We begin by taking an honest and detailed look at all of the suffering we have created and experienced in our addiction and associated behaviors. The best way to begin is to put pen to paper and start writing.
On the path of recovery, we must understand that addiction always creates suffering, and recognize and accept all the ways it has caused suffering in our lives. Only then can we find freedom. Without full acceptance and disclosure, recovery will not be possible. We cannot skip this step or procrastinate; we must be completely thorough in our inventory process—our recovery depends on it.
The inventory is a must, even for those in long-term recovery. Even those who have completed a “Fourth Step” and feel they have already addressed many of these issues will benefit from working through the inventory. The Refuge Recovery inventory covers much more ground, and, when fully understood, offers a framework for overcoming all addictive behaviors and ending our suffering. It should be completed by anyone who hopes to benefit from the Refuge Recovery program.
For those new to recovery or who have been struggling with relapse, the inventory process will provide you with the proper insight and framework to fully abstain from your addictive behaviors. The process helps us see our addiction as a strategy for avoiding pain and enhancing pleasure. This strategy does not work. It is not our fault, but it is our responsibility to begin the hard work of recovery, and to become willing to turn toward the pain and confusion we have been running from and to meet it with kindness, forgiveness, and compassion.