by Joshua Hoe
Last week, for my Christmas sobriety tips list, I talked about the importance of daily (and sometimes hourly) HALT inventories to my sobriety (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired).
Today I want to talk about a few other inventories or lists that have really worked for me in my sobriety.
I spend so many hours in my life pouring over all the reasons that I am a failure.
Focusing only on the things I do or did wrong.
And God help me if I were to have a relapse or felt I was close to a relapse, then the beating myself up would really start in earnest.
I often spend so much time thinking about why I am wrong, I no longer can see where I am right.
What about all the things I do right? Why do I never really let myself see my own progress?
I have found that being positive, and seeing the good things I do can start to help my form habits and create virtuous circles in my behavior.
And even more important, when I struggle or when I feel I am close to relapse, spending the time to think about what I do right around my addiction actually helps me right the ship.
In other words, instead of focusing on all the things I did wrong to get close to a relapse, I focus on all the things I did right to stay sober.
By remembering what was working, I can more easily right my ship and get back on the right course.
Sometimes, I find doing these “success inventories” is much more helpful than focusing just on my failings.
And, as I have talked about before, in my experience, beating myself up often becomes part of my cycle.
It becomes part of how the part of me that wants to act out justifies going down the rabbit hole.
“I will never be fixed, I can never be okay, since I am broken..I should just give in.”
Maybe you have experienced something similar?
I have to thank my long time sponsor for introducing the gratitude list to me.
The GL has been huge for my recovery, because I am one of those addicts that can really start feeling like the world is uniting against me.
In other words, I can throw one hell of a pity party for myself.
I don’t always succeed at making myself sit down and write a gratitude list out, but when I do, it really helps me regain perspective.
I also have a real tendency towards seeing ONLY the worst possible outcomes of everything bad that happens in my life.
Often, in the process of working out what I am grateful for, I start to see that things do not always go as badly as I usually fear that they will.
Lists like this also force me to get out of my own head and see the larger reality of the world as it actually is (not just how the world is from inside my own head).
Anyway, these two tools have been really helpful for me, I hope they help you productively deal with your stress and struggles in recovery!
What inventories or lists do you use in recovery? Do you experience any of the feelings I am writing about? I would love to hear your experiences, leave a comment!