Tag Archives: inventory

When I first got into recovery, I was told that if I did not do steps 4 and 5 I would get drunk.  In fact, that is a so-called “dark promise” in the text book of AA.   The fear of getting drunk far outweighed my fear of that inventory process and I went ahead and did it.  And discovered that the fifth step promises came true.  Here they are: “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”

I had indeed begun to feel the nearness of a God that I did not yet have a complete understanding of, and I could indeed look people in the eye, and I did find being alone much easier.  And perhaps most importantly of all, my personality was changing.  That spiritual experience that is described in the appendix as a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” was happening to me.  I rarely thought about drinking, and yes, I did not feel alone or lonely because I felt that Presence that was always with me, even if I couldn’t define It.

Fast forward to when I began to study New Thought, and started learning about a trained mind, and the power of my thoughts.  Ernest Holmes said that a trained mind is far more powerful than an untrained one, and I wanted a trained mind.

I was already well versed in steps 10 and 11, doing inventory and meditation daily.  What I realized with New Thought was that these two steps were the same as what were called spiritual practices in Science of Mind.  Self inquiry or introspection are the same as an inventory.  And while there are many ways to meditate, all work equally well and meditation is one of the top spiritual practices recommended to live a more joyous life.

This is the recipe for joyous living, in my opinion:  daily introspection and meditation.  The introspection leads to self awareness, which is key to knowing our truth.  And it is also key to keeping our thoughts positive, because they do set in motion what becomes manifest in our lives.  We are what we think, so it behooves us to think good thoughts, and a trained mind helps us do that.

Doing steps 10 and 11 every day, or, if you prefer, introspection and meditation, trains our mind and ensures as nothing else will that we live happy and productive lives.


What is your legacy?

Let's face it, we all have them.

We all have our legacies.  When we have a legacy of addiction  or alcoholism,  that is the first  legacy to deal with,  others come later.

Part of what is taught in New Thought is  called spiritual practice, more religious traditions refer to it as confession, and in the secular world it is called introspection.  In the 12 step world it is called steps 4, 5, 8 and 9.  This process is powerful beyond measure, and  yet I continue to encounter people who refuse to do it.  Those unfortunately are doomed to stay stuck in their legacies.  They may or may not get and stay sober.  But I believe that happiness and peace elude those who cannot or will not take advantage of this process.

And there are probably as many ways to do introspection as there are people.

I don't know that the method matters.  (Although I have tried many methods and what continues to be the most powerful and life changing for me is a very basic inventory based on a series of columns, as originally laid out in the textbook of AA). What I do know is that it is imperative, if you want to live a life free from the demons of the past and the self-imposed limitations based on outdated belief systems...IMPERATIVE that you cultivate inner awareness. I do not believe that it is possible to live a happy life unless a regular practice of introspection (followed by sharing and amends, or confession and penitence) is a part of that life. I feel very strongly about this. It is part of a lifestyle that works to allow for freedom and peace in our lives, at least it has for me.

It is also highly important to have a support system in place to be there for you when you do this. You are likely to experience anger, sadness and all the other feelings commonly associated with grieving.

Why grieving? Isn't grieving usually associated with a loss? Yes, and....in doing this kind of work, there is a loss when we take a good hard look at, for example, a legacy which may really suck, and we decide we are not going to claim that legacy.  As they say, if you have made a decision  to not  live the way you have been living, that is a loss.  The beautiful part about that is that you then are at choice to fill  the void with something more positive.  But the loss must be grieved.

It is not a pleasant process, except if you are anything like me, you know....you have faith that when the process is done, the legacy will no longer have the power to affect who and what you are, and you will be free to create a new legacy.

Today, I hope you are aware of your legacies, and I hope you are doing the inner work necessary to free yourself from them if they are not serving you.


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I love the way the steps are set up.  There is an order to them that makes it easy, for me at least, to move from victim to empowerment.

I know that it is common to hear, in 12 step meetings, that we must continually acknowledge our powerlessness.  In all my research of the steps, and in my personal experience of 29 years of incorporating them into my life,  I have failed to find any evidence that advocates powerlessness as a way of life.  Instead, I find much evidence that says powerlessness is like a doorway into recovery.  Powerlessness is for beginners.

In a way, much of life is like this:  when we first encounter a new concept, a new way of living, a new way of being, we must be open to possibilities, even though the unknown is sometimes much scarier than the known, as unsatisfactory as the known may be.  But if we admit to not liking the way things are, and to acknowledging that there must be a better way, then we somehow open ourselves up.  Powerlessness is that doorway.  Yes, we are in a powerless place in the beginning....but only in the beginning.

Once we get to step 10, we get our power back.  (Actually in my personal experience it comes much sooner in the process, but I know it isn't that way for everyone)  Here are the 10th step promises in the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous:

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and ­protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our ­experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."

Jean Houston writes, in the Foreward to the Science of Mind textbook, that in thinking of God as something within us, it moves us from a state of powerlessness to one of power.  "This grants us tremendous power and with it the innate responsibility to make or break our world through the extraordinary working power of our minds. Thus the practical emphasis in The Science of Mind of schooling in the power of trained thought."

So....we move  from a state of powerlessness in the beginning, to one of power by the tenth step.  The steps teach us to live in 10 and 11, inventories, meditation and prayer.  New Thought teaches us to consistently do our spiritual practices, with introspection (inventory) and the resulting personal awareness, and meditation and affirmative prayer making for a lifestyle that does indeed move from powerlessness to being safe and protected, from victim to empowerment.

This is a lifestyle that works, and I am so grateful for it.


Sign up for future blog posts on the right if  you are on a computer, at the bottom if you are on a mobile device.

You can purchase the book at Amazon.com or Balboa Press, in e-version or paperback.

Thank you for reading.  I would love to see your comments!