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Survive, Transform, Soar! - Issue #79
How To Face The Truth To Heal For Good
Step 4: 'The 12 Steps' Of Spiritual Recovery, Part 2
Article by: Rivka A. Edery, MSW, LCSW in SurviveTransformSoar.com | Friday, September 14, 2018
Adding a spiritual dimension to trauma recovery, such as that after a toxic relationship, is an important component of healing the whole person. I have found that the 12 Steps of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) provide a framework for exploring the spiritual benefits of life’s difficulties that is accessible to almost everyone.

STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
In the journey we have been taking through the steps, last quarter we began addressing Step Four and learned that it consists of four “inventories”:
     1. Resentments
     2. Fears
     3. Sex Conduct
     4. Harms done to others

We discussed the first inventory—resentments—and I offered an exercise to help you identify any that you might be hanging onto from past angers.

This quarter, I am presenting similar exercises for the other three inventories. I hope you will stop and take the time to do them. Faster healing comes with action when you are ready for it. It can also prevent re-victimization by helping you stay out of toxic relationships in the future.
angry couple, terms of engagement, toxic relationship
Facing yourself and your own fears takes courage, but ultimately it's the way you can break free from the opinions of others.
SUGGESTED PRE-FEAR INVENTORY PRAYER 
“Creative Intelligence, I thank you for supporting me through the process of being truthful with myself and my fears. Please provide me with clear direction on what I can, and cannot do with my fears, and guide me when I am triggered. I offer my fears to You and ask You for Your Loving Guidance as I walk through them. I ask that you provide me with corrective experiences, so I can outgrow my fears which no longer serve me. I ask for your strength, so I will not be overwhelmed or despair because of this discovery process. Amen.”Adding a spiritual dimension to trauma recovery, such as that after a toxic relationship, is an important component of healing the whole person. I have found that the 12 Steps of AA (Alcoholi
FORMAT OF FEAR INVENTORY  
The Fear Inventory has the same format as the Resentment Inventory, with five columns.

Column One: Who or what do I fear? (List the names of people, institutions, principles, or situations).

Column Two: Why am I afraid? (What have they done to you, or will do to you? What do they symbolize for you?)

Column Three: Is this fear based on false or true information? If based on false information, can the fear be a result of your conditioning and learning, or a result of how you were impacted by the trauma?

Column Four: What is it that you want changed about this fear, that you will do whatever it TAKES?

Column Five: What is your new plan of action/inaction with regards to this fear?

SUGGESTED PRE-SEX INVENTORY PRAYER 
“Guiding Spirit, please help me face the reality of my past sexual relations. Grant me strength and courage to see where and how my sexual conduct has harmed myself and others. Help me to see, and be connected, to the truth of these relationships. I ask for the awareness of where I was at fault and what I could have done differently. I ask for your grace, so I will not be overwhelmed or despair as a result of this discovery process. Amen.”
FORMAT OF SEX CONDUCT INVENTORY
The Review of Sex Conduct Inventory has the same format as the Resentment Inventory, with five columns.  

Column One: Who did I hurt?

Column Two: What did I do, or not do, say or not say?

Column Three: Which part of me caused me to behave in this way? (Some examples include egoism, sex instinct, or social instinct.)  

Column Four: How did my actions affect others? (Examples include: Jealousy, rage, suspicion, bitterness, pain, fear, agony, etc.) What would have been the ideal action to take instead? (Examples include: truth-telling, consideration, self-control, balanced perspective, etc.).

Column Five: Which Character Defect played a role here? (Examples include: Selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate, self-seeking, frightened, impulsive, compulsive, stubborn, poor decision, etc.).
Overcome negative thinking after a toxic relationship

OTHER HARMS - SUGGESTED PRAYER 
“All Powerful Creator, I invite you to help me see where my behaviors or styles of interacting have caused harm to myself or others. Please grant me the willingness to give up my unacceptable behaviors that are harmful and keep me alienated from people. I am open to being taught appropriate behaviors, and I affirm my need to learn that it is acceptable for me to behave differently. I need and ask for Your help in my efforts to change. Please grace me with your Loving Kindness so that I will not be overwhelmed or despair because of this discovery process. Amen.”
REVIEW OF HARMS OTHER THAN SEXUAL
The Review of Harms Other Than Sexual has the same format as the Resentment Inventory, with five columns.

Column One: Who did I hurt?

Column Two: What did I do, or not do, say or not say? (Examples include: betray, lie, steal, cheat, revenge, manipulate, control, jealous, unforgiving, put people down, brake promises, withhold, irresponsible, engulfing, stifling, distant, etc.).

Column Three: Which part of me caused me to behave in this way? (Examples include: Ego, sex instinct, social instinct, etc.)

Column Four: How did my actions affect them? (Examples include: Jealousy, rage, suspicion, bitterness, pain, fear, agony, etc.) What would have been the ideal response? (Examples include: truth-telling, consideration, self-control, fairness, modulate impulses, etc.).

Column Five: Which Character Defect played a role here? (Examples include: Selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate, self-seeking, frightened, impulsive, compulsive, stubborn, poor decision-making, etc.).
Overcome negative thinking after a toxic relationship
Step Four can be a time of discouragement as well as intense hope. If you were abused, you must exercise extreme caution before starting this step and take the liberty to postpone it until you have all the resources you need to proceed. If you feel ready to begin this step, thoroughly check in with yourself to make sure you are ready to withstand the pain this work will trigger and seek additional help if necessary. You do not have to do this alone, and it is advisable to ask for support.

If you have everything you need to proceed, you should be aware that working on Step Four will most likely be the most painful work you will do in your recovery from trauma.

This step entails recording the incidences of resentment that may have their roots in your traumatic experiences, the anger you may have never been aware of until now, the specific parts of your life that these resentments affected and how you have been responding up until now. You dredge this all up and, re-experience those original feelings that you have most likely long-avoided to move beyond places where you may be stuck.

Next quarter, we will discuss how to use the pain you experienced in your toxic relationship as a tool for change. 
*  *  *
Rivka A. Edery, MSW, LCSW, (RivkaEdery.com) is a highly intuitive licensed clinical social worker specializing in trauma recovery and spirituality. Her books include Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide and Hear Me Sing, Book I.
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