Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #1
List the painful experiences you remember from your childhood, up to the age of 12. Tell why these experiences are painful to you and how they affected you as an adult.LEADERS SHARE:
My painful experiences that I can remember from my childhood are:
Feeling rejected and not wanted by anyone. I was always teased and picked on from the 5th grade on. I remember the sadness I experienced as if it happened yesterday because the people who were supposed to protect me were not available. Other children would come up behind me and slap my ears with both hands with my hearing aids on. I would be the last one remaining on the bench when teams were being picked, and the teacher would not let me participate. The teachers made me feel that it was all my fault. My parents were told I was wasting my time going to school and I was taking up a space. I was also made the object of sexual jokes that I really did not fully understand. Other kids would hit me, throw things at me, or spit at me. I reacted as a child by isolating and hiding. I would not do any school work and I basically shut down emotionally because I was so depressed as a child. I thought nobody liked me and nobody would ever want to talk to me. I remember being alone in my bedroom laying on my bed daydreaming all the time and being very sad as a child.
As a child going to school, I would stop at the liquor store to by my high carbohydrate foods for the same reason the person in front of me was buying whiskey or wine. It was my way of coping because I was too young to drink.
These things never came out until my third fourth step inventory about 2 years ago. I remember wanting to cry almost every day as I was doing the childhood and adolescence questions. These childhood experiences made me have a fear of other people's reactions. Also, I had to learn basic self esteem as an adult, because I always thought of myself as worthless. I would never care about myself and thought I never deserved anything good in my life.
Today, these tapes still want to play if I feel that somebody is ignoring me or being rude to me. I need to remind myself that I am a child of god and I have the same right to be here as anybody else!
Do you remember starting school? What were your feelings? Try to remember each successive grade in school and, as you do, write out the resentments you felt towards teachers, pupiils, anyone else. Describe any fights, slights, hurts, embarrassments. Put it down on paper. Did you resent your church, relatives, parents or friends of parents? If so, list your resentments. No resentment is too small to mention. The AA Big Book states, "Resentment is the number one offender."LEADERS SHARE:
I remember my first days of kindergarten. I was confused and alone because I did not know what was going on around me. I learned the skill of modeling myself after others because of my hearing loss. I had a second grade teacher that seemed to have it out for me. She was always punishing me and I could not figure out why. My hearing loss was diagnosed in the fourth grade and I had to wear a hearing aid that had a box strapped to my chest and a wire coming out of my shirt to an earpiece. I remember the shame and embarrassment of having to wear this to school. Before the fifth grade, we moved to a new city and started in a new school. I was teased and picked on a lot because I was different. The teachers did not care and they seemed to look the other way. They did not want me there in school. My parents cared, but they did not know what to do. During my childhood school years, I hated everybody because I felt that I was taken advantage of. I was beaten up, teased, picked on, and spit on by my fellow students. I learned to be a loner and hide to avoid contact with others and to escape the pain through food and fantasy.
I resented my teachers and fellow students for treating me so lousy. My parents did their best but did not know what to do. this feeling always made me feel all alone and unwanted.
List the happy experiences you remember from your childhood, up to the age of 12. Tell why these experiences were happy memories and how they affected you as an adult.
To be honest, it is not easy to think about the happy moments when I rather talk about the negative. But, I really did have some happy times as a child. I remember starting guitar lessons as a child. My parents started me because they did not know what to do. I was always lonely, depressed and isolated as a child and I did not have any friends whatsoever. Another happy moment was transferring from my elementary school to junior high school. Because of the abuse from my fellow students and inattention from my teachers, I just hated everything about the elementary school and thought junior high could only be better. I also remember joining little league baseball only to find that I served in the position as bat boy.
The guitar lessons did have a positive impact on my life. It gave me the gift of music and later learned several other instruments. I even traveled on a concert tour in Europe during my college years. Both the happy and sad moments offer me something to share about to others who have also had similar experiences. This allows me to be of service to God and my fellow human beings.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #4
Were you ashamed of your parents? Were they too old, too fat, too sloppy, too drunk, too whatever? Were you jealous or envious of others? Did you feel you were a coward because you didn't want to fight? Or did you like to fight? Were you a bully? Did you feel embarrassed because anyone made fun of you or avoided you? Did you have friends? What kind of friend were you? What was the most embarrassing incident of adolescence? Were there any others you remember?LEADERS SHARE:
My parents rarely ever left the house and I could not say I was ashamed of them. I was always jealous of others because I thought everybody had more than I did. I always thought of myself as unwanted and less than. I never wanted to fight and I always hid or ran away from possible conflicts. I became afraid of other people's reactions at a very young age. I would rather hide and be by myself rather than a possible confrontation. Other kids during my adolescence always made fun of me and teased me. During high school, people simply avoided me because I could not take it anymore and blew my stack big time during the morning flag salute during the 9th grade and attacked a guy who teased me. I guess my reaction really scared the other kids. I never had any friends during school. I was always alone and isolated. I really did not see much of a future other than plain existence for myself during high school. The most embarrassing incident was during high school when I left my hearing aids turned on in the gym locker during PE class and the gym had to be evacuated because nobody could tell where the sound was coming from. I was always ashamed of the fact that I wore hearing aids. In the end during my high school, I fought back really hard by getting good grades. This was my way of rebelling because I had a sense that I could do it and I saw that the popular kids really did not do that well in class. It was a chance to really prove myself. I graduated with honors and went on to college.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #5
Did you have the kind of clothes that other kids wore? Was there enough money for the things you needed or, if not, were you resentful of that? If there was enough, did you take it too much for granted? Did you feel any sibling got more than you? Write out your adolescent feelings about money. Were you jealous or envious of others? Did you resent not being part of a crowd? Or not being a leader? Or not being "in"? Were you shy or outgoing? Did any particular type of person make you shy? Did you resent leaders, either physical or mental leaders? Did you resent not being the most handsome or beautiful person at school?LEADERS SHARE:
As I look back on my adolescence, I never paid any attention to my appearance. I was so depressed and sad most of the time, I never cared about how I looked. I never felt my siblings got any more or less than me. My parents were concerned but they did not know what to do. They suggested that I drink a bottle of castor oil to lose weight. Looking back on the few pictures I have during that time, I was not overweight.I never seemed to have enough of anything, I thought everybody else had a lot more than me. I was jealous of most other people. I was rejected by most of my fellow students during junior high and high school. I was fortunate that I had a couple teachers who seemed to care about me and encouraged me to move forward. I would sit or walk around all alone every day wishing the bell would hurry up and ring so I could get to class and let the crowds of kids together having fun would have to break up. I deeply resented not being a part of anything or being accepted by others during this period. I did not like the people who were perceived as leaders. Somehow, I thought they were phony on the inside. I really did not care about being the most handsome or beautiful person in school. During that time, I worked at a music store where I was subjected to mental, physical and sexual abuse. Fortunately, the sexual abuse was not physical, but verbal. I would be given sexual terms (i.e., masturbation) as words with totally different meaning. I would say that word thinking it meant something else and everybody would be on the floor laughing at me. Everything I did was wrong and never good enough. The people there told me that I would only be a laborer, nothing more so get used to it. I was called names all the time and made to feel inferior. People at the music store would try to encourage me to get involved with inappropriate sexual behavior. thank god (who was really looking over me), that I did not do that!
This carried into my adulthood because one of the negative feelings that I have is not being accepted. I would say to myself that everybody hates me and nobody likes me. Today, I know there are people who really do like and accept me. During the Easter service today, the pastor pointed out that we are all acceptable to god just as we are. I believe god speaks to me through other people. People are saying things to me about me that I always though of as untrue (i.e., I am compassionate, I have something to offer, and I am accepted here).
My hatred and anger towards others has gone away because I know that there are people that really do care about me.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #6
Were you the kind of child you would want to have? Did you feel uncomfortable because you were superior or inferior to other students? List in detail any homosexual experiences, masturbation fantasies, any other sexual activity you particularly remember. Do not be concerned about whom, when or how often, but with how you felt about the experience and how it affected you today as an adult.LEADERS SHARE:
I was not the kind of child I would want. I am not sure that I would know what do either if placed in my parent's shoes. I remember being outraged and very angry when I found out somebody teased my daughter at school. I always felt inferior to everybody else in all areas of my life. I coped by being in a fantasy world. I never had any physical sexual experiences until my second year of college. However, I had a lot of fantasies. If I acted out in response to the encouragement to engage in sexual conduct during my adolescence, I would have been in a lot of trouble. I was always very shy towards girls and thought none would ever like me, so why bother. The few I ever had a crush on only fueled my low esteem by making fun of me. I remember two that were very cruel to me in high school. She would lead me on for a little then humiliate me in front of other people. My parents never taught me anything about sex, everything I learned was from the gutter, magazines, and bad input from others. I did not even know of homosexuality until college. Homosexuality was, and is, something that I could never see myself involved with. I had a lot of sexual fantasies all throughout high school, which included masturbation. Masturbation was something that I was always very ashamed of and I could not talk about it until my third fourth step inventory about two years ago. Ironically, I had a sponsor that was gay. In this area (sex), I now know God was with me to protect me all the way!
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #7
The questions will now focus on adulthood:
When and how did your selfish pursuit of sexual relations damage other people and yourself? Who was hurt and how badly? Did you spoil your marriage or injure your children? Did you jeopardize your standing in the community? How did you react to the above situations? Did you burn with a guilt that nothing could extinguish? Or did you rationalize that you were the pursued and not the pursuer and thus absolve yourself? How have you reacted to frustration in sexual matters? When denied, did you become vengeful or depressed? Did you take it out on other people? If there was rejection or coldness at home, did you use this as an excuse for promiscuity? Many people who are lonely and don't really know how to love get involved senselessly in sexcapapdes. The temporary loss of loneliness makes one mistake sex for love. When the sex partner is gone, the loneliness is even greater. Have you experienced this?LEADERS SHARE:
I only had sex with two people in my life, a lady I dated in college and my current wife. Because I found out the lady I dated was engaged, I know she used me to satisfy her cravings. I never had sex with anybody else but my wife when we started dating and later got married. the only thing I did in this area was to go to girlie bars, this often made me feel guilty and ashamed. I am one that can feel lonely in a crowd. I was always envious of others who had a sex life that was outgoing and involved many partners. Today, I know from the bottom of my heart that having one partner is the best way to go. The jealousy was from feeling not liked or accepted by anybody. I had numerous opportunities throughout my life to fall of the wagon in this department. I am most grateful that God was with me to keep me straight and out of trouble.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #8
Are you still a baby in your parents' eyes and do you take advantage of this? Are you a baby in the eyes of your spouse? Have your parents gotten you out of trouble that you should have been able to handle yourself? Do you write bad checks? Do you feel that the world owes you a living? Do you gossip about others? Do you think laws are made for other people? Do you think you have the right to make up your own laws as you go along?LEADERS SHARE:
For years, my mother always thought of me as somebody who is less capable than my two brothers because of my disability. After many years, I am the only one who held the same job, remained married to the same spouse, never been in trouble with the law, graduated from a 4 year university, I am now on the same footing as anybody else. Wow, that's a lot just to be equal, but I am used to it in all areas of my life by working twice as hard for half as much. My wife at times will talk down to me, but I need to talk back in a kind way to remind her that I am equal in this world. I really do have a voice and that my opinion really matters. My mother never got me out of trouble because I was always able to work through situations. I do not write bad checks.
The world owes me a living if I work for it. Recovery for me is knowing that I am entitled to equal footing as anybody else and not to accept less. I need to be somebody who will remind others that they will not lose their hearing (because of my hearing aids) if they associate with me. At work, It always seems that I have to do twice as much for one half of the recognition. I have learned that it is ok to take a stand. I am going through a scary period right now because I am challenging my employer for being passed over for promotion for the last 16 years. My case is awaiting to be assigned to a judge who will make the decision. The outcome is completely up to god. Feeling lonely and isolated are not options for me.
Because I been on the receiving end of gossip and rumors, I make a concerted effort not to do the same. I remember that I should not deal with bad with bad. But rather, I conduct myself in such a way that people will see me as honorable. Though mean spirited people will never treat me with respect, I must keep my side of the street clean.
Laws are for everybody. I dislike people who intentionally break laws for show. If I feel that a law is wrong, I write a letter to somebody who can make a difference, such as an elected public official.
One final comment, I know deep down in my heart that I am equal among all of God's children. To God, I really do matter just as the people around me also matter. If others treat me as less than, I pray about my feelings and turn them over to God because I am really equal.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #9
If revenge were possible right now, who would be the top people on your list? Why? What are your present feelings about sex, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, your children, spouse, your intimate friends, and your job? What are your feelings about finances, about your marital status, about being a compulsive eater? How much time do you spend with your family? With program? What is your greatest fear? Are you ashamed of your body or of the way you look? What do you dislike about your body? Are you proud of your body and of the way you look? What do you like about your body?LEADERS SHARE:
My revenge list right now includes a manager at another office who never misses an opportunity to attack me in front of my own management. She puts down my work and the work of those who work for me. Living by principles is not easy when others do not. This person made a sexual advance on me during the 1980 which I flatly rejected. Living by the principles of this program and my faith (Christian) at times will cause others to become enemies. A guy in my Tuesday nigh step study gives me encouragement by affirming to me that in program we talk about holding ourselves accountable and it's ok to hold others accountable for their actions. I know her attacks are probably a reaction to my action against my employer for not promoting me over the last 16 years. People are not comfortable with giving a hearing impaired person like me any real recognition, unless they live by the principles of this program and/or their faith. Sex is something I do enjoy, but I only do it with my spouse. as earlier shared, I only had intercourse with two women in my entire life, a lady whom used me before meeting my current wife. My parents used to think of me as less than because of my disability. Now because I have helped them so much, over my brother, my mother no longer looks down to me. My only living brother looks up to me now because I am very stable with family and career and seem to have my life on track. My older brother, when he was alive, never talked to me much. He even made fun of me and my family when I served Easter dinner one year while he was drunk. I resented that and I was hurt very deeply for a long time. My wife tends to overtalk me during a conversation by not allowing me to speak. This is an area that I need to work on because the issue is cultural. I have to assert myself that I am not less than others because of my disability and that I do have a voice. I finally got to her that charging over $20,000 on the credit cards during the last year is not acceptable because she does not care how it's paid off. We are fortunate because of my income level that she does not need to work, but she may need to if the charges do not stop. I really enjoy what I do for a living, supervising a professional staff of eight auditors. Also, I have a side business as a CPA and notary public. I just do not like the office politics that take place.
My finances, except for the credit cards, are ok with me. I am happy to be married and I am not ashamed of the fact that I have two children with developmental disabilities. Yesterday, volunteered to buy food items for secretaries day yesterday. One of the items was a dessert item that is a country mile off my food plan. I am grateful that I know I am a COE because I was not tempted to have a piece of that item. I have a very good employee who works for me that I know is a COE. I am sharing my program with her hoping that she will find herself at meetings. Between program, church, and volunteer activities, I am always busy. I volunteer my time with an organization that helps people with mental retardation. I am starting the process of setting up a program for my oldest daughter so she can live independently in spite of her developmental disability.
My greatest fear is financial insecurity. One day at a time, that fear is lifted by God.
I used to always be ashamed of the fact I wear hearing aids. I used to be embarrassed to be around other people and admitting that I have a (70%) hearing impairment. I am uncomfortable being in the nude at any time, even when I am alone. My parents used to make fun of me when I was naked as a young boy and this made me uncomfortable as an adult. The one think I like about my body is that I am in reasonably good health. I have not, and never will, try to make the cover of the "Muscle and Fitness" magazine.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #10
What are the other things about yourself that you are ashamed of or proud of? Do you use people to get what you want? Do you gossip or perform character assassination in order to succeed in the social or business world? Or do you do this in an effort to feel superior to others? Have you ever stolen? Don't forget to include an employer's time. Do you have a pattern of getting sick? Do you use illness as an excuse to avoid responsibilities, to get attention or sympathy, or to get out of a jam? What are your resentments toward bosses and co-workers? Do you feel jealous of them? List all the negative feelings you have about the people in your work life. Are you concerned that others in your office will get more money or prestige than you? Are you indifferent and careless of your job? Do you think you should be boss? Do you think because of your weight changes the expectations of your boss, your co-workers, your family or your friends change?LEADERS SHARE:
I used to be ashamed about my hearing impairment and the fact that I wear hearing aids. I am proud of the fact that I was able to make the accomplishments that I have been able to make in my life. I do not use people at work to get my way because I am the supervisor. Since joining recovery, I make every attempt to stay out of gossip. some people that work for me are gossipers, I take the information as a grain of salt. Because I have a fear of the law, I never stolen. I am mindful of giving my employer a full day's work each day at work. I practice leadership by example because I expect the people who work for me to do the same. I am guilty of not taking sick time when I should. I would come to work with a cold and infect the others in the office. I know I should stay home, but I feel responsible to come in to work no matter what. I tend to resent those who do political attacks against me and the people who work for me. The resentment does not last long because the program tells me that the resentment will take me back to the food. I have one person that works for me that tends to take advantage of me and encourages the other members of my team to do the same. I sent him on a long term temporary assignment to get things back into control. I have documented this in his file and did the same for another. Because I been taken advantage of so much in my life, this is one button that get me going every time! I am learning, one day at a time, as a supervisor to deal with this in a professional manner and hold the individual(s) accountable for their actions. I am never included in many things at work. Even in my prior assignment where everybody was at the same grade level, or higher, I was seldom invited to lunch or other social activities. As a supervisor, I am considered management and separate from the people who work for me or the other supervisor. However, when I buy lunch off site when by myself, I order the food to go and bring it back to the office and eat in the lunch room. One commitment to myself is not to isolate my self or allow myself to be isolated. Because I am management, I do get the largest paycheck in my office and get to attend all of the important meetings. Of course, this comes at a much greater responsibility of which I cheerfully accept. Being a supervisor is very important for me because I have been put down so much because of my hearing aids and this is one of my crown jewels of my life accomplishments. I am currently trying to be promoted from supervisor to manager, but I am facing the same hurdles that I faced in 1985 when I was first promoted to supervisor. My weight really does not impact how I am seen because I am in management. However, outside of work, my weight really changes other people's perceptions about me.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #11
How do you feel about your spouse and children? Are your spouse or children living up to your expectations? What are your expectations? Are they unreasonable? How do you think you would be different if they were out of your life? Do you feel that no one really understands you? Do you feel different from or apart from other members in the program? Do you feel superior or inferior? Do you avoid looking at yourself by comparing yourself to others? For example, do you say, "At least I'm not as bad as that person," or "At least I'm not that color," or "At least I'm not that flaky?" Do you judge or make fun of people who appear to be less fortunate mentally, physically, or morally than you think you are? Do you cause yourself to suffer by comparing yourself to people who are further along in the program than you, or people who are talented in areas you are not? The only person you can adequately compare yourself to is you. How were you five days ago, five weeks ago, five months ago, at your first meeting? How are you now?LEADERS SHARE:
My wife just racked up $25 thousand in credit card charges in the last year. I was expected to be able to put away the massive number of holiday decorations within the same space in the garage on a scheduled amount of time. A person in program over 20 years ago suggested that she try to schedule everything I do to give me time limits on all activities. My children are disabled and I am always ensuring that they get the services and supports that they need. Things would only improve if I take care of myself and treat myself well. They really do not have the same control as they used to because of program. There are many people who understand me. I have learned not to focus on those who do not understand me. There are some f2f meetings that I do not attend because many of the regulars at those meetings have their own "club." The meeting secretary used to call me at 6:30 in the morning to give me direct orders. Because we are all trusted servants and do not govern, I announced at the meeting that I do not take orders.
I always compared myself to others and thought everybody is better than me. I would compare my work to others and discount everything I did. Part of being told that I was nothing and worthless as I was growing up made me feel inferior to everybody else in the world. There are people who are farther along in program than myself. However, I do not compare my recovery to theirs. One of those people caused me to get abstinence in 1984 because I said "if that person could do it, I can probably do it in a single breath!" The individual was somebody I saw with only one selling point, he had recovery from this disease. Today, he is a good friend in program and I learned that he has a lot of other good qualities about himself.
Twenty three years ago, I was fat (over 300 pounds), miserable, depressed, angry, resentful, tired, and hurting. Today, I am in reasonably good health, only experience short term resentments (they do not last), tired only from overworking, no longer in physical pain, and can climb 2 flights of stairs without calling an ambulance. At times, I do experience periods of sadness. I pray about it most days. Today, my main issue is forced isolation because of my disability. People who are disabled often are not invited to social activities or simply forgotten about. At a disabilities seminar at my church, a blank party invitation was passed out and everybody was asked to reflect on the last time they were invited to something. The point was that people with disabilities are never invited. I wanted to cry because that is my experience. Today, I talk about this to others. I host a birthday party for my oldest daughter each year for her friends. This is the only party any of them are ever invited to because of their disability. Their families do not even include them in their activities. This makes me feel really good by trying to make a difference in other's lives. I have learned that by helping others, I really do help myself.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #12
In what ways are you a responsible person? Are you a tightwad? What are your fears concerning money? Do you spend with no thought of tomorrow? Is your personal appearance particularly careless or prideful? Do you judge people by their appearance? What makes you feel greedy, envious, and angry? Are you scornful of ideas that aren't your own? Do you tell others how bad you have been or are? This is pride in reverse, a good tool if you like self-pity or depression. Or do you go to the other extreme and tell people how great you were or are? This is a good way to give your ego a false sense of security?LEADERS SHARE:
I am responsible because I have always been able to provide for my family on a single income. I also give service to others where my help is needed. My fear about money is always not having enough. Because I am an accountant, I do not spend recklessly. I used to judge others by their appearance. I have gotten over this through program. I used to never care about how I looked because I felt what's the difference. I grew up thinking the entire world hated me and nobody wanted to be with me. I used to be envious of most others because I thought everybody else is better off than I was. I was always angry because I had all these issues inside of me being stuffed with food. I never liked other people ideas but could never offer my own even when invited to do so. I have a history of extreme self pity and bouts of depression. every Christmas, I would always be depressed. some day I will find out why. I never had much self worth, so I never bragged about myself.
Anger, resentment, and depression comes to me today when I feel that somebody is taking advantage of me. I am currently going through a learning stage where I am learning one day at a time to stick up for myself. the pastor at my church encourages us to be bold. I have always been mortally afraid of being bold. My greatest fear has always been other people's reactions.
I know I am a good person today. I have so much to be grateful for. The old tapes will always try to play in my head. I just need to pray about the feelings and let them go.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #13
What resentments or hates do you have? What makes you feel guilty? Do you pad your expense account or use family food allowances just for yourself? Do you resent any member of the program? What do you lie about the most? Do you need to play the big shot? Are you hurt when people turn away from you or won't play your game? Do you resent getting less attention than you did when you were brand new in the program? What do you waste most time worrying about, the future or the past?LEADERS SHARE:
I resent people who are rude to me or take advantage of me. I also do not like those who choose to ignore me or minimize things I have to say. There are some people in the f2f meetings in my area that rub me wrong. As a result, I go to different meetings. One of the people is the co-founder of HOW, because people have reserved or preassigned seats at meetings or special events. I always felt less than at those meetings because I am often forced to sit way in the back. I lie mostly about my true feelings when I feel bad about something. I have an age old fear of other people's reactions. At work, I am the "big shot" because I am the supervisor. However, I make every effort to be approachable by members of my staff and acknowledge that I am not perfect.
When people turn away from me or not play my game really hurts me big time. I get the feeling of forced isolation because of my disability. When people stop talking to me in middle of a conversation to abruptly talk to somebody else really gets me going. I have always been the last to play on teams growing up and the last to be invited to parties and social events as an adult at work. One guy that works for me even gives me this evil stare because he knows that I know. I am committed to treating him fairly just as other members of my staff. I am learning to hold each person accountable instead of covering for everybody. Holding each person accountable makes people less likely to try to walk all over me.
I never got a lot of attention in program. I feel sometimes that I have to work twice as hard for half the recognition and/or attention. A gentleman at my church's step study encourages me to act boldly in these types of situations. Acting boldly almost represents a total personality change for me. From being submissive to somebody who speaks out.
Most of my time that is wasted involves projecting events in the future that may never happen.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #14
Have you been so busy trying to make money and/or make a perfect household that your family sees little of you? Do you say, "I give my family everything they want, but they aren't ever satisfied?" Are you working to build your ego? When your spouse turns cold, do you spend more time with him or her, or do you turn to someone else who is more understanding? Do you spend too much time at meetings? Do you spend at least one night a week with your family? Have communications with your family become so intolerable that you are depending on the program to get your necessary strokes? Do you feel that you have to prove that you are worthy of love from others, in program or elsewhere? Are you cold and indifferent to your family, friends, co-workers, or your own needs? Are you loaded with a sense of guilt? Do you threaten others by saying that you canít stay abstinent if you donít get your own way? Are you involved in a love affair that could harm yourself or others? Do you argue? Is it important for you to be right? Do you become angry or hurt when people donít see things your way?LEADERS SHARE:
I am blessed to have a job that does not require me to work long hours. Me and my wife are both actively involved in volunteer activities in the community and we attend lots of meetings. Yet, we seem to have one night a week together. As mentioned in previous answers, I am the sole wage earner in my family and that places a lot of pressure on me at times. Growing up with no self esteem did not provide me with an ego problem. Today, I make a concerted attempt to be humble when working with the people who are under my supervision. My wife is a lot less critical than before. However, I am more comfortable sharing with another program person than with her because I would sometimes receive commentary feedback. Many people in program do support me and are the ones that give me encouragement to do what's right. I always have had to work twice as hard for one-half the recognition at work. I have been in a leadership positions in several areas during my 30 year career with my employer. Being successful has always given me the drive to do that extra bit because I was always minimized during my pre-adult years. Today, a source of resentment is when somebody cuts me off when I am talking. I even get angry with my wife when she does that. The message to me is what I am saying does not count and they can say it better or more correctly. I do know better.I am learning one day at a time that it is ok to speak up and be counted. If it makes somebody else uncomfortable, that is their issue to deal with - not mine. I have never used my abstinence to threaten somebody. I am not involved in a love affair, nor have I ever been. I have always been faithful in this department. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart to be able to resist the numerous temptations over the years. This proves to me that there is a God looking over me even when I was not actively seeking his will for me.
I do not argue. One of my character defects is not speaking up when I should. When people do not see things my way at times makes me angry. However, in years past I would never speak up to express my point of view. Today, it is ok to express my view when it is different from other people's views. In my profession and volunteer activities, I deal with issues that are very controversial. This area of growth in my recovery has really benefited me a lot in my life.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #15
Do you gossip or lie about other people? Do you worry about another personís Higher Power being better or worse than yours? Do you compare yourself to others in spiritual growth? Do you feel spiritually superior? Do you feel guilty about masturbation? Do you feel superior because you have more education, money, brains, the right skin color, better job, social background or any other seeming advantage? List your feelings of superiority. Do you feel inferior because you have less of the above? List your feelings of inferiority. Do you think you are superior to the general run of people? List in what ways you are different. Do you think you are inferior to the general run of people? List in what ways you are different. Do you have a hard time getting to places on time?LEADERS SHARE:
I do not gossip or lie about other people. However, I may say something during the normal course of business that I think is correct but it turns out to be incorrect. I have learned in those instances to acknowledge to others that I was misinformed. I do compare my higher power to anybody else's. I however do not accept situations where prejudice is a part of somebody else's religious practice. I am learning one day at a time that my spiritual walk is a personal walk with god and not to be compared with anybody else's. Some people may be able to quote verses out of memory on Sunday. That does not make me think they are more spiritually superior than I am. Masturbation used to make me feel guilty all the time and shameful. However, I have learned that it is a part of being a human being. The fact that this subject is normally private made me believe I was unique to everybody else. I do have a four year degree but I always compared my self to somebody who had a master's degree. I always felt inferior to others. I do not seem to be invited to social gatherings lunches at work, or other get togethers. A very painful part of my life I am dealing with is the issue or forced isolation by others. I am learning to speak out and be bold when I want to be counted in. I used to think I remind people of an evil character in some stupid children's story that they read as a child. I am different in a way that I do wear hearing aids and have a 70% hearing impairment. I am also different because I have a mild speech impairment as a result of my hearing impairment. I am also reserved and at times afraid to speak up for myself. I am also very easily hurt when I feel somebody is taking advantage of me.
I have a habit of showing up for things early, rarely late. I guess I do not to miss out on anything.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #16
Do you resent others who seem to have found happiness? Do you compare the outside of others to your insides? Have you asked the people who seem happy how they got that way? Do you envy people who can eat foods you can't? Are you hostile because you don't like the hand life has dealt you? How do you presently get attention: pouting, sulking, throwing temper tantrums, being extra good, playing stupid, frustrating other's activities, whining? In addition to your eating problems, what character defects contribute to your financial instability?
Also, on two separate lists, list your present fears and resentments. The remaining step #4 questions will be working from these two lists. In addition, keep these lists available to update as new things come up as we work through the remaining 12 steps together.LEADERS SHARE:
used to deeply resent people who seemed to be happy. I thought they were phony or they had a better deal in life than I did. Comparing my insides to other's outsides is difficult for me to abstain from. Through program, I have always learned that somebody's outsides do always reflect their insides. Like when somebody would complement me and I though "if they only knew." This program taught me that I can be happy and I do not need to compare myself to others to validate myself.
I have not envied people because of their foods in a long time. I used to envy others a lot because of what they ate. I know that my abstinence from sugar and flour is a gift to me and the fact that others are eating it has nothing to do with it.
I used to think that I have always gotten the short end of the "stick of life." I learned that for each person that has more than I do, there is at least one person who has less. I used to be deeply resentful over the fact that I have two children that are both disabled. I been put down by others because of this. People have made rude comments to me about this. I know that this has affected my career because members of management in my employer has held this and the fact that I have a disability against me. Program has taught me that it is OK to take a stand and speak out when I feel that I am not being treated fairly. I current have a case that is awaiting to be assigned to a judge to hear my discrimination complaint resulting from my non-selection for promotion for the last 15 years. The fact that I been passed over, in spite of making the "best qualified" list, has gotten me down over the years. The latest incident one year ago just hit me between the eyes. In addition, I pray about this all the time because the outcome is entirely up to god. In church, we are starting the "Purpose Driven Life" series which teaches us that we all have a purpose and we all exist for a reason.
I no longer attempt to gain attention by acting inappropriately. I am learning to speak out when attention is needed. This is very hard for me because I have always been afraid of other people's reactions.
The main character defect that leads to my financial instability is not speaking up to my wife before she ran up over $20,000 in credit card charges. She does not carry credit cards anymore and I share with her the amount we owe and the amount the overall balance is paid down each month. I have an Excel worksheet that lists the cards across and the sum of the debit and credit transactions by month. This allows me to ensure we are paying the balance down each month. I also committed to myself to show this to her each month to remind her. I am eligible to retire in just over 5 years and I do not want to be saddled in debt.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #17
Do fear and inferiority about fitness for your job destroy your confidence and fill you with conflict? Do you try to cover up those feelings of inadequacy by boasting, cheating, or evading responsibility? Do you complain that others fail to recognize your truly exceptional abilities? Do you overvalue yourself? Do you have such unprincipled ambition that you double-cross and undercut your associates? Are you extravagant? Do you recklessly borrow money, caring little whehter it is repaid? Are you a penny-pincher, refusing to support your family? Do you try to cut corners financially? What about the quick-money deals, the long-shot sure thing that would rocket you to riches?
With your list of fears, write about each fear and what makes you afraid? Also write, for each fear, what you can do in program to overcome it and any barriers that you might encounter. Write about what you can do to overcome the barriers.LEADERS SHARE:
I have done well at my job. the only issue with my current employment is that I feel that I have to work twice as hard for half the recognition. I feel at times that people take the position that I can be passed over and it is OK. When I insist on being counted in, it makes others uncomfortable because I am supposed to be the quiet one with no complaints. I guess one of my purposes in life is to be an example that persons with disabilities are just like anybody else and deserve the same amount of recognition. Instead of overvaluing myself, I typically would undervalue myself. My level of ambition has not caused me to hurt others because I have been hurt by so many other people who have such a high level of ambition. I do not like to borrow money, but my wife likes to run up the credit cards. I do whatever it takes to support my family. I do not participate in get rich quick schemes.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #18
The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity and depression. These stem from causes, which sometimes come from within us and at other times, come from without. To take inventory in this respect you ought to consider carefully all personal relationships, which bring continuous and recurring trouble. Remember that emotional insecurity may arise in any area where instincts are threatened. For instance, what sex situations have caused you anxiety, bitterness, frustration, anger or depression? Appraising each situation fairly, can you see where you have been at fault? Did these insecurities arise because of selfishness or unreasonable demands? Or, if your disturbances were seemingly caused by the behavior of others, why do you lack the ability to accept conditions you cannot change? There are the sort of fundamental inquiries that can disclose the source of your discomfort and indicate whether you may be able to alter your own conduct and so adjust yourself serenely to self-discipline. If financial security constantly arouses these same feelings, to what extent have your own mistakes fed your gnawing anxieties? If the actions of others are part of the cause, what can you do about that? If you are unable to change the present state of affairs, are you willing to take the measures necessary to shape your life to conditions as they are?
List any situations that might cause these discomforts and with the use of the above questions, analyze the situations and possible solutions or thought patterns that will lead to serenity.
Use the lists of your resentments and fears you created a couple of questions ago to answer this question.LEADERS SHARE:
One person who works for me that tries to take advantage of me and encourages my other subordinates to do the same causes me a lot of discomfort because of my inability to stand up for myself. I have always been afraid of other people's reactions. I dealt with him by documenting this in his mid-year evaluation and sending him on an extended assignment at another office. It taking me a while to bring my team back under control. One person sent me an email for my review just prior to lunch yesterday. When I got it, I stopped reading it and said to myself that I will take lunch first. I thought this person sent it to me and expected me to take my lunch to work on it while she partied with her co-workers. Up until recently. this has been her behavior. It turned out yesterday, that she did not do that and she did stay around in case I had any questions. I make it known when I go out to buy lunch and I am by myself, I bring it back to the office because I refuse to eat lunch alone. I will only eat lunch out when I am with somebody. One incident last fall, she asked me if I would finish something for her because she had something she had to go to. I found out later that it was a party with her co-workers that she had to go to and I was left behind to finish the item she asked me to do for her. I developed a deep resentment towards my entire team because another person threw their assignment at me and took the next day off, when it was due. I was forced to finish that project as well. I feel that I have been loyal to them and I felt betrayed by most members of my team. Subsequent to this, some team members would not respond to me when I asked them to see me. As a result, I stopped putting "see me" on their desks and started writing on the piece of paper wheat I wanted to talk about so they would have to come to me with a follow-up question. My actions to correct this is to lay out what my expectations are and I will stick behind them. I had an item that was due and nobody on the team responded. I felt that everybody just simply ignored me. I sent a follow-up email to everybody documenting that their response is considered late and I gave them a new deadline. Everybody responded to me this time. My lesson in this is that I must hold people accountable if I want them to be responsive to me.
One of the feelings that came up to me on Tuesday this week is during my pre-retirement training class, we were all let out for lunch and everybody just seemed to disappear and I was left to eat lunch by myself. I feel that it is hard to get invited to join somebody for lunch. This makes me feel sad and depressed because this always been my life experience. This also makes me feel very lonely and isolated. On Wednesday, I prayed about this and somebody did ask me to join their group for lunch. These people ware all former employees of mine and are considered friends. However, they seemed surprised when their new supervisor invited me to join them for lunch. This really made me feel good about this individual. I am learning to judge people by their actions, not by their words.
My feelings regarding financial insecurity stem from my wife running up over US$20,000 in credit card debt. I am the only source of income in my family and I am not happy with all of this debt. She no longer has the credit cards on her after almost not being able to make the minimum payments last month. She has had friends who think of me as a secondary citizen. I guess many people think persons with a disability can be looked (and passed) over anytime and it would be OK. To me, it is not OK. I have learned in program and in church that I am a child of god and I have just as much right to be here as anybody else.
Today, I am learning one day at a time that my life really does have a purpose.
STEP FOUR~QUESTION #19
Look through all of your answers for the step #4 questions. Discuss and reflect on which aspects of your life as a child, adolescent, or young adult had the most effect on you today.LEADERS SHARE:
Being picked on and isolated messed me up an adult. Today, It is hard to be invited to social functions and/or gatherings. People at work all really enjoy working for me but I am not welcome at lunch. When I try to organize a lunch get together for my team, I am lucky of two people show up though everybody knows about it. The team members would say later that they forgot all about it and apologize. Today, I abstain from organizing team lunches and BBQs to not give anybody an opportunity to behave in this manner. As a child or adolescent, I was never invited to anything. I was forced to go to movies, etc. all by myself. I remember wanting to cry during lunch while in high school because I was always lonely.
Being told that I was a mistake, I did not count for anything, was taking up a space, and I was worthless by adults at my elementary and junior high schools carried forward into my adult life. Working the steps has taught me that these things were lies. I am a worthwhile person, I really do matter, and I do not just take up a space. The one thing that would get these tapes playing is for everybody else around me to disappear and I would be all by myself like earlier this week when everybody in class ditched out for lunch and I was forced to eat lunch all alone.Love In Recovery,
The Twelve Steps
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