Are you ready for Step 4? Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Ourselves. Few of us may think we are . . . but working it honestly can be better than a miracle cure.
Taking Steps 1, 2, and 3 have shown us our limitations: powerlessness, unmanageability and yes, insanity. But we have HELP: the infinite personal God who daily guides our steps and meets our needs. So, here we are at the step that we are not keen to take – we don’t want any more guilt!
Step Four is not a guilt trip! It is simply personal housekeeping.
Refresher: Another AA member in a meeting I attend developed a way to start working the Twelve Steps with AA literature. On this step, I have added my suggestions, too. Remember we are making progress – not aiming for perfection! These are suggestions – share them with your sponsor as you work through them; he or she may have other ones to add that will aid your inventory.
Now we can look at the attitudes, actions and ideas that have been hobbling us, and acknowledge the things in our inventory that are worth keeping and developing. Sometimes our worst character defects are aberrations of character strengths.
The AA Big Book suggests three major components that are similar on many of our inventories – and they are topics we sometimes do not wish to discuss: Resentments, Fear, and Sex. But let’s be willing, OK?
Resentments – Read pages 64-67 in the Big Book.
- Write out the name(s) of the people whom you resent.
- Describe your relationship.
- Describe what they did to you, and what you did to them – include what you thought about them, and what you said about them behind their backs.
- Describe in what way they have affected you – past and present, and why. (For example, they affect my self-esteem, pocketbook, ambitions, other personal relationships, including sex and my security, because they . . .)
- Describe where you have been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened.
- Look at yourself and describe what you expected from them and write it down.
Unfulfilled expectations of others create resentments.
- Begin to pray for them and for yourself that you will forgive them and yourself.
Fear: If fear and anxiety are too close for comfort as you describe your fears, please discuss them now with a trusted person who knows God, and loves His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Write out what your most terrible fears are. Be specific about why you are afraid of what. For example. I am afraid of losing all my money, health, loved ones, sanity.
Why are you afraid, if you have taken Step Three?
- Read and read in the Big Book from the bottom of page 67 through 68. What does it say about the solution to fear?
- Here, may I suggest you review the 23rd Psalm? What does the psalmist fear that you do too? What help and hope does the Lord offer the psalmist and you?
Sex. Read pages 68-71 in the Big Book.
- Write out the most significant sexual relationships you have had – real but be honest if imagined relationships through the use and abuse of pornography have affected you. (Your own or others)
- Write out what has degraded, disturbed, or disappointed you. (Read again page 69, the second and third paragraphs – Be honest here about how you behaved.)
- Write out what your ideal for you will be in the future – and here, too I would consult the Scriptures, and a trusted friend or counselor who loves Christ and the Bible.
As you have looked at painful memories, habits, and real hurts, don’t forget to look at the Cross – every single one is nailed to HIS Cross; He paid your debt, and He set you free from the enemy, and from yourself. And no one who has harmed you will escape Him. (Matthew 25:31-48)
That is my Higher Power, dear one – and I am glad to share Him: See Isaiah 53.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful
PS: Maybe this will help, too? Taking the Fear Out of Taking the Fourth Step