In order to keep my program vibrant, I find that I always need to switch things up and try something new. Otherwise, I slide into compliancy, and my program becomes stale.
This is one of my current 10th Step Inventory. I am constantly seeking to find something simple and yet still easily replicable. I am hoping that this can be easily taught and then implemented by the newcomer.
In the early days of program, recovery rates (as reported in the AA BB) were much higher than they are today. It is my belief that in order to recover, we need to develop the habit of doing a daily inventory, practicing prayer, meditation and being of service. Hopefully, this post will make implementing a daily program of recovery easier and more accessible.
How to do an inventory?
Sometimes is it enough to just read the daily review prayer below and just to be mindful of my thoughts, feelings and actions. Other times, I find that I need to do a more involved inventory.
Does an inventory have to be written?
An inventory does not necessarily need to be written down. The healing is in the sharing, not necessarily in the writing. So, when I am disturbed, first I acknowledge it to myself, then I take it to God. If I still have no relief, I share it with another person. Although I find writing helpful, for some people writing creates an impediment. The most important thing is to do it!
The purpose of doing an inventory is not to fuel our mental obsession and our obsession with self. The purpose of doing an inventory IS to become more God-centered and think more often of others and less often about ourselves.
As it says in the AA Big Book:
Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee, Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will. (p. 85, A.A. 4th Edition)
Please try it and let me know how it works for you and your sponsees.
Here is a PDF of our format for our Tenth Step Meeting before our Two Way Prayer group.
God, please set aside everything I think I know about You, everything I think I know about myself, everything I think I know about others, and everything I think I know about my recovery, so I may have an open mind and a new experience with these things and come to know You better. Please help me see the Truth.
Pray for others: God, please bless and help …….
Optional: Today is a new day for me and, with God, it can be a day of abstinence. I know that I am powerless over (say what it is, i.e., my problems & behaviors) and my life can become unmanageable again. Only God, a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. With God I can handle anything. With God, things which I think impossible, are possible. God, please help me to know your will for me today, and give me the willingness to carry it out. Today I humbly turn my will and my life over to Your care.
“God, please show me during the last 24 hours….”
Daily review prayer: God, help me to constructively review my day. Where was I resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do I owe an apology? Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once? Was I kind and loving toward all? What could I have done better? Was I thinking of myself most of the time? Or was I thinking of what I could do for others, of what I could pack into the stream of life? Please forgive me for my harms and wrongs today and let me know what corrective measures I should take. (AA BB; 86:2)
Inventory can be written or shared verbally. Here are some helpful hints.
Abstinence: Was I in a place of neutrality around my problems and behaviors?
Issue: Was I resentful, selfish, dishonest, afraid, inconsiderate, jealous, uncomfortable, anxious, some other feeling?
Cause: What event/activity triggered this feeling?
Affects (Optional): What part of my life is disturbed? self-esteem, pride, ambition, security (financial, emotional, etc.), personal and/or sexual relationships, pocketbook?
Self-esteem “I am ……” XXX makes me feel XXX about/ towards myself
Pride: Others should…No one should …. Others can…
Ambition: I want …” this addresses my demands, desires, expectations. Because of XXX I can’t have XXXX; Because of XXX I am going to lose XXXX
Security (financial, emotional, etc.): I need…. in order to be OK; I fear for my (physical safety/my family’s safety/my physical well-being) because of XXXX
Personal and/or sexual relationships: This resentment makes me feel (cut off/blocked/separated from) XXX; — “A real man…”and/or “A real woman…”
Pocketbook: Because of XXX I can’t have XXXX; Because of XXX I am going to lose XXXX
Selfish: Where was I selfish, i.e., the inability to accept reality? What did I want from the person or situation? What do I want without regard to another person’s wants, needs or capabilities? I was more concerned about getting what I want and disregarded them in this way _____________
Self-seeking: Where/how was I only interested in self-seeking, self-worth or affirmation from others? What did I do, and how did I act in order to get what I wanted? What did I do and how did I act when I did not get what I wanted? What harm did I cause? Because I wanted XXXX to ____________________ I said/did/thought _____________.
Dishonest: Where has my thinking been dishonest about what was going on/happening? What false beliefs or assumptions allowed the resentment/discomfort to develop? What is the lie I tell myself or others? I was in the delusion that… OR I told myself (state the unfounded assumption or belief here) when actually (state what is closer to the truth here).
Fears: What fears do I have that were disturbed by this event or are underlying my behavior during this event? When I am afraid, I am believing _____________ and denying the ultimate/spiritual Truth that ___________. Trusting and relying on God would allow me to _________. (Fill in the blank with what we imagine God could do for us in the context of removing that fear; what we could experience if we were filled with courage and love.)
Truth: What is the truth about what happened? What is my part?
Action/Amends: What action do I need to take? Do I need to make any amends? Do I need to pray, i.e., sick man’s prayer, freedom from bondage prayer, fear prayer, serenity prayer, acceptance prayer, 6th Step Prayer, 7th Step Prayer, 3rd Step prayer, 11th Step Prayer, 12th Step Prayer?
Or, use this Check Mark Inventory
Was I in a place of neutrality around my problems and behaviors? □
Was I resentful? □
Was I selfish? □
Was I self-seeking? □
Was I dishonest? □
Was I afraid? □
Was I prideful (thinking I was better than or less than others? □
Was I jealous? □
Was I envious? □
Was I lazy? □
Did I do anything that I feel guilty or ashamed about? □
Did I withhold forgiveness? □
Do I need to make any amends? □
What should I have done instead? □
Am I willing to trust and rely on God? □
Do I need to pray, i.e., sick man’s prayer, freedom from bondage prayer, fear prayer, serenity prayer, acceptance prayer, 6th Step Prayer, 7th Step Prayer, 3rd Step prayer, 11th Step Prayer, 12th Step Prayer? □
What am I grateful for?
Add these prayers as appropriate:
Sick Man’s Prayer This is a sick person (and/or I am a sick person). God, please help me to show him (and/or myself) the same patience, tolerance, acceptance, and love that I would show any sick person. How can I be helpful to him (and/or myself) – (describe how you can be helpful to the parties). Please, God, save me from being (angry, selfish, resentful, dishonest, afraid, etc.). Your will not mine be done.
Freedom from Bondage Prayer for stubborn resentments. (AA BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552)
God, I take this time to become quiet and pray for _____________. I pray for _____________ to have all that I wish for myself: good health, a loving family, protection over (his/her) loved ones, peaceful moments and the inner knowing that (he/she) is good and enough. I pray that you help me change my thinking about ___________, and become more grateful to (him/her) for coming into my life as a teacher, to help me grow closer to You, God, and thus enlarge my spiritual life.
Please help me to remember that:
Just like me, __________ is seeking some happiness for (his/her) life.
Just like me, __________ is trying to avoid suffering in (his/her) life.
Just like me, __________ has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
Just like me, __________ is seeking to fulfill (his/her) needs.
Just like me, __________ is learning about life.
God, please bless _____________ with peace, good health, security and prosperity.
God, bless ______________ change me.
Fear Prayer I trusted and relied on my finite self to (control my fear of XXX). I can trust and rely on infinite God to (control my fear of XXX). I can trust and rely on infinite God to help me XXX. I can trust and rely on infinite God to direct my attention to what He would have me be: (described what God would have you be).
Serenity Prayer God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will not mine be done!
Acceptance Prayer And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my addiction, I could not stay abstinent, unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes. (AA BB; 417:1, 4th ed.)
6th Step prayer: God, thank you for removing my fear and for showing me the truth about myself. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to others. Today, I pray for freedom from my XXXX behavior and ask that it be replaced with XXXX. (AA BB; 76:1)
7th Step Prayer God, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go from here to do Your bidding. Amen. (AA BB; 76:2)
A Prayer on Awakening: God, please direct my thinking and keep my thoughts divorced from self – pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Please keep my thought life clear from wrong motives and help me employ my mental faculties, that my thought-life might be placed on a higher plane, the plane of inspiration. (AA BB; 86:2)
A 10th Step Prayer for Growth and Effectiveness: God, please help me Watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment and Fear. When these crop up in me, help me to immediately ask You to remove them from me and help me discuss these feelings with someone. God, help me to quickly make amends if I have harmed anyone and help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can help. Help me to be loving and tolerant of everyone today. Amen (AA BB; 84:2)
Tenth Step Amends Prayer God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live Thy will better today. I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do Thy will. (AA BB; 86:1)
A Morning Prayer: God, please show me all through this day, what my next step is to be and please grace me with whatever I need to take care of the problems in my life today. I ask especially that You free me from the bondage of self-will. (AA BB; 87:1)
A Morning Prayer: God, should I find myself agitated, doubtful or indecisive today, please give me inspiration, help me to have an intuitive thought or a decision about this problem I face. Help me not to struggle, instead, help me to relax and take it easy. Help me know what I should do and keep me mindful, that You are running the show. Free me from my bondage of self. Thy will be done always. (AA BB; 86:3)
God, please show me what I can do each day for those who are still sick.
God, I pray to be careful to make no request for myself only. I pray to remember that I may ask for myself, if what I ask for will also help others.
God, I have a problem [say what it is]. I do not know which course to take. Please grant me an inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. God, please help me.
God, all things are possible to You; therefore, if it be Thy will and if what I am asking for will also help others, please grant [say your request at this time]. Nevertheless, Thy will not mine be done in this as in all things. Amen.
Third Step Prayer God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always. (AA BB; 63:2)
Quiet Time God, what is Your will for me today? Stop — Pause — and Listen. At this point of my prayer and meditation practice, I like to also practice 2 Way Prayer or Written Guidance.
Prayers Throughout the Day: Choose 1 or 2
God, please remove my selfishness and all its manifestations such as: dishonesty, resentment and fear. Let me quickly talk to someone so that I can see whether I have harmed anyone. If I have, please guide me to make my amends quickly.
God, please help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can help. Let me use love and tolerance of others as my code.
God, I pray that I not let up on this spiritual program of action. Always let me remember that I am not cured of my problems or behaviors. Never let me forget that my recovery is contingent upon the maintenance of my fit spiritual condition.
God, I pray to carry the vision of Your will into all my activities every day. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.” I pray that these thoughts go with me constantly.
God, I pray that You grant me the grace to be still whenever I am agitated or doubtful; that You give me the right thought or action. I pray to constantly remember that I am no longer running the show. I pray to humbly say to myself, many times each day, “Thy will be done.”
Eleventh Step Prayer: Grant me knowledge of Your will for me and the power to carry it out.
Twelfth Step Prayer: Dear God, having had a spiritual experience, I must now remember that “faith without works is dead.” And PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much ensures immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. So, God, please help me to carry this message to other alcoholics! Provide me with the guidance and wisdom to talk with another alcoholic because I can help when no one else can. Help me secure his confidence and remember he is ill. (AA BB; 89:1)
For fun, I added the slide show below with most of the prayers listed. I find that sometimes it is helpful to be able to just flip through the pictures, rather than reading a lot of words.
After 10 -15 minutes
Leader: The room is now open for sharing. Does anyone have a burning desire, or need assistance with their inventory?
Everyone is invited to share.
[Tech: if the group is very large, create breakout rooms of 3-4 people.]
Close the group and begin the 2 Way Prayer Group.
I hope that this will be helpful for others! Please share your experience, strength and hope and help carry the message to those who still suffer.
In love and service,
References: below are various PDFs of this post, which is constantly being updated.
Here is the original post as a PDF, no pictures included
I realized that there were some errors in the first post. I have now (as of 7-18-21) updated the inventory and I also added more details in gray, to hopefully help the newcomer.
Here it is with only 3 pages
This is the current post, as of 7-20-2021