Step Four

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




Step 4: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

Dear Friends,

Now we get down to the nitty gritty. The fearlessness and honesty with which we fill in these last three columns will make all the difference in the world.

Part 4, is dealing with two columns: column 4 and column 5
the 4th column is "Where was I" (defects from resentments)
The firth column is: "What was I afraid of."
Do the 4th column first and then come back to the instructions and do the 5th column.

I am resentful at: The Cause: (Why are we angry?) Affects My: Where was I: What was I afraid of:  

I just want to say ..."hang in there." When I was completely through with both of these columns, I was shaking my head and smiling. I felt power come into me, the power of taking responsibility and seeing things from a perspective that was very different from before. I was no longer able to see myself as just a "victim."

The fourth column: "Where was I"? or "What was my part" has a specific list of defects for each of our resentments. You can use the whole word or abbreviate it.

Selfish (S)

Self-Centered (SC)

Inconsiderate (I)

Deceitful (D)

Fearful (F)

Remember this is not only where I was at the time, but what defect came about as a result of this resentment.

Some of this was hard for me because as it turned out, I was in heavy duty denial. I knew stuff that I did because I was afraid not to, and since I already knew myself as fear based that wasn't hard. By this time in my fourth step, I was aware of how I was so very self-centered because I believed everything had to do with me me me and me. But I did not see myself as a liar (deceitful) or selfish or inconsiderate.

I looked up selfish in the dictionary and got honest about it. I didn't like it at first but then as I went down the list and saw that this really was a big part of my life...I had to laugh...the truth has that effect sometimes. As for inconsiderate....I was sure I was never inconsiderate. I wrote my sponsor and informed him of this fact. He wrote back that he supposed it was possible to have this trait so embedded in our subconscious that we simply couldn't see it. .. (or something to that effect). I was annoyed with this response. I put my fourth step down and came back the next day or two. I realized that I was one of the the most inconsiderate people I have ever known (or not known until now).

As for deceitful, I didn't even bother talking to my sponsor about this because I had a reputation for being honest. LOL......I decided to prove this by going through my list of resentments very carefully (honestly). Need I say more. I had a bunch of deceitful's on my list.

I will tell you this in complete honesty....the feeling of getting honest with myself in my fourth step brought about a relief I can not put in words. It wasn't such a big deal, I was just another human being. My feeling of connection to people, places and things began with this part of the fourth step. I was not unique in my dis-ease I was like everyone else. Sometimes not quite as defective and sometimes more so.


Column 5: "What was I afraid of"

I looked at my "cause" column and I took each resentment (cause) and put into words what it was I was afraid of.

In the AA Big Book, Mr Brown was afraid he would lose his wife. etc. etc.

This column was looking at what was going on with me more clearly. I found that my fears were things such as:

"If I didn't do what he said he wouldn't love me."
"He doesn't love me anymore"
"I'm afraid I am a bad mother"
"I will lose and she will win."
"I'm afriad I look like a jerk."
"I made a mistake and it will ruin my life."
"I'll never be okay."
"I will never be happy."
"I am manipulative and so it's all my fault."
"I will get hit"
"I will go to jail."
"I can't keep a friend."
etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

I got real honest with my fears and I felt compassion for myself as I never did before. I cried some and laughed some and in the end I felt I had taken back a little bit more of my life, my fears did not have to run me. I was putting them on paper and they were out in the open and most of them had nothing to do with the reality of today. In fact, I can honestly say that none of them had to do with me in the present moment.

If you need to talk, I am an email away. If you need to talk in person, my phone number is: (909) 338-3026

Step 4 part 5 - Friday, November 1st.

I was able to do this rather quickly and then I went back over it the next day or so to make sure that I had been thorough with how I had been affected. It was interesting for me to note that my pride and emotional security seemed to be on the line in just about everything. I didn't try to analyze anything I just took note of how people, places and things had affected me throughout my life. With this column I was able to see the enormous amount of power I gave to people and events. And how fragile I had allowed myself to become.

Step 4 part 4 will be sent out on Sunday, October 27th.



1) Are you moving right along? If you feel stuck, what can you do to help yourself finish these columns?

2) What was filling out the 4th column like for you. Did you feel that some of the defects as listed did not apply to you? Were you able to set the work aside for a bit and come back and realize you had been in denial?

3) Did you feel empowered by looking at your own side of the street?

4) Can you feel compassion for yourself when looking at your fears?

5) Can you see how old fears are holding you back? Do you see how they have nothing to do with the present?

6) List at least five things about yourself that you love (assets). The more the better.

7) List three things you are grateful for at this time in your recovery.

All my love,

"What happens to you does not matter: What you BECOME through those experiences is all that is significant. This is the true MEANING of life."


Step Three

Step Five

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