STEP FOUR

Made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves.




Step Four

Leader's Share:



Support Files for Working Step Four:
|
Basic Fears | Basic Instincts | Resentment Prompt List | Inventory Comparison | Seven Parts of Self |


| Step Four - Part 2 | Step Four - Part 3 | Step Four - Part 4 |




God,
I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always

Hi everyone My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006

Before we begin with step four let us dwell a bit on the promises that were written in the Big Book just before the step three prayer.

"We had a new employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn."

Let us examine the promises.

The new employer is God; our former employers were food, people places and things. This employer provides all we need. Not all we want since our self will is what caused all our troubles in the first place. What do we have to do? WORK ALL TWELVE STEPS. In this program this is the way to keep close to God, and be open to accept all we need. His work in this program is the twelve steps. What happens then? Our selfishness begins to lessen; our contribution to the world around us begins to grow. Instead of being actively powerless, we get new power that makes us recover. This is the Power of God. The spiritual illness diminishes. Instead of being restless irritable and discontented all the time, we enjoy peace of mind. Our unmanageable life becomes more manageable. We can face life successfully. We become conscious of the presence of God in our life; we begin to lose our fears. Those fears that touch every aspect of our lives past present and future. We change. We become different persons. We recover and we are reborn into a new way of life that is beyond our wildest dreams.

Those promises are sometimes called the third step promises, but they are the promises that tell us what will happen if we decide to let God be our employer and carry out the decision. The only way to carry out the decision is to work all twelve steps and continue to live them on a daily basis. Those promises actually describe the spiritual awakening and what it does to us.

This whole world, the whole of nature is about constant change. Change is not painful. Change is wonderful and is the natural essence of life. What is painful is our resistance to change, since it goes against the natural flow of life. We are changing from victims of our illness to recovered God conscious human beings and this is the most wonderful change there is.

There is no other book in the twelve step fellowship that promises us such wonderful promises if we follow its direction exactly. That is why I live this program according to the directions in the Big Book. And this is why in this workshop we do the steps by the BOOK. I want those promises to come true and I hope you do too. So let us begin carrying out our step three decision. Let us march forward on our way to recovery.

Let us begin by drawing a picture of the things that block us from God and prevent us from carrying out our third step decision. We do this by working step four. Let me write step four "MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES" In order to facilitate our understanding, the Big Book makes a comparison between a business inventory and our personal, to be written inventory. This comparison is written on page 64. Let us summarize it in a simple table. There is a link to the table at the beginning of this step. It is called: Inventory Comparison.

Nice table isn't it? It is not my invention. There are some nice AA websites that provide all kinds of written material that facilitates working the steps. I don't have to reinvent the wheel, but I do have to say that this is some nice work done by others.

Now let us look again at the fourth step. It is a written list in which we find and face honestly and truthfully the facts about our illness and the way it blocks us from God. We are willing to get rid of these blocks and do it by continuing with the other steps. Those blocks are the components of our spiritual malady, which are negative feelings about ourselves, negative emotional reactions to people events and things, and negative actions which harm ourselves and others.

In this program those are called character defects, or wrongs or mistakes. All those words mean character defects in the Big Book.

Step four gives us a picture which results from three main manifestations of our spiritual disease. Those are resentments fears and our actions that caused harm to others. Those actions make us feel remorse and shame deep inside even if we try to rationalize and bury those feelings.

We begin with resentments.

A resentment is an emotional reaction that we feel again and again whenever we think of the person institution principle or event that we resent. It can be someone dead and buried many years ago. It can be a fancied resentment without any rational cause .Or it can be what we call a justified resentment towards a person who did us real harm, be it physical or emotional. A resentment can be the result of anger, fear, thinking that another person is to blame for what is happening in our life, holding a grudge, and even feeling that the other person was not fair to us.

A resentment is a feeling that we carry in our head and feel it again every time we think of the other person institution or principle. One of the main characteristics is that every time we feel it we draw a picture in which the other person is a more terrible villain and we are the poorer victim. We play in our mind with ideas of retaliation and self pity. And blame ourselves why we didn't react defiantly or didn't give the other person 'what he deserves'.

This may occupy quite a lot of our time, especially if we resent a lot of people. It may give us something to do with our time but it blocks us from God and recovery. All those people and our negative thoughts about them and ourselves don't let us feel the presence of God. And how can we? When all we deal with and feel is the presence of those people who fill our head and don't leave us time or space to deal with other things.

So the first thing we are going to do is to write the resentments down by putting pen to paper. NO KEYBOARD, MIND YOU. There is a lot of difference between writing on a keyboard and writing with pen on paper. When writing with pen on paper we shape the letters the words and the lines, and this connects our mind to the here and now in a way that cannot be done by a keyboard. This is important since our connection to God is always in the here and now and our illness always sends our mind into some time travel in the past or in the future.

What I say about writing with pen and paper and not on a keyboard, is of course my personal experience and my experience with working with others. This is not mentioned specifically in the Big Book. But we have also to remember that when the Big Book was published in 1939, writing with pen and paper was the way most people wrote, so there was no need to stress this point.

Now let us have a look of how we do this writing. We have an example of a three column table on page 65. We don't need any fancy preprinted tables We have our note book preferably a big one And we draw three columns in it. That is simple We write only on one side of the page we leave the other side empty.

First we deal with the first column. The heading of the column is "I AM RESENTFUL AT: Underneath I write all the persons institutions and principles I resent. I begin with the persons closest to me, my family, and widen the circle to include other persons, friend acquaintances from all areas of my life and from different time periods. It does not matter if some of them are already dead, and it does not matter if I don't remember their names. If I resent them I write them down. We write only three names to a page and leave spaces between the names, so that we have some space to fill in the other columns.

We don't go over to the next column till we finish all we can remember in the first column.

How do we know if we resent someone? If we think he caused us harm be it financial physical of emotional, we write him down, If thinking about him upsets us we write him down, if we blame him for all kind of things in ourselves or in our life we write him down, even if we think he was unfair to us we write him down. And of course if we hold a grudge we write him down.

We don't try to rationalizing by saying, 'He did the best he could' or whatever, and therefore we should not resent him. This is about our resentments be they justified or not. It does not matter. Just write them down. Even if the person was a saint and died twenty years ago. If any of those thoughts or feelings come up when you remember a person then you write it down. Don't let him haunt you from the grave without writing it down. GOT IT? Good.

There is a nice prompt sheet to help you with writing down people institutions and principles. It is on the website at the beginning of this step. It is called: Inventory Prompt List.

In the first column of our resentment table we list people then institutions and then principles. After finishing with the first column we turn to the second column. The heading of the second column is "THE CAUSE" Near each person we write what are the reasons for each resentment we have against him. The reasons for the resentments are usually, real or imagined actions or behaviors of that person. Examples of causes are listed near each name in the table on page 65. Be specific. For example if you write, He beat me all the time that is not specific unless you were beaten continuously for 24 hours a day everyday. After we finish filling the whole second column we turn to the third column. This column deals with what are called the seven parts of self.

Here they are: The Seven Parts Of Self Defined Self Esteem - How I think of myself Pride - How I think others view me Pocketbook - Basic desire for money, property, possessions, etc. Personal Relations - Our relations with other people Ambition - Our goals, plans and designs for the future Emotional Security - General sense of personal well being Sex Relations - Basic drive for sexual intimacy Those seven parts of self are related to three basic survival instincts. As depicted in the following diagram. The diagram is also to be found on the website at the beginning of this step. It is called 'Basic Instincts'.

STUDY THE DIAGRAM CAREFULLY. Our illness makes us go to extremes in fulfilling our survival needs which are expressed in those instincts. Thus giving rise to our three basic character defects (wrongs), resentments fears and harming others. Those defects manifest the results of our incorrect thinking, incorrect behaving and incorrect actions.

The heading of column three is "AFFECTS MY:" In this column we write down the parts of self that were affected by the specific resentment Looking at the third column on page 65 we can see that there are two ways to fill this column

NEWCOMERS fill it as it is filled for Mrs. Jones and My employer (on page 65) They write down the parts of self pertinent to all the resentments to each person. Not to each resentment separately.

OLDTIMERS fill it as it is filled for Mr. Brown. Listing the pertinent parts of self for each resentment. When you study the example on page 65 PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORD FEAR, which is bracketed there several times near the appropriate part of self. When you fill the third column you do the same write down the word fear when ever you feel afraid of the situation or the person.

ASSIGNMENT:

1. Read pages 64-65. Study the example on page 65 carefully. And read again the instructions for filling the resentment table as explained in my share. Before beginning to write the inventory I suggest saying the following prayer:

A Pre-Inventory Prayer

God, please show me your will and help me write this inventory. Help me see beyond what I think I know about myself and show me the real truth about myself, Please help me face and be rid of the things in myself which Have been blocking me from you, other people and myself, Please grace me with patience, tolerance, faith, strength and courage, That I may have the power I require to write inventory. Please keep me safe and protected as I search for an experience, the real truth about myself. Remove my fear and ego which block me from seeing the truth about myself,

The words of the prayer are a suggestion. You may change them to suit your particular needs.

2. Write the resentment table exactly as instructed. Remember that Newcomers and old-timers fill the third column differently. DON'T SHARE THE TABLE WITH THE LOOP OR WITH ANYONE ELSE EXCEPT YOUR SPONSOR. When you stop writing and before you turn to other things, I suggest you say the following prayer:

God, Thank you for your guidance and direction in writing this inventory Please help me to put it aside and go about my daily business.

Repeat those prayers whenever you begin and stop writing the inventory.

3. Share with us how you did it and what it made you feel.

4. SET A DATE FOR SHARING STEP 5 WITH YOUR SPONSOR TEN DAYS FROM NOW. Remember that sharing step 5 is done face to face or if not possible then over the phone. Make the necessary arrangements. Setting a date is the best way I know to avoid procrastination. Share with us. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect inventory so doesn't try to make it perfect, just honest. Writing an inventory makes us swallow and digest big chunks of truth about ourselves. An inventory is only a good beginning not an end.

Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.

Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Shlomo
Food addict and compulsive overeater



Questions to Workshop Leader

QUESTIONS:

1. In the Big Book and the AA 12 and 12 they talk about using other people aside from the sponsor as step 5 confidants. I am very happy as a sponsor to hear any and all inventories, but I wanted to clarify if people do have the option of sharing part or all with other people that they trust and not sharing part or all with sponsors - especially those who are new to them like me a new WTS person in their lives.
2. I have found that many OA's put off step 4 because they have obsessed so much about thoroughness that they never begin. It seems to me that something is better than nothing but I wanted your input.

ANSWERS:

1. When the big book was written there were about a hundred alcoholics in AA. The writers wanted the book to be used as a recovery textbook anywhere in the world. Most people could not get sponsors because there were no sponsors around were they lived. That is why the book suggested all kinds of alternatives. The alternatives are still valid but there is an advantage in doing step 5 with a sponsor, since a sponsor may be with you for many years, and it is best that he knows all there is to know about you so you can interact better. A sponsor is better equipped to hear step 5 since he works the steps too and has the same problem and the same solution. This is why I recommend taking step five with a sponsor.

2. I recommend doing step four according to the instructions in the Big Book, and write about resentments fears and harm done to others. Step four will never be perfect, and no one can have a perfect inventory. Working the steps is a cyclic process and I recommend doing step four more than once. Every time we do it we are in another stage of our recovery and have different things to write. We should not skip any step since if we do we cannot recover. We should do all that we can to do the work seriously and get the sponsor to help us. But no one can say what is thorough for me and what is not. There is a story in the big book "HE SOLD HIMSELF SHORT" Where an alcoholic tells how Dr. Bob the AA cofounder who was his sponsor went through the steps with him in three to four hours. I don't know if today this would have been defined as thorough but it worked.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

I am working on this series of steps including my step four. In writing the resentments, i.e., the resentments that I have toward others, at this time I only have one current one on my list... I do work my steps ... now, when it comes to being angry, po'd royally, it is at myself - why have I not seen the truth of "food addiction/compulsive eating as I see it so clearly now? - where have I been the ostrich - how can one say they are clean and sober, even when off the alcohol, coffee, nicotine, Rx drugs, other drugs, and then see that the "sugar" has been my drug that I have been using to change how I feel, and the binges as a result of the trigger foods ingested?????.. 'BLEEP!" Surely this does not mean that I have not been working the steps. In the food department, yes, I am at step one, and have now come to working the steps using my Set aside prayer. I am grateful that I am seeing this, because I cannot change what I do not acknowledge. I also know that I will get through this as I choose today not to use food in any way other than what is planned and reported. I will feel my feelings!....................................oh my

I would appreciate your insight on this, I am sure that I am not alone. thank you,

ANSWER:

Hi When one has multiple addictions, it is quite natural to deal with the most obvious and most serious ones first. By serious I mean in our outer world, since in our inner world they may be the same.

Drugs especially hard ones, are more serious than alcohol, and alcohol is more serious that food. Again I mean in the outer world. People are not arrested for eating a whole cake but they may be arrested for using drugs or driving under the influence. They may even rob or kill to get their drug and they may kill by driving when drunk. They may also ruin themselves financially and ruin their families. This is what I mean by being more serious.

It is usually less dramatic with food addiction. Though it is a fatal illness and it also does damage in the outside world.

So thank God for recovering from alcohol and drug addictions and becoming aware of your food addiction and dealing with it now.

What I see in your letter is self criticism, getting down on yourself. For most people self criticism is a serious character defect that arrests growth on the spiritual path. It undermines our self acceptance, self respect self commitment and self love, which are part of my inner being that has to grow on the spiritual path. Those parts are really the opposite of self criticism.

We deal with this character defect by steps six and seven and by step eleven in the evening and morning.

Dealing with self criticism by steps six and seven. We have to become aware of our criticism in real time. Carry a small notebook and pen with you all the time. The minute you are aware of getting down on yourself, take out the notebook and write down in it "I am criticizing myself for……….. " Than ask God to remove the criticism.

It is important to write in real time since the writing stops the flow of the criticizing thoughts.

Go over what you have written in the evening and see how many times you criticized yourself during the day. The number of times will become less and less when you continue with this exercise.

Now to the blanket treatment to strengthen the opposites of self criticism

Make a virtue list Write down in it all your good qualities, strong points, capabilities be they mental or physical, your different talents, etc…

Now as part of your evening work write down your actions and what happened during the day that you are pleased with. Near each action or occurrence that pleases you write what virtues in you made them materialize in your life. If you have written some qualities that are missing from the virtue list then add them to the list. Do this on a daily basis as part of your step eleven evening activity.

Now to the morning activity. Take your virtue list with you and close yourself where you will not be heard or disturbed. A bathroom with a mirror in it is a good place. Read your list aloud to yourself while looking at yourself in the mirror. Remember the person in the mirror is your BEST FRIEND. Talk with him freely. You may also talk more about some of your assets or a particular one you want to strengthen.

This is a very strong recovery exercise since it makes you dwell on your assets instead of your defects. Remember what you dwell on and send energy to will grow.

When we deal with our defects in this program it is always to let God remove them since if I try removing them they will grow. Since if I direct my energy towards them even with the intention of getting rid of them it will act to strengthen them. This is why we turn to God to remove our defects and practice the opposite of our defects.

It is important not to neglect the step eleven exercises and do both of its parts on a daily basis. The change will come if we work it.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

I'm confused about exactly what to write on my resentment list. Many are things I cannot change.

I have a feeling you'll say to put them on my list if I feel the resentment, but I'm trying to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. ???? This puzzles me. How do I go about this??

I'm trying to think of people or things that still give me a "twinge" of resentment when I think of them. Will we be shown later on what to do with these items??

ANSWER:

In this program I don't work on changing the people around me, or any other wrong doers. I work on recognizing and removing the things that block me from having conscious contact with God. The fourth step inventory is the first step that gives me a written picture of the main things that block from God. The first blocks are my resentments.

So write down ALL the resentments you have towards others. Write and do exactly what you are told according to the Big Book, my shares and the assignments. As you carry out the assignments in the four shares on the inventory, you will get a clearer picture of how the disease blocks you from God. You will also be given some tools to deal with your resentments, your fears, and the harm you did to others by your conduct. Just do the work assignment by assignment and things will be made clear. If they are still not clear after you do all the step four assignments then ask again.

Now let us look for a moment at the Serenity Prayer. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change The courage to change the things I can And the wisdom to know the difference."

In this prayer I turn to God and ask him to grant me the serenity, to give me the courage, and to give me the wisdom. Since I myself am POWERLESS, and don't have any of those things that are needed to deal with my life. Remember that my life is unmanageable without God.

Before I can experience those gifts I have to remove the things that block me from conscious contact with God. And before I can remove them I have to be aware of them. This is what step four is about. To list those blocks and be willing to have them removed. Since I am powerless and cannot remove them just because I want them removed. But I can turn to God and I can do the footwork as directed by the Big Book's instructions. And as I do the work, God's Power removes them. I experience a spiritual awakening, and can deal with life as God intended.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

I did a step four about two months before I started this WTS study and shared it with my sponsor and we moved onto steps 6, 7 and then went onto 8 and 9.

Then I decided to start this step study as I wanted to go through the steps the big book way. I did step four using the forms from the website and said all the prayers in regards to the resentments, fear and sex conduct.

I'm getting a lot out of reading your shares. However, I'm not quite sure how I should approach the step four now. Should I just do it on current resentments as I dealt with the past resentments when I shared my step four with my sponsor first time. Should I still go through with steps four and five, as I'm finding so much more insight from reading your shares and it's helping me see light on a lot of things.

ANSWER: It is always a good idea to do step four again. We always do it on current resentments and current fears and on harm done to others that was not amended. The reasons for the resentments and fears may be in the past, and we may have dealt with them in the past by working step four. But if some of them are still currently with us after a few months passed, we should do step four on them again.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

I have read and reread your parts about resentments and all relating parts I could find, but still am unclear about some of it. As one who was ALWAYS ONE WHO COULD "NOT" SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, would you please explain to me if I should put the old resentments I had years ago which caused MUCH misery to me and I've since gotten OVER, or forget them and work on the ones which bother me NOW. I think the SELF CRITICISM is my worst one. And you say that is a character defect.??? I cannot get a good hold on WHERE to start on my RESENTMENT LIST. I would appreciate your help, very much, to clear this up, once again for me. :)

ANSWER:

We do the resentment inventory on people institutions and principles that we resent currently. The reason for the resentment may be in the past. The person we resent may be long dead and gone, but the resentment itself has to be now since this is what blocks us from God now. Past resentments that are gone and not with us anymore don't concern us.

Now as to where to begin. Even before you begin writing the table, take a blank sheet of paper and fill it with people who mean or meant something in your life. Begin with your closest family then widen the circle to other family members, friends, acquaintances from different periods and places in your life. Have a look sat the resentment prompt sheet that is on the website. It will help jog your memory.

Now for every person on this page ask yourself the following 1. Did that person harm me in any way, physically emotionally of financially? It does not matter if he was justified, it does not matter if he didn't mean it, and it does not matter if he did the best he could. What matters is only what he did and if it harmed you. His motives or intentions are no concern of yours. 2. Do I blame this person for different things in my life? 2. Does it upset me to think of him? 3. Am I afraid of him? 4. Do I think that he was unfair to me? If your answer is YES to any of those questions then you resent that person. The resentment may be buried and denied, or you may think that you shouldn't resent that person. It does not matter. The name of that person should appear in the first column of your resentment table.

Self criticism is a character defect. Self criticism says that I am a mistake. Evaluating what I do says that I make mistakes. There is a world of difference between the two. Self criticism has a negative influence on me and evaluation has a positive influence.

Shlomo





Step Four – Second Share

God,
I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always

Hi everyone My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006 The help pages are also on the website at the beginning of step four. Those of you who have not seen them yet in their new form please read them now. Now let us continue with step four on resentments. Pages 65-67.

After writing our three column resentment table. We read and consider it carefully. When reading we see that the world and some people in it may wrong us and cause us pain. But we add to that by our resentments, since resentments cause us suffering in addition to the pain and lead us to futility and unhappiness. They actually are fatal since harboring resentments blocks us from conscious contact with God, and drive us back into eating triggers and bingeing. Resentments are like poison to us even when we think they are justified. Maybe someone caused us pain but the resentments are our doing. This is what is meant by the Big Book when it says that our troubles are of our own making.

After seeing that, the Big Book tells us to read our table a second time and consider our resentments from another angle. When we harbor resentments we let other people dominate us since they occupy our minds and make us feel bad with ourselves and others. In that state their wrong doings fancied or real have the power to actually kill us. Remember resentments are part of our spiritual illness and our illness is fatal.

Now the Big Book tells us how we deal with resentments after they are written down and we realize their fatality. We cannot get rid of our resentments by our will. We are powerless over our resentments as we are powerless over all our character defects. Therefore we have to turn to God for help. . We have to realize that people who wronged others did it out of a spiritual sickness the same as ours. So we pray to God (This is the turning to God for help.)

Here is the RESENTMENT prayer: God please help us to show the people who wronged us the same tolerance pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. Make me realize that they are sick persons and show me how I can be helpful to them. God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.

Now that we turned to God we do our part. Prayer should be always followed by action. We avoid retaliation and argument. We act with restraint and with the help of God act kindly and tolerantly to everyone. This is the way we act out the opposite of resentment, which in essence is forgiveness and love. Those two words are actions in our program. What the Big Book teaches us here is how to deal with character defects. This is actually the essence of steps six and seven. We work them now on our resentments.

Now for the third time we return again to our resentment list from an entirely different angle. We put out of our minds the wrongs others had done to us and resolutely look only for our own mistakes (character defects). We disregard the other person entirely and write down detailed answers to the following questions. 1. Where have I been selfish? We write down our selfish and self centered actions feelings and thoughts with regard to that person institution or principle

2. Where have I been dishonest? We write down our dishonest deeds, like lying, stealing, borrowing and not returning, hiding parts of the truth, gossiping, posing as another person than what we really are. Etc….

3. Where had we been self-seeking? We write down how we try to promote ourselves at the others expense,

4. Where have we been frightened? We write down what I was and am afraid of.

5. Where was I to blame? Though the situation had not been entirely our fault we disregard the other person entirely and consider only our actions feelings and thoughts. This is our inventory NOT the other persons. We write down what our responsibility was in this relationship, and why we were in it in the first place.

By answering those five questions in detail and writing it all down on paper we see our faults which are another name for our character defects. Those character defects are the things that block us from conscious contact with God and keep us in our active illness. We admit our wrongs (character defects honestly) and are willing to set those matters straight. If we are not willing, we have to pray to be willing. GOD PLEASE MAKE ME WILLING TO BE WILLING TO LET YOU REMOVE THOSE CHARACTER DEFECTS AND GRANT ME THE POWER TO ACT OUT YOUR WILL.

THERE IS A POINT THAT I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR. Some people who suffered abuse as young children or women who were raped and other people who suffered terrible wrongs say that they were not to blame for anything. It was the other person's entire fault.

They are right if they talk about the time the other person wronged them. But they have the resentments now, sometimes many years after the event. That person may even be already long dead and buried and they still carry the resentments. This is their part. The carrying of the resentments and using them out of their self centered disease as an excuse for all kinds of wrong doings, for manipulating others to feel sorry for them And do things for them, for excusing failed marriages or work or studies. For all kinds of justifications.

We have to realize that if we harbor resentments. That harboring is our part. It causes us to behave and act in a way that causes harm and suffering to ourselves and others. And this is what keeps the disease active.

Read the story "Freedom from Bondage" page 544, to see how that alcoholic exploits her resentments towards her mother, and cannot recover till she is freed of them.

ASSIGNMENTS:

Read the story Freedom from Bondage "Page 544. Copy the sentences on pages 551-552, that show why she was reluctant to part with here resentments against her mother. Share with us. Copy the suggestion on page 552 that helped her get free of her resentments. Share with us. Realize that the suggested prayer is a way to practice forgiveness which is the opposite of resentment, and as such is part of the actions of steps six and seven.

1. Before continuing to write the inventory, I suggest saying the following prayer:

A Pre-Inventory Prayer God, please show me your will and help me write this inventory. Help me see beyond what I think I know about myself and show me the real truth about myself, Please help me face and be rid of the things in myself which Have been blocking me from you, other people and myself, Please grace me with patience, tolerance, faith, strength and courage, That I may have the power I require to write inventory. Please keep me safe and protected as I search for an experience, the real truth about myself. Remove my fear and ego which block me from seeing the truth about myself,

The words of the prayer are a suggestion. You may change them to suit your particular needs.

2. When you stop writing and before you turn to other things, I suggest you say the following prayer:

God, Thank you for your guidance and direction in writing this inventory Please help me to put it aside and go about my daily business.

Repeat those prayers whenever you begin and stop writing the inventory.

3. Check again that you added the word fear to column three whenever you were afraid, as written in the example On page 65. Check if in addition to persons you have also written about institutions and principles. I assume you also remembered to write only three persons to a page and left the other side of the page blank. Read pages 65-67 carefully and go over the instruction in my share. Read your inventory twice and consider it each time from a different angle as explained in my share. Copy the three names from the written part of each inventory page to the blank side of the page, and leave space after each name for answering the five inventory questions. Before you begin answering the questions for each person, say the resentment prayer for this person. God please help me to show _____ who wronged me the same tolerance pity and patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend. Make me realize that he/she is a sick person and show me how I can be helpful to him/her. God save me from being angry. Thy will be done. Now answer in writing and in detail the FIVE questions which reveal your character defects and how they are part of your life. Say the prayer and answer the questions for each person institution and principle on your list.

When you finish writing the answers for a person say the following prayer. God please grant ______everything I want for myself, please give him/her health prosperity and happiness.

Continue to say those two prayers everyday, until the resentments are gone.

Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.

Wishing us all a life full of recovery Shlomo
Food addict and compulsive overeater



Questions to the Leader

QUESTION:

Dear Shlomo, Thanks for answer about fear question. Do I work on forth column of my 4th step before I do the fear inventory? Also in the 4th column just exactly do I write? I.e. my part in relation to the resentment?

ANSWER: Please read my second share on the resentments carefully. And talk with your sponsor. Tell him the address of the WTS website so that he can read the shares himself. Talk with your sponsor on the phone and he will explain it to you better than I can by just writing.

We do a three column resentment table exactly as in the example on page 65 in the Big Book On each page of our notebook there are only three names. So that if you have 60 names you will need 20 pages with a table on each page which contains three names. You write only on one side of each page leaving the other side blank. This other side will be used for what you call the fourth column. You copy the three names from each table to the blank side of the page and you answer in writing and in detail 5 questions for each name. You do the writing on the blank side of the page.

Here are the five questions. We disregard the other person entirely and write down detailed answers to the following questions.

1. Where have I been selfish? We write down our selfish and self centered actions feelings and thoughts with regard to that person institution or principle

2. Where have I been dishonest? We write down our dishonest deeds, like lying, stealing, borrowing and not returning, hiding parts of the truth, gossiping, posing as another person than what we really are. Etc….

3. Where had we been self-seeking? We write down how we try to promote ourselves at the others expense,

4. Where have we been frightened? We write down what I was and am afraid of.

5. Where was I to blame? Though the situation had not been entirely our fault we disregard the other person entirely and consider only our actions feelings and thoughts. This is our inventory NOT the other persons. We write down what our responsibility was in this relationship, and why we were in it in the first place.

After you answered the five questions for all the persons on your resentment tables you have finished with the writing of that part and are ready to begin your fear inventory which is composed of new tables and is explained in my third share.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

Hello Shlomo. I am working on the back side of my resentment list, and am having what I hope isn't a "block". I'm not able to identify things like where I was to blame, dishonest, etc. for everyone. I think I may have put people on my resentment list that I really don't hold resentments toward - but where maybe I was angry towards at one time, or am confused about our relationship. For example, I put one of my grandfathers on the list, who died before I was born. I always wished I could have met him. When reviewing the questions you put in a previous Q&A ...

1. Did that person harm me in any way, physically emotionally of financially? It does not matter if he was justified, it does not matter if he didn't mean it, and it does not matter if he did the best he could. What matters is only what he did and if it harmed you. His motives or intentions are no concern of yours. 2. Do I blame this person for different things in my life? 2. Does it upset me to think of him? 3. Am I afraid of him? 4. Do I think that he was unfair to me?

I answer no to these questions, so then he probably shouldn't be on my list, right?

Of course, there are people on my resentment list that I'm able to identify my answers on the back side quite easily - my resentments/relationship with that person have been more difficult/complex and I answered yes to your questions above.

Another question - is it "normal" that I might not be able to identify an answer for each of the 5 questions ... dishonest, selfish, etc? Sometimes I can't think of something for every question (on the back side of paper).

ANSWER:

The rule is simple. When in doubt about resenting someone or not, you put his name on the list.

You may be upset about a person or blame him for all sorts of things even if he died before you were born. Resentments may have imaginary or real causes it does not matter. If the resentments are there or if you doubt that they are there you put the names on your list.

Remember the story about the tire jack. There was no reason in the world to resent that man and still I worked myself up to a frenzy and wanted to kill him. We don't have to have real reasons for resenting someone. We can invent our own reasons even when no one around and drive ourselves nuts. There was a commentator on TV who was bald except for two hairs that he combed to "cover" his bald head. Every time I saw him on TV I wanted to tear out his two hairs and punch him in the face. I didn't know him personally, he certainly didn't do me any harm, and still I resented him. So don't look for logic behind resentments just look for resentments.

If you are sure that your answer is NO to all the five questions even the one that asks if thinking of that person upsets you, or the one about thinking that he was unfair to you. Then you probably don't have resentments towards that person. But again if you are not completely sure you write his name down.

When you try to write your part it is possible that you will not see your part at all or not see all of it. That is ok. You write what you do see. We are sometimes blind to our part since we are connected to the problem emotionally and can't see it clearly, or we are used to denial of our negative emotions. That is where the sponsor comes in.

When you share step five his job is to help you see the truth. If you put persons on the list that shouldn't be there it is his job as an objective person to draw your attention to it. If you don't see all your part like where you have been dishonest, etc... It is his job to help you see the blind spots. That is one of the reasons for doing step five, to have another person help you see the truth about yourself and your illness.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

Hi Shlomo,

Just looking at step 4 part two and it says to read pages 544 and 551-552. Is this available on line as I am using an online copy of the big book and can not find this. I have searched both for page numbers and for "freedom from bondage"

ANSWER:

Look at: http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_theylostnearlyall14.pdf

Shlomo




Step Four – Third Share

God,
I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always

Hi everyone My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006 In this share we deal with the fear inventory. The material is written on pages 67-68. We have already written something about our fears. We wrote the word fear in brackets in the third column of our resentment table. And one of the five questions about our part was to write where we had been frightened.

The Big Book says that fear touches about every aspect of our lives, that it is an evil and corroding thread and that the fabric of our existence is shot through with it. Fear is actually behind every character defect we have.

The Big Book says that it causes more troubles than stealing. Why compare it to stealing? Since fear steals our faith away from us. Faith is the opposite of fear. When we are afraid it means that in that part of our lives we haven't let God in. We rely only on our limited self and that is why we are afraid. This means that fear is a manifestation of our agnosticism.

Now let us see what we are afraid of. We are afraid of not getting something that we want, like health, wealth, a partner children, etc… Or we are afraid that we will lose something that we have, like health, wealth, a partner children, etc… We are afraid of being found out. That people will discover all kinds of things that I had done in the past, and should not have done them, or that people will find out that I didn't do things that I should have done.

All the fears are future projections. They take me away from the here and now and make me dwell on the future and on the past with connection to the future. My connection with God is only in the here and now. Therefore my fears take me away from my connection to God and my recovery.

Fears usually come in pairs. As an addict I tend to swing to both extreme sides. If I am afraid of failure I am probably also afraid of success. If I am afraid of intimacy I am probably also afraid of being alone. If I am afraid of overeating I may also be afraid of not eating enough. Etc…

There are also fears that are called PHOBIAS. Examples of common phobias are fear of heights, fear of closed places, etc... We usually don't know the reasons for the phobias, and often we also need professional help in addition to the twelve step program.

We write our fears down on paper. Here too we make a three column table on one side of the page The heading of the first column is "What/who are we afraid of" Again we write three fears to a page and leave space between them. The other side of the page is left blank. Then we look over our resentment inventory, And copy from it all the fears in the brackets on the third column. Next we look at our answers to the question "where had we been frightened", and copy fears from there. To this we add all kinds of fears that we have from people places situations and things. Read the fear help page on the website. This will help you remember all kinds of fears that you may have. Remember also to check if there are pairs of fears Like fear of failure and its opposite fear of success.

We fill the first column in such a manner remembering to list only three fears to a page. After we finish with the first column we fill the second column. The heading of this column is "Why we have those fears"

As an example, let us take fear of being fired. Why do we have it? Maybe we quarreled with the boss or we don't do our work properly, or the place where we work has to cut down the number of workers and we may be on the list, etc… When I write down why I have that fear I may find that I write down additional fears. In our example it may be not having money, not finding another job, not supporting family, my family leaving me, being alone, bingeing, dying, etc... It may open a whole can of worms. Let it open pour it out. And add it to the list of fears.

After filling the second column entirely we begin with the third column." Where did self reliance fail us?" Just to refresh your memory read the help page on the seven parts of self and the basic instincts. They are on the web. The seven parts of self are: Self esteem, pride, pocketbook, personal relations, ambition, emotional security, sex relations.

Whenever I have a fear it means that I don't rely on God. I rely on my limited self and this reliance was not good enough it failed me and that is why I have the fear. Let us take our example of fear of losing my job. Why do I fear? May be I am not confident of my ability to get a good job or even a better job somewhere else. That means that my self esteem and me emotional security failed me. I don’t think I am good enough or feel good enough with myself. Maybe I am afraid that my wife will leave me, again that may mean that my self esteem my emotional security and my sex relations are not good enough to deal with this problem, etc… I hope you see now what is meant by self reliance and how it fails us.

Reliance on God which is unlimited Power never fails us, no matter what happens in our outer world. When we truly rely on God we are not afraid and have an inner sense of peace and quiet that is not affected by the outer world. So in the third column we write which of the seven parts of self failed us and how.

This whole work on fears clearly outlines our agnosticism as well as our spiritual illness in different areas of our life.

After we fill the whole third column. We look our fear inventory over. It may contain a lot of fears. Some of those fears depend on other fears. So we are going to do an exercise in reduction. We take a blank paper and copy all the fears into it. Now we go over each fear and ask ourselves. Suppose this fear is removed from me, will this removal make other fears disappear too? Those other fears are fears that are totally dependent on me having this fear. Therefore I draw a liner over them to remove them from the list. I do the same process with every fear on the list till the only fears that remain are what I call ROOT FEARS. None of them disappears if some other fear is removed. When I deal with my fears I will deal only with the root fears.

This exercise is not written in the Big Book but it is very useful and makes a lot of sense. It will also make your dealing with fears easier. We can have an almost infinite number of fears but the root fears are those that are really important and when we deal with them we concentrate our efforts on the real fear problem.

So let us write a one column table on the blank side of the first fear inventory page. The heading of the column will be "ROOT FEARS" And let us write all our root fears in this column.

Again the Big Book gives us the method of dealing with fears after writing them down. Again it is the method of steps six and seven applied at this stage. I am sure you are already familiar with it. First we pray to God to remove our fears. Here is the prayer: "God, please remove our fears and direct our attention to what You would have us BE" The Big Book also says that at once we commence to outgrow fear. This does not happen by just sitting on our butt after the prayer. Remember that every prayer should be followed by action. So I sit and meditate on what God would have me BE and write down what I think God would have me be.

After writing it down I write what SMALL step I can take TODAY, in order to begin advancing towards what God would have me be. I talk with my sponsor and commit to act. AND THEN I COMMENCE TO OUTGROW FEAR

GOT IT? Good.

Let us look at our example again. The fear of losing my job. What do I think God would have me be? Rely on God, and as a result have confidence in myself and my abilities, have high self esteem and emotional security. Now how do I get there, what are the small steps I have to take to begin advancing in that direction. Pray to God to remove my fear, ok what else? Start looking for another job. Good what else? Maybe begin studying a course that will enhance my abilities in my profession or give me an additional more needed profession. Good what else? Discuss the problem with my sponsor my group and my family. Good, what else? Work harder at my current job and make amends where needed. Good what else? I don't know. OK talk with your sponsor and together with him device your plan of action and commit to doing it and reporting to him every day. Got it? OK.

This is the way I work in this program and how I work with sponsees. And the important thing is it gets results. The promises of the Big Book do come true, and we can match calamity with serenity.

ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Before beginning to write the fear inventory, I suggest saying the following prayer:

A Pre-Inventory Prayer God, please show me your will and help me write this inventory. Help me see beyond what I think I know about myself and show me the real truth about myself, Please help me face and be rid of the things in myself which Have been blocking me from you, other people and myself, Please grace me with patience, tolerance, faith, strength and courage, That I may have the power I require to write inventory. Please keep me safe and protected as I search for an experience, the real truth about myself. Remove my fear and ego which block me from seeing the truth about myself,

The words of the prayer are a suggestion. You may change them to suit your particular needs.

2. When you stop writing and before you turn to other things, I suggest you say the following prayer:

God, Thank you for your guidance and direction in writing this inventory Please help me to put it aside and go about my daily business.

Repeat those prayers whenever you begin and stop writing the inventory.

3. Read pages 67-68 And read my share carefully.

4. Make a three column table on one side of the page in your note book. Use as many pages as needed if you need more notebooks then buy them. Fill in the columns as explained in my share. Remember you write only three fears to a page and leave enough space between them. Use you resentment inventory to collect some of your fears and use the fear help page to remind you of other fears. Also remember to check for pairs of fears.

5. Find out your root fears as explained in my share. Write them down on the blank side of the first page of the fear inventory.

6. Now we begin to deal with each root fear separately and devote a whole blank page to it. Write down the first root fear on the blank side of the fear inventory page. Say the prayer aloud. "God, please remove this fear and direct our attention to what You would have us BE"

Sit still for a few moments and meditate what God would have you be with regard to that fear.

Write down what you think God would have you be. Write down what are the steps you can take to begin advancing towards what God would have you be. Share with your sponsor and device a plan of action with him. Write that plan down. And commit to do it and report to him every day.

7. Repeat assignment 6 for every root fear.

Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.

Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Shlomo
Food addict and compulsive overeater




Questions to the Leader

QUESTION:

Where do we list our fears? Was this to be in the third column of our 4th step? I didn't list fears but mentioned pride, self-esteem etc. Was I supposed to have included fears? I appreciate any help I am confused.

ANSWER:

Our fear inventory is written in a separate table not in our resentment inventory. What we did in our resentment inventory was to write the word fear in brackets in the third column when we felt fears. See the example in the Big Book on page 65, and discus it with your sponsor. We also answered the question "where we were frightened" on the other side of the resentment table page.

The fear inventory is additional work It is a new three column table. In the first column we copy the fears that were written in the resentment table, and add to them other fears as in the help page example FEAR LIST which is on our WTS webpage and continue as instructed in my share on fears. If it is still not clear then ask again.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

Hi Shlomo,

I have a question on the 4th Step, part 3. I have done the three columns. But I'm confused about doing the blank back of the sheet about "how do I lump my fears into ONE ROOT FEAR?? I have self-esteem, pride, emotional security, on most of my list of resentments. I can understand the job example that you gave. It was more obvious to me. But if Self Esteem is how we view ourselves, and Pride is how someone else views us, it would affect my emotional security, ok. But would I write two or three root fears down on each name I have or can you give me an example of how you'd make a Root Fear out of Self Esteem or Emotional Security & Pride???

I'd love to have you give a good example of the ones I have listed the most. And where would I list a fear like, fear of spiders, snakes, heights, etc.

ANSWER:

There are three columns

1. The fear:-what I am afraid of. There you can list all the fears that you collect from your resentment inventory, and add to them other fears that you have, including fear of spiders or snakes or heights or closed spaces. There is a fear prompt sheet on the website to help you remember.

2. Reasons: - In this second column you list the reasons for your fears. If you don't know the reasons you don't write them, and leave the space blank.

3. In the third column we list those of the seven parts of self (there is a defining help page on the website) that failed us with regards to each fear. The parts that usually appear the most are self esteem and emotional security which includes self confidence. They are part of our make up which are connected to our basic instincts. (Look at the help page on the website). When I say there are parts of self that failed us it means that they are not strong enough to deal with that particular situation in life and therefore we are afraid. We are limited human beings that is why in this program we turn to God who is unlimited and rely on Him.

THE SEVEN PARTS OF SELF ARE NOT FEARS.

About Root Fears. We may have a lot of fears in our first column. We reduce it to only those fears that are independent. Which means that if one of them is removed the others remain. That is the list of our root fears. It is a one column list. We deal only with those fears since the others are dependent on them. IT IS NOT A LIST OF JUST ONE FEAR Example of a list of root fears Fear of authority figures, fear of financial insecurity, fear of closed spaces, fear of illness, etc… Of course everyone should have his own personal list.

Examples of dependent fears: Root-fear of authority figures. Dependent: fear of boss, fear of policemen, fear of bank manager, etc…

Root –fear of financial insecurity Dependent: fears-fear of losing job, fear of not getting a job, fear of being poor, fear of not earning enough for my family, etc…

PHOBIAS.

There is a special category of fears that if strong enough are called phobias. Those may include fear of spiders or snakes or heights or closed spaces, etc… Usually we don't know the reasons for such fears and therefore we don't have anything to write in the second column.

If those fears are really bothersome like getting hysterical when I see an insect of when I have to enter an elevator, we may have to get professional help. When you break a leg you have to have a doctor to treat it, and when you have phobias that make your life difficult you can get a good psychologist to help you. The same with strong anxieties.

When we turn to God in this program sometimes the answer we get is to get professional help.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

Why should I include phobias in my fear inventory? I think it is carrying things way too far when we rely on the Big Book to "take care" of fears like spiders, snakes, heights, etc. Things like this are not character flaws or moral defects! I hope to God that in my fear inventory I will put emotional, spiritual and physical fears down. I don't think we are supposed to go to this extreme about fears, and include phobias. I have some phobias. I can't open a can of pre-packaged Pillsbury biscuits because I'm afraid it may explode in my face. But I don't think I have to put that down in my inventory!!

ANSWER:

Hi First let us have a look at what the Big Book says about listing our fears. (Page 68) We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them down on paper even though we had no resentment in connection with them. So the big book distinguishes between two types of fears, fears that are connected to resentments, and fears that are not connected to our resentments. The fears that are connected to our resentments appear in our resentment inventory and we should copy them to our fear list. But the Big Book goes a step further and says we should also write down fears that are not connected to our resentments.

To me that means any fears that we have and that includes phobias. This of course brings up the question of defining character defects. Some say that since phobias are not a moral issue in the sense of ethical or not ethical they are not character defects and should not be included in the inventory. Others and I say that the word 'moral' in step four means honest and truthful and not the common use of the word moral today which is concerned with ethics. Otherwise step four should have used the word immoral since it is about the blocks we have to get rid of and not about what connects us to H.P. So instead of using the word character defects that to some of us has some ethical connotations let us use the word 'liabilities'. The Big Book itself uses different words to describe the same thing so why can't we? We define a 'liability' as any emotional or behavioral problem that makes my life miserable and pushes me to active addiction.

It does not have to be moral in the sense of being non ethical, but it is a flaw in my makeup that causes me problems. Writing it down makes me aware that maybe something can be done about it. Sometimes it is only a change of attitude. Sometimes it is to seek professional help. And even that may be impossible without a Higher Power. Now let me give an example of dealing with a phobia according to my interpretation of what is written in the Big Book. Example-fear of closed places. If this fear is very bothersome and makes me miserable I will add this fear to the first column of my three column fear inventory. I will probably not have anything to write in the second column since I usually don't know the reasons for phobias.

In the third column I may write that it affects my emotional security which includes my self confidence and maybe also my self- esteem and pride. A phobia is usually a root fear. Now I turn to God in prayer and ask him to remove my fear of closed places and draw my attention to what He will have me be. I can assume that what God will have me be is free of my phobia. What are the actions that I can take to reach this state? GET PROFFESIONAL HELP .That seems the only thing I can do in addition to praying. So I finally got to the stage of seeking professional help. This is usually the first thing that people who are not addicts do. But I am an addict. I usually have to do a lot of step work to arrive at the starting point of other people.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

I doubt if I did the 2nd column correctly. For all of my fears I asked myself -"Why am I afraid of that?" And usually I would answer it with another fear. For example I have a very bad phobia of stinging insects. My answer, I'm afraid I will be hurt or ill from them. So then I asked, Why am I afraid I will become ill/hurt? Because if I'm ill I'm not in control - Ah - there is that nasty root fear - fear of not being in control of my life.

This is how I approached ALL my fears and then I ended up with 5 that I just couldn't figure out why I'm afraid of that final fear - and those are my root fears, right? Am I doing it the right way?

I have another question - What is the purpose of the 3rd column in the fear inventory? I found out that most of my fears affect my self-esteem or emotional security - but what can I do with that information?

ANSWER:

What you answered in the second column is fine.

For fear of closed places I could for example write in the second column that I was afraid the walls will close on me, or afraid I will not have enough air to breathe which is fear of suffocating. This is usually what people who are afraid of closed places feel. Those fears are dependent on the fear of closed places, since if the fear of closed places is removed they too will be removed. The idea of root fears is to remain with fears that are not dependent on each other. That means that if one of them is removed it does not affect the other fears and they still remain.

You can reach the root fears in different ways and yours is probably as good a way as any other. So probably your list of root fears is OK too. Remember there is no such thing as 'not good enough', and there is no such thing as a perfect inventory. There is also step five where you share everything with your sponsor. So if you missed something your sponsor will help you see what you missed. That is part of the sponsor's job.

In the third column we see how self reliance failed us. In your case your self esteem and emotional security failed you. You could not rely on them, they were not up to the task of dealing with those life's problems and that is why you became afraid. This column shows us clearly that the answer is to rely on God which is unlimited, instead of reliance on our limited self. The third column leads us to the Big Book's solution to fears, which is faith and reliance on God.

Shlomo





Step Four – Fourth Share

God,
I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always

Hi everyone My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006 In this share we deal with the sex conduct inventory, general conduct inventory, ideals for conducts and secrets. The material is written on pages 68-71. READ IT CAREFULLY.

This reminds me of an old story that is told in AA Big Book Studies and always makes them roll with laughter. May be you could tell me why. It is about a young alcoholic who had some sex problems and asked her sponsor what she should do. Her sponsor told her that the material on sex is written on page 69. So she hurried home and opened the Big Book. But she got the page numbers mixed up so instead of opening the book on page 69 she opened it on page 96, and as a good and obedient sponsee followed instructions immediately.

Now to the Big Book and SEX. This may surprise you but the Big Book has no opinion on sex. It says "We don't want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct". So how do we deal with our sex conduct? The book instructs us to review our sex conduct over the years past by answering a bunch of questions. So here are the directions for writing a sex conduct inventory. You take your notebook and you write a list off all the persons you had and have intimate relations with. You write one name to a page and leave the other side blank. Since you may need both sides of the page for each person. We answer the following questions in detail for each person on our list

1. Where have I been selfish in my conduct? We write down our selfish and self centered actions feelings and thoughts with regard to that person

2. Where have I been dishonest in my conduct? We write down our dishonest deeds, like lying, stealing, borrowing and not returning, hiding parts of the truth, gossiping, posing as another person than what we really are. Etc…

3. Where had I been inconsiderate in my conduct?? We write down all our inconsiderate deeds with regard to that person.

4. Had I hurt that person? (Emotionally, physically or financially) Write down in detail all the harm you caused that person.

5. Did I unjustifiably arouse jealousy in that person? Be specific and write in detail.

6. Did I unjustifiably arouse suspicion in that person? Be specific and write in detail.

7. Did I unjustifiably arouse bitterness in that person? Be specific and write in detail.

8. Where was I at fault? We write down what our responsibility was in this relationship, and why we were in it in the first place.

9. What should I have done instead? Meditate on this question and write down what were the right things that you should have done instead of what you did.

We look at what we have written. We read it carefully and pay special attention to our answers to the ninth question.

The Big Book tells us that we have to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. How do we do that? First we ask ourselves about each relation if it was selfish or not. Then we turn to God and pray "GOD, PLEASE MOLD OUR IDEALS AND HELP US TO LIVE UP TO THEM" After praying and meditating we write down our sex conduct ideal on a blank page. We are helped in the writing by our answers to question 9. We remember that our sex powers are God given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

After writing our ideal we have to be willing to grow toward it. Now the big book talks here about step 8. We must be willing to make amends (restitution, repairing the damage that I have done.), provided we do not bring about still more harm in doing so.

We must treat sex as any other problem. When we have a specific problem we turn to God in prayer and meditation. "God, please show me what I should do about this specific matter." Knowing that the right answer will come if we want it.

We have to realize that only God is the final judge of our sex conduct and not people, though we may ask for their advice.

Now what happens if we fall short of our ideal, will we relapse? The Big Book says that "It depends on us and our motives. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to relapse".

The Big Book sums up about sex in the following.

"We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity and for the strength to do the right thing. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache."

After writing our sex conduct inventory, we write a general conduct inventory in exactly the same way. This is written on page 70. "We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can". This is actually our step 8 in step 4. The Big Book reminds us of this again on page 76 when it talks about step 8. "We have a list of ALL the persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory."

So how do we make an inventory of the people we have harmed by our general conduct? Exactly the same as we did our sex conduct inventory. Since the Big Book says that we "treat sex as we would any other problem".

To do the general conduct inventory I have to have a list of people I have harmed by my general conduct. It may be physical harm, financial harm, emotional harm, or a combination of all the harms. To find the people to put on our list we first look over our resentment list and pick up the people we have harmed in this list. Remember that resenting someone does not necessarily mean that I have harmed him. In order to harm someone I have to act in a way that causes him physical harm, or financial harm or emotional harm.

To the list that we pick out of our resentment inventory, we add people and institutions that we had harmed without resenting them. Like stealing from the place we work in, or from other places or persons, not returning loans, not paying debts. Etc… When we have our list we write the general conduct inventory the same way we wrote the sex conduct inventory. One name to a page, and answer the nine questions for each person. After we answer the questions for every person on the list we write a general conduct ideal, and have to be willing to grow toward it.

Now let us turn to SECRETS. There is a custom in some twelve step fellowships to add to the inventory A list of secrets that we thought we will take with us to the grave. Secrets that we are so ashamed of or frightened of that we want to keep till we die. There is some reference to this in the Big Book when talking about step five on pages 72-75.

"…they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone their entire life story"

"We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."

"We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted…"

I agree with that custom. My personal experience and my experience of working with others, has definitely shown me that the saying 'We are as sick as our secrets is very true.' So find a blank page on your inventory notebook and write on it a list of all your secrets that you wanted to take to the ground with you. You may write it in code so that no one except you will be able to read and understand it.

The Big Book says that our inventory is an inventory of our grosser handicaps and it is a good beginning. That by writing your inventory and acting as suggested with what you have found out you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT INVENTORY. And since the big book talks here about swallowing and digesting I wish you all Bone Appetite.

ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Before beginning to write the inventory, I suggest saying the following prayer:

A Pre-Inventory Prayer God, please show me your will and help me write this inventory. Help me see beyond what I think I know about myself and show me the real truth about myself, Please help me face and be rid of the things in myself which Have been blocking me from you, other people and myself, Please grace me with patience, tolerance, faith, strength and courage, That I may have the power I require to write inventory. Please keep me safe and protected as I search for an experience, the real truth about myself. Remove my fear and ego which block me from seeing the truth about myself,

The words of the prayer are a suggestion. You may change them to suit your particular needs.

2. When you stop writing and before you turn to other things, I suggest you say the following prayer:

God, Thank you for your guidance and direction in writing this inventory Please help me to put it aside and go about my daily business.

Repeat those prayers whenever you begin and stop writing the inventory.

3. Read carefully pages 68-71 and read my share. Write down your sex conduct inventory as explained in my share. Remember. You write a list of all the persons you had and have intimate relations with You write one name to each different two sided page. You answer all the nine questions in detail for each person.

4. Say the following prayer: "GOD, PLEASE MOLD MY SEX IDEAL AND HELP ME LIVE UP TO IT" Then read your answers to question 9 for each person. Meditate and write down your ideal for your future sex conduct.

5. Are you willing to grow up to your ideal? Remember that you must grow up to it in order to recover. If you are still unwilling or have some reservation turn to God and pray to be willing. Pray every day and many times a day till you are willing with no reservations

6. Are you willing to make amends where you have done harm? Remember that amends mean restitution, it means repairing the damage done by my conduct. Remember that you have to make amends in order to recover. If you are still unwilling or have some reservation turn to God and pray to be willing. Pray every day and many times a day till you are willing with no reservations

7. Now read carefully the share's instructions on doing the general conduct inventory. Do again assignments 3-6 but instead of sex conduct you do it for general conduct.

8. Write down on a blank page all the secrets that you wanted to take to your grave with you. You may write them in code so that only you can understand what you have written.

Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.

Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Shlomo
Food addict and compulsive overeater




Questions To the Workshop Leader

QUESTION:

How do we read our inventory? Do we read both sides of the page? The three columns and the stuff we wrote on the opposite side of the page or what?

ANSWER:

You read everything that you have written on both sides of the pages. You read all four inventories, resentments, fears, sex conduct, and general conduct. You read the ideals and you read the secrets you wanted to take to the grave with you. EVERYTHING.

Shlomo


QUESTION:

Hi Shlomo, I've had a couple insights into myself that I didn't know about while doing these steps.!! Awesome. :)

I'm on the part of Resentment dealing with Sex. It's been many years since I was young and carefree like that. lol I only have one, ex-husband, who has since died that I think, should be on my list. ***that I can remember. I believe I probably made him jealous, even though we were divorced. But, He got even. I can see my part in it now. How do I put down someone who is deceased now?? I can't make amends, even though I know it. My current husband, and we have been married 40 years, and I have some issues from the early years. I can make amends for my part to him, and I will. But the ones who are no longer around or that I've forgotten long ago, I just leave off my list. Right??

ANSWER:

Hi We are not concerned now with the question if amends are feasible or not. That is a matter for step nine. You write down everyone you had or have intimate relations with. It does not matter if you were or are married to him or not and it does not matter if he is alive or dead. You don't have to remember his name. You just have to remember if you had sexual relations with him, past and present.

You answer the nine questions for each person. Since the root of the illness is selfishness-self centeredness, there will always be something that is your part. You may not see it, or be in denial about it. That is ok. You can write only what you are aware of.

When you share with your sponsor in step five, it his job to help you see the truth of the situation and to point out things that he sees and you don't.

To sum up YOU DON'T LEAVE ANYONE OFF THE LIST.

Shlomo




THAT AIN'T IN THE BOOK!

Hi everyone My name is Shlomo I am a food addict and compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

We hear a lot of stuff said in meetings that can't be reconciled with the program as described in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. What follows are some of the things we often hear, along with what the Big Book has to say on the subject.

I think those slogans, and customs are misleading and steer us away from the recovery path. So let us show them for what they are and slaughter some holy cows. Don't believe everything you hear.

Shlomo


THAT AIN'T IN THE BOOK!
Turn 'alcohol' into 'trigger foods' to see how it pertains to us.


"Remember your last drunk"
Page 24, Paragraph 2: "We are unable, at times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink"

"I choose not to drink today"
Page 24 Paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure have lost the power of choice in drink"

"I will always be recovering, never recovered"
Title Page: "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS."The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism" Page 20, paragraph 2: "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body" Foreword to the First Edition: "We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body" Page 29, paragraph 2: "Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we Recovered" Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help Others"

"I don't have an alcohol problem, I have a living problem"
Page xxiv, paragraph 2: "In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete"

"Don't drink and go to meetings."
Page 34, paragraph 2: "Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it-this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish" Page 34, paragraph 3: "Whether such a person can quit upon a non-spiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not"

Page 17, paragraph 2: "Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined"

"This is a selfish program"
Page 20, paragraph 1: "Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs"

Page 97, paragraph 2: "Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night"

Page 14-15: "For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead"

Page 62, paragraph 2: "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles"

Page 62, paragraph 3: "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"

"I'm powerless over people, places and things"
Page 132, paragraph 3: "We have recovered, and have been given the power to help Others" Page 122, paragraph 3: " Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic" Page 82, paragraph 4: "The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough" Page 89, paragraph 2: "You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail"

"I'm a people pleaser. I need to learn to take care of myself"
Page 61, paragraph 2:"Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be Kind?"

"Don't drink, even if your ass falls off."
Page 34, paragraph 2: "Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it-this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish"

"I haven't had a drink today, so I'm a complete success today."
Page 19, paragraph 1: "The elimination of drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs"

"Don't drink, no matter what."
Page 34, paragraph 2: "Many of us felt we had plenty of character. There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it-this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish" Page 31, paragraph 4: "We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself. Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition"

"I have a choice to not drink today."
Page 30, paragraph 3: "We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better"

"If all I do is stay sober today, then it's been a good day."
Page 82, paragraph 3: "Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated" Page 82 paragraph 4: "We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is Enough"

"I need to forgive myself first" or "You need to be good to yourself" Page 74, paragraph 2 "
The rule is we must be hard on ourselves, but always considerate of others"

"Take what you want and leave the rest"
Page 17, paragraph 3: "The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism"

"Just do the next right thing"
Page 86, paragraph 4: "We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision" Page 87, paragraph 1: " Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas"

"Don't make any major decisions for the first year"
Page 60, paragraph 4: " (a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism (c) That God could and would if He were sought Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him" Page 76, paragraph 2: "When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven"

"Stay out of relationships for the first year!"
Page. 69, paragraph 1: "We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct" Page 69, paragraph 3: "In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come if we want it" Page 69, paragraph 4: "God alone can judge our sex situation" Page 69-70:"Counsel with other persons is often desirable, but we let God be the final judge" Page 70, Paragraph 2: "We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing"

"Alcohol was my drug of choice"
Page 24, paragraph 2: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink"

"Keep coming back, eventually it will rub off on you"
Page 64, Paragraph 1: "Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us"

"Ninety Meetings in Ninety Days"
Page 15, paragraph 2: "We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek" Page 19, paragraph 2: "None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did" Page 59, paragraph 3: "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery"

"You only work one step a year" "Take your time to work the steps"
Page 569, paragraph 3: "What often takes place in a few months can hardly be brought about by himself alone Page 63, paragraph3: "Next we launched on a course of vigorous action" Page 74, paragraph 2: "If that is so, this step may be postponed, only, however if we hold ourselves in complete readiness to go through with it at the first opportunity" Page 75, paragraph 3: "Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for AN HOUR, carefully reviewing what we have done".

"You need to stay in those feelings and really feel them."
Page 84, paragraph 2: "When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them".

"There are no musts in this program."

Page 99, paragraph 1: "it must be done if any results are to be expected"
Page 99, paragraph 2: "we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree"
Page 99, paragraph 3: "it must be on a better basis, since the former did not Work"
Page 83, paragraph 1: "Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead"
Page 83, paragraph 2: "We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone"
Page 74, paragraph 1: "Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession must, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it"
Page 74, paragraph 2: "The rule is we must be hard on ourselves, but always considerate of others"
Page 75, paragraph 1: " But we must not use this as a mere excuse to postpone"
Page 85, paragraph 3: " But we must go further and that means more action"
Page 85, paragraph 2: " Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities"
Page 85, paragraph 2: "These are thoughts which must go with us constantly"
Page 80, paragraph 1: " If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we must not shrink"
Page 14, paragraph 2: " I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all"
Page 62, paragraph 3: "Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!"
Page 144, paragraph 3: "The man must decide for himself"
Page 89, paragraph 2: "To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends - this is an experience you must not miss"
Page 33, paragraph 3: " If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind"
Page 79, paragraph 2: "We must not shrink at anything"
Page 86, paragraph 2: "But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others"
Page 120, paragraph 2: "he must redouble his spiritual activities if he expects to survive"
Page 152, paragraph 2: "I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I?"
Page 95, paragraph 3: "he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on"
Page 95, paragraph 3: "If he is to find God, the desire must come from within"
Page 159, paragraph 3: "Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary"
Page 156, paragraph 3: " Both saw that they must keep spiritually active"
Page 130, paragraph 2: "that is where our work must be done"
Page 82, paragraph 3: "Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn't"
Page 143, paragraph 2: "he should understand that he must undergo a change of Heart"
Page 69, paragraph 4: "Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it"
Page 69, paragraph 4: "We must be willing to make amends where we have done Harm"
Page 44, paragraph 3: "we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life - or else"
Page 78, paragraph 3: "We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them"
Page 93, paragraph 3: "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action"
Page 43, paragraph 4: "His defense must come from a Higher Power"
Page 66, paragraph 4: "We saw that these resentments must be mastered"
Page 146, paragraph 4: " For he knows he must be honest if he would live at All"
Page 73, paragraph 5: "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world"

But Remember... Page 144, paragraph 3: "When the man is presented with this volume it is best that no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions. The man must decide for himself"





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