We are delighted to share a recording of the first hour from our Step Four Inventory Writing Retreat held on April 27, 2019. While some participants were able to call in and participant with the group remotely, we know that others who wanted to join us were not free at that time. We recorded the first part of our meeting and you can listen here
We still have some resources available on a Google Drive Folder. We collected a variety of ways of approaching a Step Four inventory, so you can look there and see what resonates for you today. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success, and may each of you find clarity and understanding as you build your inventory!
In Step One of HealingThroughChrist, we “come to understand and accept that we are powerless over the [behavior] of a loved one and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable.”
Coming to understand implies that there is a change in our interpretation of the situation. We see it differently than we have before. When we accept something, we admit that it is going to exist whether we want it to or not. With this recognition, we also realize that there is no longer a need for resistance on our part. If it’s going to happen anyway, is there really any reason to fight it?
So what exactly are we learning to understand and accept in this step? It is our own powerlessness over others. This is not an easy truth to understand or accept. Our loved ones are important to us, and we naturally want to send them down the right path. We would hate to see them make a mistake or experience pain. We want to tell them everything we think they should do and know because we want them to succeed. We worry about them, and we feel that it’s our obligation to do all we can to make sure they have the lives we want for them. This is all very well-intended, but there’s a problem.
Our Heavenly Father sent us to this life as part of a wonderful plan, and the most important factor in that plan is our agency. Each individual child of God has been given the gift to choose. When we make our own choices, we learn. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail, but the lessons learned through this life’s experiences are critical for the growth we were sent here to achieve. For many of us, it is easier to protect our own agency than to respect the agency of another, especially when that person is someone close and special to us. However, when we interfere with our loved ones exercising their agency, our lives become unmanageable.
The inability to manage our own lives is result of pain, frustration, resentment, disappointment, grief, fear, worry, and other negative emotions that occur when someone else’s choices are different than what we think best. Trying to manage another person leaves little energy for our own needs and usually doesn’t help them either. Even if our help is sometimes desired by others, they might still miss valuable learning experiences if we’re not careful about how much we’re getting in the way of their ability to find solutions to their own problems.
Step One invites us to rest from the struggles we have faced as we’ve tried so desperately to take care of everyone else’s issues. It reminds us that Heavenly Father is aware of His children, and He has a customized plan for each of us. We can trust Him and allow Him to reach our loved ones in ways that we could never do on our own and sometimes in ways we would never even imagine possible. He loves them more than we can understand, and He wants to bless them and touch their lives. We can give all our concerns to Him. We’re reminded in The Promise of Step One that “We feel relief and freedom as we embrace the spiritual truth that, on our own, we are powerless and we gratefully come to recognize and accept that we are not the saviors of our…loved ones or ourselves. There is only one who can rescue and save any of us–our Savior, Jesus Christ. (p.13)”
[Thanks to Britney for submitting this post. If you would like to submit a post that reflects your hope, faith, and experience with the Steps, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Healing Through Christ Michigan is hosting a Writing Retreat on Saturday, April 27th, from 9 am to 4 pm. You are welcome to join us and work on your Step Four Inventory in companionship with other friends in recovery.
We will have a pot luck lunch, and you are welcome to bring a dish to contribute. In addition, there will be some breaks for a nature walk and sharing our experience and insights, as desired. Because many of the participants in our meetings call in from all over the country, we will have a call-in option for the first 45 mins or so of the day. During that time we will be discussing the benefits of a Step Four inventory and various ways in which it can be done. You can join us by calling (781) 448-0376 at 9 am Eastern Daylight Time. After the end of the welcome and introduction, we will close the phone line and invite participants to start writing, wherever they may be.
We have some resources available that describe different ways of doing a Step Four inventory, from a spreadsheet and checkboxes, to a storytelling/journal style, to questions/prompts. We have these available for you as a Google Drive Doc. Please click on this link to access these: Step Four Writing Resources. We suggest you view these before the Retreat, decide if you would like to use any, and download or print them out in advance. Also, if you are intending to attend in person, please email us at email@example.com to let us know you will be coming or ask questions.