Every time I read through Step Four in the 12 &12 at a meeting, I kinda wind up thinking: “Oh, I could have done the last inventory better.”
Deciphering the sidebar notes I scribble on the side — the counsel other AA’s share — remind me: there is no time like to present to assess any habits, hurts or hang-ups.
For me, COVID-19, etc. has been like a seemingly insane fog —clouding over relationships, revising many choices I never thought about making. But this fog — just like feelings— will not kill me — unless I drink over it.
No fog is ever so dark a drink will lighten it up.
When I read through Step Four this time, when the boundaries of my life are still not expanding, I need the perception correctors I recorded like this:
If I can’t change my circumstances, am I willing to be changed so that I can live in my circumstances?
Willingness is always the key — 24 hours, days, months or years; how willing am I to be changed ?
Another perception corrector: don’t take anybody’s inventory but my own— it won’t change them, that’s for sure!
Such a simple suggestion —
However, since March 2020, do you know how many inventories FOR OTHER PEOPLE I have started?!
So, it was good to read this from page 47 of the 12&12:
But in AA we slowly learned that something had to be done with our vengeful resentments, self-pity and unwarranted pride . . . We learned that if we are seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.
Bless them, Lord; change me.
Still another perception corrector is equally simple:
If there is no change — there is no change.
By God’s grace and working the steps —especially STEP FOUR — we can grow beyond self-aggrandizement and self —rejection.
Two voices compete for our hearts’ attention: one is from within, the one of self-loathing, self-rejection, self deprecation; the other is the voice of the Lord, who says we’re precious and honored and loved. May we have the courage to reject the voice within and listen instead to the voice of the Lord. (Henri J. M. Nouwen, Faith That Matters, page 45)
Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other people in your place
and other nations in exchange for your life. (Isaiah 43:4)
Thanks for reading — Please share your thoughts on lessons you’ve learned from Step Four.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful
P.S. Several AA’s emphasized don’t fret over when to take the Fourth Step — it comes shortly after we turn the control of our will and lives to the our Higher Power. Take All the Time You Need — But Hurry Up