Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.



STEP FOUR, PART 2

Hi friends.

My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater. Just a reminder: all the things I write are my personal ESH and interpretation. I don't invent anything new here, since all the needed material about taking the steps is written in the Big Book. I also don't represent anyone except myself. I write and share about myself, the way I understand the steps and the way I work the steps.

Before I continue with step 4, I want to remind myself of the daily work implied by taking steps 1-3. Daily work means every single day. This should be incorporated into my daily routine like brushing my teeth, or some other action that I take regularly.


DAILY WORK:

1. Having a daily food plan. Which means a definite number of modest meals with nothing in between and no trigger foods. Modest may mean weighing and measuring.

2. Committing to H.P., to myself and to another human being to stay abstinent for that day.

3. Talking to H.P. on a regular daily basis, asking for guidance, and thanking H.P. for His help.


SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR REGULAR ACTIONS:

1. Go to at least one f2f meeting a week.

2. Give service at the meetings, and in the Recovery Group.

3. Read the Big Book on a daily basis. Just pick a page or more and read them.

When you want to know why you have problems, read pages 60-62.

When you want to know some of the things you can do about them on a daily basis, read pages 84-88.

4. Write a letter to H.P. on a daily basis, telling H.P. your problems and asking for guidance. Writing is very important, because usually my head (my thoughts) is wandering in the past or the future while my body is in the present. This causes a lot of tension and fears. One way to bring my head back to the present is by writing, since then I think and act harmoniously in the present, and what better thing to write than a letter to my H.P.?

Now let us return to our step 4. First a few remarks.

Someone asked me if she can put herself, too, in the list of people she resents. Well, we can do anything we want, but the question is the following. "Is it part of the recovery program as written in the Big Book or in the A.A. 12&12?"

My sponsor called the Big Book, his garbage sifter. If someone said that something is the program or part of the program, he would ask him where it was written in the Big Book or the A.A. 12&12.

If it was not written there, it was not the 12 step program.

According to the Big Book we list only other people in the resentment list, and in other lists we write only other people we have harmed and not ourselves. Therefore I suggest not to add myself to my resentment list.

First do the steps according to the Big Book, and if you reach step 12 and you still resent yourself, then try taking the steps some other way.

But first give the Big Book way its chance.

There are a lot of customs and ideas floating around in our fellowship that have nothing to do with the 12 step program and just confuse the issue.

Some of those ideas for example are:

90 meetings in 90 days, think your way around the first bite, I have to make amends to myself in the ninth step, I have to write myself as one of the people I have hurt or as one of the persons I resent.

The fact that I don't really love myself or that I cannot stand myself to such a degree that I have suicidal thoughts, or that I resent myself or even that I hurt myself, is not part of step 4 according to the Big Book.

People ask: "But then how can I forgive myself?" or "Make amends to myself?" or "Get rid of all my bad feelings about myself?"

My personal answer is that dealing with MY emotional problems in such a way is in the domain of the psychiatrists or psychologists. The purpose of this program is to develop a conscious contact with H.P., have a spiritual experience, and thus be freed of my obsession with food, and continue to develop and progress spiritually on a daily basis. An important part of this is getting out of myself and carrying the message of recovery by a spiritual awakening to other compulsive eaters.

The fact is that therapy may help us in a lot of areas but it didn't help any of us with our compulsive eating, otherwise we would not be here. We have to understand that the12 step program is a spiritual program, not an emotional therapy program. The way we get to feel better about ourselves in this program is by turning to H.P. in all things, and by removing the things that block us from him.

When we do steps 4-9, we clean up our wreckage of the past by getting rid of resentments to others, by making amends to others, and by strengthening our faith in H.P., and thus overcoming fears. Then we feel a lot better about ourselves. When we continue working steps 10-12 on a daily basis, we develop our love and tolerance to others and to ourselves. The way to make amends to ourselves is to work the steps. The way to forgive ourselves is to work the steps. The way to forgive myself and make amends to myself is to have a spiritual awakening and then feel and know that God loves me and has forgiven me for everything.

How do I know that? Because I feel good with my conscious contact with H.P., because my obsession with food was removed, and because I get real joy in working with others.

Now let us turn our attention to something more "technical" in our fourth step table. If we look at the example of a resentment table on page 65, we can ask ourselves how was it filled? By the lines, or by the columns? Do we first finish all we have to write in column one, and then go over and finish all we have to write in column two etc.? Or do we fill all three columns for the first person and only then fill all three columns for the second person etc.?

We may turn to the big book for an answer.

"We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. [period]

"We asked ourselves why we were angry. [period]..." page 64.

So the way it was written strongly suggests that we deal with each issue till it is finished and only then go over to the next one. This means filling the first column first and only when I am finished with it, going to the second column etc.

I think the reason is as follows: we are not meant to relive our past in step 4, and get all upset again, which will usually happen if I fill the table by the lines. We are meant to be as detached as can be, and observe our stumbling blocks in order to deal with the solution. We don't want to wallow in the problem again, but to get a picture that will help us take action to get out of it.

Filling the table by the columns makes us concentrate on one point at a time instead of one person at a time and thus helps us to remain more detached.

Now at last we return to our resentment table and the second column. In the second column we write why we resent those people institutions and principles. We write a few of the most important reasons and we write them very shortly, in what I call bullet sentences, short and to the point.

To get a feeling of this let us look at the example on page 65.

Why does he resent Mr. Brown?
His attention to my wife.
Told my wife of my mistress.
Brown may get my job at the office.


He could write volumes about each cause, and even make it into a six-hour movie. But we don't do it this way. An inventory is not a biography and is not a history. What we write here are just pointers or memory triggers, that give us the essence of things.


INTO ACTION AND SHARING SUBJECTS:

A. Share about the daily work you are doing which results from taking steps 1-3, and how it affects your life.

1. Having a daily food plan, which means a definite number of modest meals with nothing in between and no trigger foods. Modest may mean weighing and measuring.

2. Committing to H.P., to myself and to another human being to stay abstinent for that day.

3. Talking to H.P. on a regular daily basis, asking for guidance, and thanking H.P. for His help.

B. Which of the following suggestions are you carrying out on a daily basis and how does it affect your life?

If you are not carrying out some of those suggestions or all of them, then are you going to begin carrying them out? When?

1. Go to at least one f2f meeting a week.

2. Give service at the meeting, and in the Recovery group.

3. Read the Big Book on a daily basis, just pick a page or more and read them.

When you want to know why you have problems, read pages 60-62.

When you want to know some of the things you can do about them on a daily basis read, pages 84-88.

4. Write a letter to H.P. on a daily basis, telling H.P. your problems and asking for guidance.

C. FILLING THE SECOND COLUMN OF THE RESENTMENT TABLE.

The heading of the second column of your resentment table should be "The Cause." Fill this column from top to bottom after you have filled the first column. Write down about two to four primary causes for each resentment. Remember to use bullet sentences and be brief. Just follow the example of the Big Book on page 65.

Share with us the first and second columns of four persons. Share only on those you can share to the loop, since some of your entries may be too private to be shared in this forum.

Share how you feel after filling the second column.

Have a nice day.
Shlomo



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