Slip Inventory Explanation: Steps to a Slip Inventory

A “food slip” begins with a spiritual disconnection (from being in “fit spiritual condition”); followed by emotional disconnection (trying to be the “director” and control events); and then the obsession (false craving) with food, which leads to addictive eating.

Recognizing that a slip begins long before the food is eaten, this tool will help you identify what happened at each stage, so that you can learn to back out of relapse. Of course, if you don’t do your 12 Step work, the food slips will continue to happen until you are in full relapse. This is not a program of slip inventories! If you are in full relapse, you need to do First Step writing.

It’s important to do this within the first 24/48 hours of the slip. Otherwise, details that are already difficult to recall will disappear entirely into the food addict’s thinking. The longer you wait, the more blurry the details become. This is part of a food addict’s “strange mental blank spots.” It’s easier to slip into denial when we don’t remember what we were thinking and how we felt.

  1. Select lined paper and write on every third line. You will be putting in other details later. Write a story of what happened leading up to your slip, starting at least four hours before it happened.
  2. Write about the slip as if you were holding a movie camera on yourself. Your actions, thoughts and feelings should be included, right up to “and then I ate…”
  3. Identify where the “emotional relapse” happened. When did you get angry, start obsessing, try to control a situation, feel overwhelmed by fear. Write the feelings on the empty lines. You may need another food addict to help you with this.
  4. What were the lies you told yourself so that you could eat? “It’s only one bite.” “I’ll start tomorrow.” “It’s my last chance to eat something yummy.” “Oh, screw it; I’m going to have what want.”
  5. After that, identify the spiritual disconnection. Did you have a connection to your Higher Power that morning? How long ago did you lose it? That’s when your slip really began.
  6. Read this inventory to two other abstinent food addicts, in addition to your sponsor. You need abstinent people to help you through the blank spots and denial. People that are still in the food are not clear enough to help you.
  7. Write out your plan for how to address the situation the next time it happens (AND IT WILL.)
  8. Finally, what is the spiritual lesson in your slip?

© Phil Werdell & AEH 2008