Dear Fellow Travelers,
Step Four Essay
Throw a big net over all the people who have been worried about this simple step because they choose to listen to horror stories, and those who choose to live in fear of the unknown. For all of Your compulsive people, let's look at step four.
First of all congratulations for being here, and the only way to get here is by taking the first three steps or perhaps they took you - works either way for me. You have admitted that once you take that first compulsive bite, the power to stop is not available, and your life is unmanageable in most if not all areas. You have admitted that there is a power greater than you and that power could restore your sanity. So far so good. Then there was that hoopla, that leap of faith wherein you decided that all else had failed so what the hell, let go and let God, as you understand God. Up till this point all has been pretty simple and looking back fairly easy. This will be also.
There has never been a death reported from taking a fearless and thorough moral inventory. Step three is perhaps the most important decision of your entire life because from here on, You walk hand in hand with your God. Fear no evil.
Why is this 4th step necessary? Well don't think I'm not going to tell you. We, all of you, God, and your sponsors, are going to look at the business of your life. The suggestions given here are just that - suggestions. The only wrong way to do this inventory is to not do it at all. Some of these suggestions are much stronger than others. For instance, an inventory must be written, why you ask? Because we are very good at bullspitting ourselves, but the written word comes out effortlessly and truthfully, once started. I don't know why; it just does. As the only person this will benefit is the writer, it pays to be honest and to remember things that belong in the inventory will be left out.
Why? Because at this stage of our fragile recovery, God in His wisdom, knows how much we can handle. So if you write it you can handle it. Those things omitted will pop up at a later date, sometimes years later. Some things might be included, however do not belong in an inventory. I've not seen one, yet. We are here to make an honest appraisal of both our good and not so good parts. At this point, I'm forever grateful to the old wise guy who said "ain't poboby nerfect." We are going to distinguish between those traits we ought to keep and those we need the God of our understanding to change. This might be a good place to remember we do this while HP is holding our hand and a prayer every now and then might help.
Do not be in awe of the enormity of all this. Just get the first word onto paper. The only hard part of this is getting started. Once you begin, there will be, I promise you, a feeling of well being not felt since childhood, if then. This then is an adventure in self-discovery. Enjoy it. Do not allow fear to stop you! God is on your side.
For those of you who have the OA 12&12 it is time to smile. Go to page 34 and when you notice those lines which are italicized, just check off those that pertain to you. After the check off, write on a pad or in a notebook your inventory. Please do not post any of this 4th step inventory to the WTS loop or any other, as that is 5th step work. Just tell us how it is going along. Or ask questions. Especially tell at least one of us if you are hung up on any topic. Do not start to fret about the 5th step, that may be done, if at all, next week.
Now for all those who wondered why the writer gets preachy about the
OA 12&12, this is why. However, here we turn to our basic textbook for living, the BB of AA. Page 65 has an excellent outline of how to do a 4th step. No BB, then do the PRAGGLE method of Pride, Resentment, Anger, Gluttony, Greed, Lust and last but not least Envy.
God of mine please wrap Your loving arms around these suffering people so they may feel the serenity that will be theirs every day for the rest of their lives. This then, my fellows, is the beginning of the end.
AND WHY NOT......Danny