Taking one’s own inventory as directed in the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous can be a big task. There is a substantial amount of fear associated with this step because the inventory will surface old memories and shock one out of denial. It takes courage to take inventory and the willingness to start.
Self Doubt and Negative Self Talk
The addict inside will use every trick in the book to fight against the steps one needs to take for healthy sobriety.
Overcoming negative self-talk is one of the biggest hurdles to remaining sober.
Thoughts like “I already feel bad. I don’t want to feel worse,” and “I can’t deal with the emotional pain,” although real fears, are manipulations.
What many addicts fail to understand is that taking an inventory will help alleviate these thoughts.
According to Psychology Today, internal beliefs and negative self talk can be overcome by journaling and thinking rationally about how isolated past experiences lead to exaggerated negative self talk.
Rational thinking helps to adjust the black and white fear that all situations that are similar lead to the same result. This sort of thought process keeps life static and does not allow for growth. Keeping busy and addressing these thoughts will decrease the likelihood of relapse.
Paths to taking an inventory
Knowing that an inventory is key to staying sober, it can be overwhelming to find the right way to start. The willingness to face fear and rely on the support of friends, family and a sponsor make taking an inventory much easier. Below are listed a few resources for taking an inventory.
The fourth step of NA, “made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves,” is outlined in The Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous. The company of a sponsor will help pace the inventory and offer emotional support. One does not have to go through this process alone.
A Rational Workbook For Recovery From Addiction by John Herdman, Ph.D. contains a rational self-analysis that helps one become familiar with tools for coping and teaches rational thinking about addiction.
Staying Sober by Terence T. Gorski and Merlene Miller is an excellent guide for understanding “stinking thinking” and relapse prevention.
Addiction counselors or psychologists work with residents that have process or substance addictions and can be helpful in finding resources, eliciting change talk and work with a variety of techniques tailored to the individual needs of the resident.