Spot-checking is the process of stopping a few times each day and asking ourselves how it is going. We think about what we have thought, done, and felt; we are alert to any warning signs of trouble. We watch for the presence of temptation, unsettled emotions, unhealthy thoughts, troubling encounters with others, etc. We check to see if we are slipping into old, destructive patterns.
This is a daily review of what happened and how we dealt with it. We need to stay in touch with our successes and our failures. Where there is failure, we need to assess why and take the appropriate action.
Long-term Periodic Inventory:
This may take the form of a day-long retreat once a year, or a few uninterrupted hours once a month. Our aim is to notice the patterns that have come to characterize our lives.
There is a long tradition in the Christian church of keeping spiritual journals. Such journals are used for reflection and much more. Journals have proved to be a valuable tool for spiritual growth for countless people.
No matter what form our self-inventory may take, the important thing is to stay in touch with what is happening in our lives. In the past we have not done this. We have lived in a fog of denial. We can’t afford to do this again if we are to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the past, we allowed little problems to build up until they were big problems. By means of regular inventory, we prevent this from happening in the future.
It may be more helpful for us, where possible, to do this sort of reflection in the company of others:
Meet regularly with a Spiritual Director. This is a person who is trained in theology and psychology, and who can help us grow as Christians. If we cannot find a trained spiritual director, we can meet with a mature Christian friend who will hold us accountable for our spiritual growth.
A small group can provide an excellent place in which to share and support one another as we struggle to live an addiction-free Christian life.
Doing regular self-inventories may seem like a lot of work, but as Veronica Ray puts it: “If this introspection sounds like too much trouble, remember that our lives depend on it.”
Prayer and Meditation
Step Eleven urges us to pray. Once we are connected to God by means of repentance and faith in Jesus, we need to maintain that contact. We know now that we cannot make it on our own. Willpower is not enough. We need the direction and power of God. Staying free from addictive behavior is a day-by-day matter. Just as we needed God to begin the whole process of recovery, we also need him to sustain that process. We really cannot make it on our own. In the words of Step Eleven, we need “to improve our conscious contact with God.” This is what prayer is all about.
But prayer is not just a means to an end (staying addiction-free). Once launched into the way of Christ, there is a longing to deepen our contact with God. The problem is that prayer is so mysterious and unfamiliar to most of us. We pray, but it is sporadic: when we are in church, at times of crisis, or when we think of it (which is not too often). What we need is to learn how to make prayer a regular practice.
There are many ways to pray. This is a subject that we have covered in past subjects and will cover in future subjects. However, without any instruction, all of us can simply talk to God. We can tell him what is happening to us, where we struggle, why we hurt, how much we love him, what we would like to see changed. We really can talk to God. He is alive. He is personal. And he is powerful. We have experienced his power in freeing us from our addiction. We want to continue on a daily basis to stay in touch with this source of love and power.
- Objective (georgehach.wordpress.com)