specifies that a personal inventory should be on pen and paper and not merely spoken, so a recovering addict can supply sufficient detail and accuracy of their thoughts about themselves and others. 

Before starting the task of creating your personal inventory, approach it mindfully. It is by no means an easy process to look at your flaws or bad decisions of the past, so be gentle and forgiving to yourself as heavy emotions can surface throughout the process. There is no single, correct way of doing an inventory, but helpful questions to keep in mind when creating yours include how does your addiction affect you and those around you? What character flaws or defects do you have that feed your addiction and hinder your recovery? It is also helpful to include any resentments and fears you harbor that have influenced your addictive behavior in the past.

Writing your inventory is inherently a very personal process, as the name suggests. It is also a very demanding process since it requires time, total honesty, and a thorough deep dive into your past. Just because it is a personal process does not mean you should not seek guidance or help in the process of creating it. Speaking to someone who has made one before about their process may be helpful.

Step 4 offers a crucial step in the recovery process, creating a personal inventory. The personal inventory will allow whoever writes it to better understand their past behaviors and the root causes of their addiction. This foundational step in a 12-Step Program may be time-consuming and emotionally difficult but ultimately proves very rewarding in your recovery journey. At Avalon Malibu, we offer personalized programs combining clinical and holistic therapies that best suit your individual treatment needs. With our supportive, experienced staff by your side, you can finally find the success you have been struggling to find in recovery. Many of our counselors are recovering addicts themselves, and their knowledge and personal experience can provide guidance, structure, and courage during your recovery treatment. For more information on how we can help you in your recovery journey, call us at (844) 857-5992.

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