August 23

Vigilance:  Part III

 Continue to take personal inventory

       In recovery it is so important you are real and that you are honest; in other words, you need to be real honest!  There is a tendency to overlook what we think is a small matter; but there are no small matters when it comes to your own personal recovery. 

       Your personal victories and failings alike must be kept up to date!  Anything in which you had success should be recorded.  And every time you fail, that also needs to be examined and accounted for.  This is not an exercise in pumping yourself up; neither is it a time to beat yourself up.  Beating yourself up, and pumping yourself up are things you did when you were in your addiction.  This is shame-based behavior that accomplishes nothing, except to cloud your mind with illusions and untruth about who you are.

       Continuing to take personal inventory is an honest approach to self awareness.  It’s means keeping everything up close and real.  You needn’t run away from your truth; neither should you deny it by covering it over with smoke and mirrors.  A therapist once encouraged me to keep the addiction ‘right here’ – (he would then motion with his right hand pretending to hold it in front of his face.) 

      I have found for me the best way to continue to take personal inventory is to keep a journal.  This is not just a record of all my sins and mistakes and foolish blunders (as much as that is important); mine is a gratitude journal in which I record everything on a very positive and uplifting note.  I am careful not to feed into my shame, or add to a poor self image.  The daily use of a gratitude journal – either recorded in a book, or filed away inside a computer – is the best way I know how to remain consciously aware of the addiction, and to move forward in my recovery.

       Another way to stay current involves using what we in the program call a sponsor; a mentor, if you like.  Usually a person who has been through some serious challenges and painful addictions, someone who has successfully come out the other side with some emotional healing, is the one who can identify with your weaknesses.  This is a safe person who completely understands where you’re coming from and what you’re dealing with.  Either by phone or in person, this trusted individual is someone you can call on for support when you are struggling or slipping into addictive-like obsessive / compulsive behavior. 

 Remember:  “You alone must do it, but you must not do it alone.”