Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
FOURTH STEP PRAYER:
It is I who have made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete this task.
Principle of Step Four:
In Step Four, we learn courage as we faced the truth about our defects of character. Applying these principles in all our affairs means that we are no longer ruled by a fear of admitting our mistakes.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
To help comprehend the questions, please read The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Read the chapter on Step Four, then answer the questions, go back and reread the Step Four chapter and add onto your answers if needed.
You might also like to read, in the BB of AA (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous), the chapter titled How It Works, pages 63 to 71. (Fourth Edition)
There are many different ways of working through Step Four. Some of you have already done Step Four Inventories more than once and some have never done any. To me, it doesn't matter which method is used as long as we face who we are and what we have done so that we may let go of the pain and begin to heal. If you wish to do your Step Four in a different manner, that is perfectly fine with me. All I ask is if you do it your way, do so with the help of your sponsor.
For those of you who wish to follow my lead, here is my suggestion on working your way through Step Four:
In the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step Four is divided into four different sections: Pride, Fear, Resentments and Honesty. Fear and Resentments will have exercises to do and Pride and Honesty will have a set of questions to answer.
We will be doing Step Four as a two parter over a period of two weeks. The first part will be Step Four: Fear Exercise and Pride questions. The second part will be Step Four: Anger Exercise and Honesty questions.
As I always instruct my local step study, DO NOT SHARE with us anything that is too personal, too private or you will regret later. Share only a few examples of what you feel comfortable in sharing. You will share ALL of your inventory in Step Five with another person (preferably your sponsor, but it can be a therapist, minister or priest or an understanding OA member or friend.)
REMEMBER TO SHARE WITH US ONLY A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS COMFORTABLE FOR YOU TO SHARE. WE DO NOT NEED YOUR ENTIRE INVENTORY. THANK YOU!
I admit this will take some time for each of us to complete. Take it section by section. That seems the easiest way to handle it. If you have any questions, please ask. I am here to help.
Love in recovery,
FIRST SECTION: FEAR
Fear Exercise: Make a list of people, places and things that you fear and why you fear them.
Here are some examples of my own fears:
People Example: I am afraid of people in social settings like parties because I am not good at conversations and I am afraid they will think me stupid.
Places Example: I am afraid of going to the dentist because my teeth are very important to me and I am afraid it will be bad news and cost me money.
Things Example: I am afraid of the phone because I do not hear very well and I misinterpret what people say and it causes me embarrassment.
SECOND SECTION: PRIDE
1. Are we power hungry? Do we enjoy controlling and/or manipulating others? Do we intimidate people?
2. Are we jealous of others including our mates or friends?
3. How do we react when we do not get our way? How do we react when others do not agree with us? Are we intolerant of differences?
4. Do we try to smooth stormy waters or are we troublemakers? Do we need to be the center of attention?
5. Are we status seekers and/or snobs? Do we treat people differently according to what they have?
6. Have we belittled others? Do we put people in their place? Have we ever played a mean trick on anyone? Do we condemn others for things we are guilty of? Are we hypocrites?
7. Are we over sensitive? Or do we brush everything off, pretending it doesn't hurt us?
8. Are we selfish with our time? Our energy? Our money?
9. Do we take on the responsibilities of others? Do we let the needs of others govern us?
10. Can we admit our mistakes? Do we accept our own failings? Or do we criticize, condemn and complain?
11. Are we bigoted? Do we acknowledge that others are sometimes right? Do we accept that others have failings? Or do we criticize, condemn and complain about them?
12. Are we people pleasers? Do we need everyone to like us? Are we afraid to say no to others?
THIRD SECTION: RESENTMENTS
In this section, please follow this format which is described in The Twelve Steps - A Spiritual Journey:
I resent ______ because ______. This affects _____. This activates ______. This makes me feel _____.
Here are some examples of my own resentments.
My example: I resent my mother growing old. This affects my sense of security. This activates fear. This makes me feel like I will be left alone in the world without any emotional support.
My example: I resent not getting a college education. This affects my self-esteem and my economic security. This activates anger, self-pity and fear. This makes me feel less than I am when I cannot support myself well.
My example: I resent not being able to be open emotionally with my family and friends. This affects my sense of security. This activates fear and anger. This makes me feel left out and unloved.
My example: I resent my physical pain and the limits it places on me. This affects my sense of security. This activates fear and anger. This makes me feel very vulnerable.
FOURTH SECTION: HONESTY
1. Have we ever stolen anything? Make a list of each incident we can remember in which we have taken money, food and/or other things which did not belong to us.
2. Have we kept money or items we found instead of returning them to their rightful owners? Have we ever damaged anyone's property and not paid for the damage? Have we ever cheated anyone out of money or property? Make a list of each incident we can remember.
3. Dishonesty is a form of self-deception. Do we dwell on the dark side of things? Are we grateful for what we do have in life? Are we optimistic or pessimistic? Do we indulge in self-pity or do we play the martyr?
The Twelve Steps
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