If there’s one thing that probably troubles me the most in living out a life of sobriety and recovery from addiction is when someone else, who’s also living the same starts taking my inventory. If you don’t know what that means, then you’ll probably relate to its Biblical counterpart that can be found in Matthew 7:3 where Jesus once said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Why I bring this up today stems directly from an incident that happened during the Christmas holidays while visiting my sister’s family. One of my favorite things to enjoy on Christmas Day is a dessert my mother prepared for our family as far back as I can remember. The dessert’s called “Grasshopper Pie”. What I didn’t know back then was that the pie contained a few tablespoons of alcohol within it. And while I do know that now, I still enjoy having a single slice of it whenever it’s made, because it’s a family tradition and something I absolutely am not attempting to consume to get any type of high or buzz. Yet, unfortunately, my decision to go ahead and eat it seemed to cause a stir within my sister’s husband who opted to tell me that I needed to call my sponsor if I was going to enjoy my annual favorite. He also said I’d need to change my sobriety date and continued to share his opinion on the matter for a good while.
So how did I handle it? I told my brother-in-law that I was ok with my decision to still consume the dessert and ok with my recovery program as well. What I really wanted to say though, was that he needed to take his own inventory. But, I felt that would have sounded rather confrontational, which is the last thing I wanted to happen, especially for my sister’s benefit, so I held my tongue.
Nevertheless, many people in recovery take each other’s inventory every day, some quite oblivious to how often they do it too! Unfortunately, I too have been guilty of it at times, yet it’s something I’m far more aware of these days. I realized in recent years that I need to keep the focus on myself and work on the things I can change within me, even when I see someone doing behaviors that I might not agree with.
That being said, I had a big struggle with this just last week when I opted to confront one of my friends because they continue to be dishonest with their sobriety, both to themselves and their partner, and have been for many years now. I judged them and took their inventory, when the best thing I could have done was hold my tongue and continue to pray for them as I have been. While it is true how I felt, I was disappointed in how I handled things and didn’t feel very good about myself afterward.
In light of that, I recognized there are specifically two different type of scenarios where I’ve taken someone else’s inventory. One stems from when I too am engaging in the same type of behavior I’m judging in them, but I don’t want to look in the mirror and acknowledge I’m doing it as well. The other? Well that’s a little more complicated and stems from the ongoing health issues I’m continuing to battle in life. You see, there are days like the day I confronted this friend, where I allow my physical pain levels to control my actions. Where I allow my frustration with the fact I’m doing my absolute best to live a healthy, honest, integrity-based life and still suffer so greatly, when others seem to be doing whatever they feel like and not having any consequences from their actions.
Even still, I know it’s not right of me to judge anyone, regardless of my level of pain, because we are all flawed and I believe only God should be the one to judge any of us really. And of course, none of us ultimately like anyone taking our inventory and judging us, so shouldn’t we remember that the next time we find ourselves doing so?
Bottom line. Don’t take someone else’s inventory! Instead, look at your own…wise words I know I need to continue practicing…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson