Step 4 (and step 10) are the ultimate gifts of this little sobriety garden we have going on here. It’s where the work happens (and if you have a garden, or have ever successfully grown anything, you know it takes attention, care and work!) As I heard an old timer once say, it’s what separates the men from the boys. He said that looking straight into my eyes! Uh, hello, female here please… But you get the point. If you are hanging around A.A. (or N.A. or C.A.) and you are not making use of the inventory process…you’re missing it.
I was talking to a sponsee last night who was telling me, I always do this, I always jump into the work (inventory) get a little relief, and then back off from it (read: drop off the face of the Earth.)
You know what we call that? We call that settling for the crumbs.
This thing is a banquet. Getting sober is like pulling a chair up to a table (once you’ve regained your equilibrium enough to actually balance on the chair and can sit at the table without puking all over it from your detox) and finding a feast. At the table is every delicacy you can imagine: Love, fulfillment, peace of mind, happiness, fun, joy, being a part of, being forgiven, forgiving yourself, success, professional achievement. It goes on and on. See, I told you the table was loaded.
So why in God’s name ( I love saying that–where does that saying even come from?) would you settle for the crumbs that happen to randomly fall on the floor at your feet? That’s what we do when we only scratch the surface of where this thing can take us. Inventory is about digging for what’s buried. You know why it’s buried? Because we spent (fill in the blank) number of years drinking and using around it. For me, it was 14 years between my first high and my first day of sobriety. That’s a lot of burying.
I love that the universe creates a path for us with curves in the road. If it was one straight line I’d probably just step off the track (in fact, that’s exactly what I do at the track if I look too far ahead. I think, no way can I freaking run 2 miles right now.) But the curves in the road keep what’s coming at a distance. They force me to just look at my right here, right now. As Ani Difranco says, When I look up, I just miss all the good stuff. When I look down, I just trip over things.
Inventory is about looking at the right here right now, because the crust of being an addict and alcoholic comes off one layer at a time. The good news about that is that we don’t die from the literal shock of exposure. The bad news, is that we have to embrace a life where we have many moments that feel just a little bit raw. Ask yourself if you’re willing to feel that to sit at the table and feast on the very best of what life has to offer.