Step Four

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



Step Four: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

Dear Friends,

The spiritual principles underlying the 4th Step are courage and also integrity, specifically straightforwardness. Most of us already know that courage is not lack of fear but rather courage in the face of fear. As far as straightforwardness is concerned, keeping our "inventory" simple and direct is the key to the searching (thoroughness) needed in order for us to see OUR patterns that keep repeating themselves, in our lives, in the people we attract and have around us, and in our repeating the same behaviors over and over again. I used to say: "different face, difference place but same old thing."

I had worked a fourth step many times. A bunch of different ways, but it wasn't until I did a simple (not easy) inventory without the frills, excuses, whining, self righteousness, or making it into some kind of therapy, that I was able to actually "see" what had happened and how I kept my past, which had no basis in the present, alive through my repeating the same patterns over and over and over again. Even into my recovery or lack there of.

Another reason I was lax in my thoroughness and fearlessness in past inventories was that I somehow was under the erroneous impression that I would have to make amends to everyone on my grudge list, like my abuser for instance ......WRONG! The Steps are all about setting ourselves free through the grace, help and love of our Higher Power and has nothing to do with continuing any kind of lie through behavior unbecoming the integrity and love of my True Self.

"Courage to change the things I can." Well I can't change the past but I can do something about letting it go and letting it be what it is ...namely......OVER! It's done. Can't go back and change it but I can look at it from where I am now and if I have done my best in taking the first Three Steps, I can look at it from the perspective of my healthy (God's Will) self which is always there, waiting in the wings to take over and BE.

When I finally made the decision to turn my will over to my H.P., a fearless and searching (thorough) inventory was the next right step. I stepped back from my emotions, feeling them, but not giving into them and hiding again....and kept on going. I had surrendered and I kept doing so. I put the Key of Willingness on my 4th Step and opened the door. I decided to "accept" the past for what it was ....the past, and the only "real" power it had over me was the power that "I" gave it. That is, my sick ego that needed it in order to stay alive even though it doomed me in the muck of yesterday 's happenings that killed the aliveness of the present. IGNORANCE. I was stuck in the ignorance that believes that I am a product of what happened to me in the past or what I did (wrongfully) to others and there was no getting away from it because the past is who I (ego) was and is and I made it EVERYTHING....ego....not my true and everlasting Self. I tell you truly.......I thank God from the bottom of my ever loving heart for the gift of this Fourth Step!! It was the beginning of my deliverance from the illusion of MY drama and/or YOUR drama into the life that my H.P. intended.

One Step At A Time.....Patience, Perseverance, Integrity, Courage, ...... Hold these close to your heart as we begin our "fearless and searching moral inventory." For the next three weeks we are Spiritual Warriors.....winning the battle to set our true selves free.

In the following post, I will send instructions for Part One (of 5 parts). Your inventory is private and you will only be sharing that with yourself (as you sluff off the sclaes of denial and fear), and later on in Step 5 with your sponsor, or someone else you trust as well of course with your Higher Power. If you have any questions please feel free to write me privately and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.....which is pretty quickly as most of you who have written me have found out.

After the instructions I will have a few questions which as usual you can post to the group. I feel the power of our WTS Group and I hope you all do as well.

Remember, when we live in spiritual awareness, we live in the present!

all my love,

"When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. ("Alcholics Anonymous" pg. 64).



The healing of our Spiritual Malady begins with our Fourth Step!

We will be writing our inventory as it is done in the AA Big Book.... using columns. If you go to page 63 of the "Alcoholic's Anonymous" you will see three columns. "Alcoholic's Anonymous" can also be found on this website:

We will have 5 columns and a Sixth horizontal column after each resentment. Looking like this (only with much wider margins between each column).

the webmaster took the liberty of making a table to display this for you all.

I am resentful at:          

I wrote out my inventory by hand and then I put each column in "Word Perfect" as I finished it, adjusting the columns as I went along. In the end I sent my sponsor (Step 5) my whole inventory by email since I had an online sponsor. Organizing my inventory this way made everything very clear and was quite an awakening for me.

Although I had completed a number of 4th steps, I decided that I would go all the way back into my childhood once again and put down all resentments again, even if the sting was not there or not there as much .....I wanted to see the pattern and I intuitively knew that this was necessary. (I was right!)

Part One - 1st column:

The First Column will be called: "I am resentful at:" and there we will list all the people, places and things we have a resent toward. A resentment is any person, place or thing that I feel the pang of anger or hurt each time I think of other is

We list people: family members friends, enemies, teachers etc. etc. etc. going all the way back to our childhood until the present. We list institutions: I listed the church of my childhood, the institute of patriarchy (first on my list), the public school system...etc. etc. And things: I listed my disease of Compulsive Overeating. The cost of higher education......etc. etc. etc.

I was thorough and it made a world of difference. I had over 100 people, places and things in my first column.

This is all we do for now.....Step Four part two will be sent on Sunday, 10/20.


Questions for the group:

1) Are you moving right along? If not, what is holding you back? What do you need to do to get started....and finished with this part?

2) Name three people who have been a very positive influence in your life and an institution or two that has been a positive influence in your life. (don't be surprised if some of these are the same as on your grudge list).

3) Name three things you are grateful for:


Step Three

Step Five

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

Copyright 2002 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved