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Many PIRs [people in recovery] also need help establishing healthy relationships.Some PIRs come from unhappy families in which emotional or physical abuse and addiction were common.But the Steps are especially useful if you dating a PIR, because the skills you learn from the Steps may be helpful in your relationship.Step Four asks people to make "a searching and fearless moral inventory" of themselves.

Paul told me that, for him, the easiest part was to remember and list all the people he had harmed.

As the Big Book explains it, a personal inventory works much like a business inventory, similar to when a store owner sorts through his or her goods to see which are salable, which are damaged, and which have to be thrown out.

When PIRs do a personal inventory, they list the things--their thoughts, feelings, character traits, and behaviors--that stand in the way of recovery and those personal strengths that can help in recovery.

Others might become ready to face past traumas such as sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, and they might realize they need professional help to deal with painful and upsetting memories.

If you sense (or know) this is the case with your PIR, it's good to give them some space and lots of tender support and encouragement, remembering that you can't be their therapist, but you can be their friend. Nagy is a college professor, actor, and songwriter.When I mentioned to my friend Mark that I was writing this chapter, he said, "Yikes! " He then proceeded to tell me about his own struggles and achievements as he worked on each of these "relationship" Steps.

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