This whole process might sound terrifying and complicated, but it is not. There is a very clear-cut method for reviewing our lives, which is outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Many of us like to overcomplicate this process by writing novels about our lives and getting bogged down in the messy storylines of our pasts. This is not necessary.
An inventory is a list. A bulleted list. An organized list. And the Big Book tells you exactly how to do it.
The Fourth Step process begins with an inventory of our resentments. First, we get out some sheets of paper and we draw four columns.
In the first column, leaving ample space between each name, we write down the people in our lives who we are resentful at. This means we write down anyone (or anything — such as institutions) we are angry at, or that we feel hurt by. A good way to tell who we should write down in our resentments list is to gauge how we feel when we think of this person or situation. If, when we think about it, we have a negative emotional reaction of any kind — anger, sadness, disgust, shame, guilt, rage — we should write down their name.
The next step is to write down, in the second column, exactly what that person did. You need not write the entire story. You remember what happened or you wouldn’t be writing it down. And, chances are it is a story you have played on mental repeat many, many times. So no overwriting. Merely jot down a bulleted list of what that particular person did to make you feel angry or hurt.