Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.



Step Four Essay

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This step has nothing to do with naval gazing. It has everything to do with housekeeping. Having come to some kind of understand of Higher Power, who can help us if asked, we now prepare for finding and eventually getting rid of the things that have become ingrained bad habits for us. Of course, the most obvious bad habit has been our eating. But there is also resentment, rage, and other such out of control portions of our lives.

At this time it is also important to flag the good things we are and do, for once we have found the ones that hinder us from recovery, we will need to build on the things that do not hinder us.

There are many ways to work the fourth step. The Big Book has a method; the OA 12&12 has a method, as does the accompanying 12 Step Workbook. And there is the Red Book, popular with many AA's, and several good proprietary books on the market.

The most important thing is to "just do it." Long or short, profound or simple, even incomplete in the sense that we are only beginning, and have more to learn. And all of us are beginners, every morning of every day.

I will specifically ask questions that deal with the process of Step Four, but not the content of your writings. Step Five will be even briefer, because it is so much an action step that there is nothing to write to WTS about. You do that one with a single person, whether face to face, or over the net, or one the phone, or by mail. So do not be afraid of doing these steps as we will outline them here. An honest confession is good for the soul, but it does not have to be public one.

Remember that there are any number of resources for doing a good Fourth Step. My questions are among the least of these, but I offer them in the spirit of love and recovery.


Step Four Questions

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

1. Consider the variety of aides you have to working this step. Which one will you use, do you think?

2. Are you willing to be as thorough in this step as you know how to be?

3. There is a saying, that some people may have years of abstinence, and hardly one day of recovery. Can you see how this saying might apply to finishing this step and all the rest?

4. We also note the phenomenon which we in the trade call "fat serenity," the belief that we can find recovery or at least serenity, without any abstinence at all, or very little. This step begins a process which requires a clear head and willingness to search in places where we really might not lake to go. How does this apply to the step?

5. Are you willing to take hope from the Steps 6 and 7, which are to come, that horrific, scary, humiliating, as some of our stuff may be, our Higher Power can and will remove all these terrible feelings from our lives? Can you see where we are going right now with this work? Are you ready and willing to go there?

6. Be thinking about the person you will share your wrings with. Do not share them on the loop. You will be asked to share only with one other person. Be thinking about, maybe asking someone, to be there for you when this time comes. Sponsor, friend, therapist, religious leader, whatever.

7. Remember, make a list of some of the good things we are and have done as well as the other things. Even as we wish to have God remove our defects, we know that we will have to build on our strengths, and we need to know them just as well. This part can also be scary for some people. To make it less so, you may need to come to appreciate yourself more. Are you willing to go here, too? Just listing our vices is not enough. Some people enjoy listing their vices.



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