STEP FOUR

Made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves.





PART ONE OF EIGHT
PART TWO OF EIGHT
PART THREE OF EIGHT
PART FOUR OF EIGHT
PART FIVE OF EIGHT
PART SIX OF EIGHT
PART SEVEN OF EIGHT
PART EIGHT OF EIGHT

INTRODUCTION

Dear WTS Members,

I hope you have enjoyed your weekend and have taken some time to do your catch-up work and are ready to begin Step Four with your sponsor, Bob A., your Step Leader for this step, and the WTS group. I look forward to continuing being the facilitator of this quarter's study and when you have questions, please send to the WTS Coordinators, Linda E. and Luann at WTSAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. Make a note that you will always be able to find the Step Shares and Questions in two places: The Recovery Website at www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/index.html and by reading your mail on the Recovery Website. Kudos to Keri for keeping the WTS site ready for you.

Step Four is the beginning of Overeaters Anonymous' "action steps." While steps one through three only require a decision, steps four through nine all involve action on your part. Step Four can be very intimidating, but it is essential to recovery. I've been in WTS for a long time as have many of us ... and Steps Four and Five are the ones that seems to scare people the most. What is it about delving into our inner selves that frightens us? Why is it difficult admitting we were not perfect and have made mistakes in our lives? Most of us have no problem doing the inventory of others ... but taking our own inventory? Please don't consider this a stumbling block. Step Four is simply a fact-finding and fact-facing process. We are looking for causes and conditions." If we're honest, we will uncover some important truths about ourselves. It is vital that we discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviors and the behavior patterns that have been blocking us, causing us problems and causing our failure.

"Those of us who have completed Step Four have found that taking this searching and fearless moral inventory was one of the most loving things we ever did for ourselves. As we took an honest look at the past, at who we'd been and what we'd done, we began to understand ourselves better. That understanding was the beginning of emotional healing. Many of us had lived our lives up to this point with a secret feeling of shame. We carried deep in our hearts the feeling that we were worthless or insignificant."
      . . . . The 12&12 of Overeaters Anonymous, pg. 29

We are about to clean up a mess ... our messes ... the messes of our past. We are going to begin again. Our lives are going to change ... and the reason they're going to change is because we're going to take action!

Good Luck to you ~
Mari
The Recovery Group


ASSIGNMENT

  1. Get a sponsor.

  2. Read Pages 29-32 in the OA 12&12.

  3. Get a sponsor.

  4. Attend an OA Meeting on Step 4

  5. Read Bob A's share below and incorporate your response to his question in essay form by writing what you hope your life will be like after you have worked the steps and been given the gift of physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. I believe by doing this you will see that any action you take as a result of doing Steps 4 and 5 will become easier for you. If things become easier you will look at them with anticipation and joy instead of fear and dread.


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STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

STEP FOUR ~ PART ONE OF EIGHT


Young David did not sling a rock at Goliath as it is normally believed. Instead he said in a professional tone: "You will now begin your Fourth Step." Goliath quaked, sunk to his knees begging for mercy, and was slain forthwith. :)

*Seemingly* "justified" reasons I have heard to NOT do Step Four:

  • Don't have time.
  • I'm waiting for the Spirit to move me.
  • I've done it with my therapist, significant other, priest, etc.
  • I'm not ready
  • Seen it, done it, still miserable, so what's the use? No T-shirt :(
  • I don't know the RIGHT way to do it.
  • People who have done it shared what an ordeal it was. I just can't go through this kind of a thing at this time.
  • ...after the marriage...
  • ...after the baby...
  • ...after the divorce...
  • ...after I get well...
  • "But you don't understand, my case is different. It won't help me."
There are many good justified reasons to put off doing Step Four.
There are many good justified reasons to keep staying miserable.

REASONS TO DO IT

  • I choose to NOT remain in misery any longer!
  • I choose to recover ***spiritually***
  • I want to know *who I am*
  • Nothing else has worked over the long haul
  • It's worked for millions, why not me? (How different AM I, really?)
  • I want to be able to say "I did it!" and get my sponsor off my back

We can *try* to do Step 1-3. But as Yoda says to Luke Skywalker, "there is no 'try' - you do or you don't do". (Well, he didn't exactly refer to Step Four:)

It is about diminishing the reactive *spiritual cancer* (self will) in me that is keeping me miserable, or happily(?) in the food.

Step Four was the SINGLE event that transformed Bob A ...

FROM - having been abstinent 9 times for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 60 days in my first two years of Program ....
INTO - being able to remain abstinent for several years.

ONE QUESTION TO ANSWER IN PART ONE:

What justified reasons have I been using to NOT start Step Four?

*** OR ****

What justified reasons have I been using to NOT FINISH Step Four?

*** AND/OR ****

Why have I decided to DO IT NOW on WTS?

Please feel free to share your response(s) with the WTS loop.

Love,
BOB A.

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Dear Friends,

Many of us like to analyze things too much. Please don't try to analyze the 4th Step ~ just DO it. The OA 12&12 says this: "Sometimes we began step four without knowing why it was necessary, doing it simply because we had been told it would help us recover from compulsive eating. We tried it and it worked. This is one example of what we mean when we say that in OA we learn to utilize, not analyze. Those of us who tried to analyze the step and why it might work soon found we were wasting time. Nor did it help to analyze ourselves before we did the step. It worked far better when we plunged in and started writing." OA 12&12, pg 32

Remember that composition book I told you to buy? Pull it out, please. Remember the sponsor that I've been nagging you to get? You need your sponsor now. Remember when I told you that there was no wrong way you could do the Steps, particularly Step 4? Read Bob's affirmation of this below.

Don't hold back. Write your hearts out. When the words come from the pen, the poison comes from the soul.

In Fellowship,

Mari
The Recovery Group


ASSIGNMENT

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


  • Please get a sponsor. You will have questions.
  • Read Pages 29-36 in the OA 12&12.
  • Attend an OA Meeting on Step 4.
  • Print out Chapter Five (click on this link here) and read completely by Saturday.
  • If you need to review Steps 1-3, you will find them on TRG's Website here.
  • Read Bob A's share below and begin your work on Step Four


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STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

STEP FOUR ~ PART TWO OF EIGHT


There is no wrong way to do Step Four. The only wrong is NOT to do it and the wrong is inflicted on ourselves when we don't attempt it.

An inventory is a list and we're going to fill out three simple charts about ourselves. The charts are entitled (R) "Resentments", (F) "Fears" and (H) "Harms I've Done to Others". Each CHART has four columns. More about the columns later. But first, some understanding is in order.

THE PURPOSE OF THE FOURTH STEP IS:
to *UNCOVER* my Resentments, Fear and Harms I've Done and to *DISCOVER* my character defects (CDs). In Steps 5, 6 and 7, we will *DISCARD* the character defects!

It is NOT a general auto-biographical "Harlequin" novel - though that is the way I did MY first fourth step. It is MY research into MY MIND to find out what had been keeping me in the food. My own personality had been keeping me in the food. If KNOWING ABOUT the character defects I have *that I am aware of* would have been enough to recover, I wouldn't have to do this. This technique is the single most effective technique for discovering those character defects IN ME that I am NOT aware of, so they can be isolated discarded.

In short I want to be rid of those things that are blocking me off from the *sunlight of the Spirit*. Here, in the Fourth Step, is where I find out just what makes Bob screw up.

RESENTMENTS ARE:
Continuous feelings of anger,
A "grudge" towards "people, institutions or principles."
Feeling pissed off, on a regular basis, about something, some place or somebody.

Resentments. Don't have any? I didn't :) Then I was asked "Is there anyone you *blame* for your condition in life today? I thought "cheap shot". I thought "but those are JUSTIFIED!" My sponsor said "I never had a resentment that wasn't justified!" Oh. Hmmm :/

If I can't or don't want to face someone I have had a relationship with, I have a resentment against that person. When I get rid of the resentment, it doesn't mean I have to like the person, it just means I will experience true serenity!

FIRST AND SECOND COLUMNS OF *THE* CHART:

Here are some suggestions of typical objects of resentment.

Do YOU RESENT any of these????

PEOPLE: Husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings, significant others, co-workers, pals, customers, bosses, Trusted Servants, Presidents, Kings, pawns, sponsors, etc.

INSTITUTIONS: Church, IRS, OA, hospitals, jails, City Hall, meetings, WSO, Barbie/Ken dolls, etc.

PRINCIPLES: "Everything that goes up must come down," "You are what you eat," "Let go and Let God," "political correctness," etc.

ASSIGNMENT:

There will be four columns to this chart, and as many rows as you need. The COLUMNS are labeled (a), (b), (c) and (d). The first three are shown in the AABB on page 65. Column (d), the last and most important one, is alluded to in the next page.

Make a list of WHO or WHAT you resent in the next few days. Keep a note pad for inspirations and remembrances. Number your resentments R-1, R-2, etc.

Write ONLY (a) who or what you resent and (b) WHY (in three sentences OR LESS).

Puleeze, keep this real simple! Here's an example: [BTW, R-1 = Resentment # 1; R-2 = Resentment # 2; R2D2 is a little ambulatory computer from Star Wars...:)

R-1:
a) Ken (My boss)
b) He doesn't pay me enough money, the cheap SOB. I'm worth MORE!

R-2:
a) Joe (my pal)
b) He shook my hand so hard he almost broke my typing finger! He intimidates me.

R-3:
a) Father
b) He never hugged me or told me he loved me.

R-4:
a) IRS
b) They want too much money. I can't even get by with what I have!

R-5:
a) "Live and let live"
b) Oh, RIGHT!

Remember, there is no "try" in Step Four. YOU WRITE OR YOU DON'T WRITE. Today the rubber hits the road. You either start it or not. Who are you pissed at? Write it down.

You didn't start yet? OK, so you're pissed at me for being *pushy*? Good!

That's a resentment.

R-6:
a) Bob A
b) He's pushing me to do this and I'm scared. What if I find some nasty filthy dirty things about myself?

*** NOTE
YOU MAY KEEP THE BEGINNING OF THIS LIST TO YOURSELF (OR YOUR SPONSOR) FOR THE TIME BEING. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE, WRITE WTSADM@TheRecoveryGroup.org

PLEASE BEGIN NOW. :-)

Love,
BOB A.

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Dear WTS Friends,

Your assignments for Part Three:

  • Please get a sponsor. You will have questions.
  • Read Pages 29-36 in the OA 12&12.
  • Attend an OA Meeting on Step 4.
  • If you need to review Steps 1-3, you will find them on TRG's Website here.
  • Read Bob A's share below and continue your work on Step Four

Love in recovery,
Mari
The Recovery Group

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STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

STEP FOUR ~ PART THREE OF EIGHT

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


RESENTMENT CHART
So far, you've started the first two columns (a) and (b) of the Resentment Chart. You've just written a list. Let's put it in a CHART and go on. It could look like this:

  a b c d
  Who What was done Affects my  
R-1 Ken blah, blah M.S., S.E.  
R-2 Joe yadda, yadda S.E., P.R.  
R-3 Father blah, blah S.E., P.R.  
R-4 IRS yadda, yadda M.S.  
R-5 L.&L.L. blah, blah E.S., P.R.  
R-6 Bob A. yadda, yadda P.R., E.S.  


You've done (A) and (B). In (C) we're going to add a few words to our Chart. We're going to take note of how each of these resentments affects us. So we call Column (C) "Affects my" (See Page 65 in AABB).

It is easy to get sidetracked here. We're NOT getting into therapy! On page 65 are some examples. Pick as many as apply to you for each resentment and just write them in your chart. Don't analyze this list, just UTILIZE it:)

  • S.E. Self Esteem
  • P.R. Personal Relationships
  • E.S. Emotional Security
  • M.S. Material Security
  • S.R. Sex relations

That's all there is to Column (C) - a few words. See the initials above and think through how they apply. Then you can do the same for your own.

Notice I put some slash marks between column (C) and (D). This is where we take a *momentary prayer break* before doing column (D). Read with me from the bottom of Page 66 in AABB:

"This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves . . .

'This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to her/him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.'

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.

** NOTE ** Please keep this chart to yourself (and/or your sponsor) for the time being. If you want to share it with the WTS Study, *wait*. If you have a question about the study, please send it to WTSAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org.

Please begin now. :)

Love,
BOB A.


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Dear WTS Friends,

Your assignment for Part Four:

  • No Additional Assignment.
  • Focus, focus, focus.

Those who are still working on the first three steps, please continue.

Love in recovery,
Mari
The Recovery Group


STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

STEP FOUR ~ PART FOUR OF EIGHT

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


OK, we're ready for column (d). This is where we list OUR character defects (CDs) that are KEEPING the resentment locked in our consciousness today. Repeat with me: This is where we list OUR character defects (CDs) that are KEEPING the resentment locked in our consciousness today. Sorry to be brash about this - but I think that is the single most important point I have to share on the fourth step.

Here's how we find them. Reading from AABB Page 67 in the middle:

Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been *selfish*, *dishonest*, *self-seeking* and *frightened*? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory was ours, not [theirs]. When we say our faults we listed them. We placed them [in column (d)] in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight.

RESENTMENT CHART

  abcd
  WhoWhat was doneAffects my Character Defects
R-1Kenblah, blahM.S., S.E.See below 
R-2Joeyadda, yaddaS.E., P.R. 
R-3Fatherblah, blahS.E., S.R. 
R-4IRSyadda, yaddaM.S. 
R-5L.&L.L.blah, blahE.S., P.R. 
R-6Bob A.yadda, yaddaP.R., E.S. 

R-1:
a) Ken (My boss)
b) He doesn't pay me enough money, the cheap SOB. I'm worth MORE!
c) Material Security, self esteem
d) Sloth (procrastination)

R-2:
a) Joe (my pal)
b) He shook my hand so hard he almost broke my typing finger! He intimidates me. I can't tell him!
c) self esteem, personal relationships
d) frightened (timid), dishonest

R-3:
a) Father
b) He never hugged me or told me he loved me. Now,I don't tell him lovingly that I love him, to get back at him.
c) Self esteem, sex relations
d) Dishonest, self-seeking, selfish

R-4:
a) IRS
b) They want too much money. I can't even get by with what I have!
c) Material security
d) Selfish, self seeking, greedy

R-5:
a) "Live and let live"
b) Oh, RIGHT!
c) emotional security
d) selfish, self-seeking

R-6:
a) Bob A
b) He's pushing me to do this and I'm scared. What if I find some nasty filthy dirty things about myself?
c) emotional security, personal relationships
d) self-pity, lazy, frightened

BTW, to the degree that I maintain a resentment over someone, I give them power to occupy my mind rent-free! Even dead people, for whom I carried a resentment took up space and time in my mind - preventing me from having a life. "It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.

There is ALWAYS some reason (CD) I keep on resenting something or someone. IF the few CDs above don't seem to apply, here's a list you can look over for some hints.

SELF WILL - DEFECTS GOD'S WILL - ASSETS
Angry
Blaming Others
Careless
Conceited
Critical
Defiant
Dishonest
Disrespectful
Envious
Frightened, Worried
Gluttonous
Greedy
Hateful 
Ill-tempered
Impatient
Inconsiderate
Intolerant
Jealous
Lustful
Over-sensitive
People-pleasing
Perfectionistic
Prideful
Resentful
Sarcastic
Self-centered
Self-condemning
Self-pitying
Self-seeking
Selfish
Sloth, procrastinating
Suspicious
Grateful, Calm
Accepting responsibility
Thoughtful, prudent
Experiencing humility
Non-judgmental
Accepting, loyal
Honest
Respectful
Charitable
Experiencing faith
Abstinent
Giving or sharing
Loving, understanding
Gentle
Patient
Considerate, courteous
Tolerant, comforting
Trusting
Helping others
Serene
Self-caring
Moderate, Accepting
Seeking God's Will
Forgiving, compassionate
Complimentary
Caring about another's welfare
Self-forgiving
Solution-focused
Helpful to others
Interested in others
Productive
Trusting

If you find yourself wanting to copy and paste the whole CD List in your column (d) as I did at first; don't bother, just write "self-degradation," and call your sponsor. :) On the other hand, if you find that you are thinking differently about the people you had been resenting, then that's what this is all about.

Love,
BOB A.


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Dear WTS Friends,

Your assignment for Part Five:

  • One resentment and fear at the time. Keep on keeping on. You CAN do Step 4.

    Love in recovery,
    Mari
    The Recovery Group


    STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

    STEP FOUR ~ PART FIVE OF EIGHT

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


    Now, Step Four fans, we will do the SAME CHART again for "FEARS".

    First, a few words from the AABB (page 67-68) about Fear:

    "[Fear] touches about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn't deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling?"

    We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them on paper..."

    So we revise the Chart a little and start listing our fears, and WORK THE REST OF THE CHART THE SAME WAY WE DID FOR RESENTMENTS - the goal being to FIND the *CDs that keep us locked in Fear* and timidity.

    (a) Who or what do we/did we fear?

    Some examples: All of those from the resentment list *may* appear on this too, such as:

    PEOPLE: Husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings, significant others, co-workers, pals, customers, bosses, Trusted Servants, Presidents, Kings, pawns, sponsors, etc.

    INSTITUTIONS: Church, IRS, OA, hospitals, jails, City Hall, meetings, WSO, Barbie/Ken dolls, etc.

    PRINCIPLES: "Everything that goes up must come down," "You are what you eat," "Let go and Let God," "political correctness," etc.

    (((Well, maybe not the Barbie dolls!)))

    (b) Why do we fear these things?

    If you know and can write in three sentences or less, do it. If you don't know you have a particular fear, leave it blank. We are NOT doing therapy here, we doing a chart/inventory.

    (c) "Affects my:"

    Same as for the Resentment List

    (d) CDs:

    Same as for the Resentment List

    Don't have any fears? Does ANYONE or anything *intimidate* you? (I am a recovering wimp myself:) *Intimidate* has to do with how I react timidly - it has to do with MY inherent timidity, not the intimidator's power. *I give them power over me to the degree I HAVE timidity (= fear).*

    So, it will look like this:

    FEAR CHART


    HP
      (a)
    Who
    (b)
    What was done
    (c)
    Affects my
     (d)
    F-1 Ken blah, blah M.S., S.E.  
    F-2 Joe yadda, yadda S.E., P.R.  
    F-3 Father blah, blah S.E., S.R.  
    F-4 IRS yadda, yadda M.S.  
    F-5 L.&L.L. blah, blah E.S., P.R.  
    F-6 Bob A. yadda, yadda P.R., E.S.  

    (I don't mean that the Fears chart is identical to the Resentment Chart and can just be copied as I have done. But I do mean that it is similar and contains many repeats in the first column.)

    The Prayer for each of our fears, between (c) and (d) comes from the AABB on page 68 at the end of the following passage:

    Perhaps there is a better way - we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.

    We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. *WE ASK HIM TO REMOVE OUR FEAR AND DIRECT OUR ATTENTION TO WHAT HE WOULD HAVE US BE.* At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

    Time to list YOUR fears. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. Simply listing them in this chart, began to take the power out of my fears.

    Love,
    BOB A.


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    Dear WTS Friends,
    Your assignment for Part Six:

  • Read Bob's Share and take a walk on The Yellow Brick Road.

    Love in recovery,
    Mari
    The Recovery Group

    STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

    STEP FOUR ~ PART SIX OF EIGHT

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


    THE PITSTOP

    We're going to take a pitstop now. NO ASSIGNMENTS in this part (well sorta:). (Yay, whew, waytago, I need a breather, etc. :) Time to reflect, relax, and fill in any gaps you can in the two charts you've done so far. Some of us need to just rest a moment and get a little spiritual transfusion as we approach the final HOME-stretch.

    GOING HOME

    The Wizard of Oz may be one of the most spiritual stories of all time. Remember how Dorothy faced up to her fear with the Lion? She slapped fear in the face! I always thought that was so great! But there's more. (This is my version :)

    The Wiz told her to kill the wicked witch and bring him the broom and he would "get her home". Well she did and said "Here's your *#@* broom, now grant my wish!" The Wiz couldn't. No person can grant another's wish.

    Enter Glenda in her hot pink bubble (HP).

    Glenda said "you always had it within you to *get home*". The important answers in life are ALWAYS WITHIN us. After clicking your heels, just walk a few STEPS ... and you'll be home.

    What is *home*? (NOT the home "you can't go back to!") Home, the REAL home, is arriving at a place; call it another dimension if you wish, wherein you can have a comfortable and secure relationship with your Higher Power. We're all trying to get "home", sometimes wondering if this place really exists. Somewhere over the rainbows of our minds (AABB page 25).

    A great spiritual teacher once said, to paraphrase, that we can think we are *searching* for lots of different things in life, but the Truth is, we are ALL searching for only one thing, a warm relationship with our Higher Power which solves our life's problems (AABB p.45).

    LET'S THINK ABOUT CDs

    When we do Step Four for the first time, it's simply not possible, nor spiritually appropriate, to "get into" a zillion CDs. That is Step Six stuff FOR LATER. Charlie P., who taught us all the Big Book way of doing this, suggests, that AT FIRST, only the five CDs in the Big Book written IN Chapter Five: *Selfish, dishonest, self seeking, frightened and inconsiderate* should be considered in Step Four. No others. We're only trying to come to understand that WE may be at fault - not take the sledge hammer up the side of our heads!

    (Did YOU play the game I used to play in early recovery: "I have more than you"..."Mine are worse than yours"...etc. etc. even in your own mind, if not out loud?:)

    Program tells us to keep it simple and - progress not perfection. When I came to understand that MY CDs cause my resentments and fears to linger, I learned the primary lesson of Step Four.

    *Studying on these CDs* is Step Six, when we become ready to have God remove them; not do a thesis on how bad we are. I write up each of my CDs in Step Six to understand what they did FOR me, and what they did TO me. THAT made me willing to have HP remove them. But that's step Six.

    ANOTHER METAPHOR

    Step Four is like lifting off the top of my mind, looking inside and taking a snapshot. I want to be as rigorously honest (and courageous) as possible about what I see - and just make a LIST of the contents - not beat myself up! What's important is to list the CDs; the rest of it will take care of itself. The character ASSETS *rise* into, and be expressed in, my life as I remove the dust from the lampshade of my consciousness.

    BE GENTLE WITH YOUR SOUL

    YOU are a light to all, part of Universal Light. Your shade is being cleaned up for you AS you simply enter information in your charts. Some have already shared privately with me that in writing this stuff down, THEY have begun to feel *lighter*:)

    Wow, if I could have helped just one person feel that, then this is terrific! I hope you will share this with many others who come after you; the befuddled and the confused as I once was. It is a way for anyone to work Step Four.

    And it IS work. But the answers are all inside Dorothy, becoming more clear each day. Just click your heals, and the keyboard, and you'll see.

      All is well. In the midst of turmoil, let us remember, all is well; in the midst of the pain of self-awareness, all is well. The struggle of the turmoil, the pain that accompanies the lessons of self-awareness, are preparing us for becoming all we are meant to become. We each have a special gift to offer in this life. We will come to understand those gifts and be able to give them as we grow with the pain of self-understanding. All is well. Deep down happiness ripples, it's rippling to the surface of our lives."

      (From Leanne)


    WTSers: If you'd like to, share *about your journey* through the Fourth Step and how YOU feel about the process, please feel free to do so. Your comments are most welcome.

    Love,
    BOB A.

      The light of God surrounds us.
      The love of God enfolds us.
      The power of God protects us.
      The Presence of God watches over us.

      Wherever we are, God is. And all is well :)



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    Your assignment for Parts Seven and Eight:

  • Read Bob's Shares and respond to his questions.

  • Although Step Five begins Monday, it is okay to fine tune Step Four as you reflect on what will happen in Step Five. You will have an additional full week to do this.

  • There are two words, in my opinion, that I think keep people from finishing Steps Four and Five. Bob gives you the definition of these two words below and I think those definitions may be the most important keys you will find in effectively working Steps 4 and 5. I am asking each of you to begin your share to WTS with their definitions. The two words are Shame and Guilt. Reflect all you want to on the word, "guilt." But, please, please define shame, type it out and ban that word from your psyche and never empower it again to damage you again.

    Love in recovery,
    Mari
    The Recovery Group

    STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

    STEP FOUR ~ PART SEVEN OF EIGHT

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


    It is in this Third (and final) Chart of Step Four that I change the way most other twelve steppers approach it. I believe mine is the more creative, productive, simpler, and more appropriate and truer to the principle of the step. It has a different title but it all produces the same information.

    This chart is called "Harms Done to Others".

    Most people reading the Big Book know it as the sex list. The explanation goes into a discussion of sex problems, that we all have them, etc. But right after that discussion, on page 69, the paragraph reads:

    "We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? *Whom had we hurt?* Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it."

    Although Bill W's narrative in general remains in the context of sex, this list is really about *harms* in general: "We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can."

    Later, in Step Eight, on page 76, the AABB reads "We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took our inventory ..."

    SO, we LIST who we harmed. Here are some pointers:

    1. Yes, we all harmed ourselves by our eating, and yes we should make amends (in Step 9) to ourselves. (We make amends to ourselves by working the steps.)

    2. Yes, we should be gentle with ourselves, but here rigorous honesty is called for. If we harmed someone, we write it down. If we *consider* that we harmed someone, we write it down. (This is not to beat ourselves up. It is to STOP beating ourselves up!)

    3. Sometimes we will find that what we thought was harmful wasn't our fault. It still goes on the list if we harmed someone in reality. This is not so much about offending people (who seem to be easily offended:), it is about harms that altered someone else's life somehow. There are MANY opinions about this, and mine is just one. After you have done YOUR fourth step, you can flaunt yours!

    Here is the key as far as I am concerned:

    This Chart is about identifying the *GUILT* I carry in my consciousness for real or imagined harms to others. (The first Chart was about *Resentments*, the second about *Fears*.) Much of my Guilt (from my own perfectionism and self pity) began to disappear as I made this chart!

    (a) WHO OR WHAT DID WE HARM?

    PEOPLE: Husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings, significant others, co-workers, pals, customers, bosses, Trusted Servants, Presidents, Kings, pawns, sponsors, *creditors not repaid...*

    INSTITUTIONS: Church, IRS, OA, hospitals, jails, City Hall, meetings, WSO,

    (b) WHAT DID WE DO?

    Describe it briefly

    (c) AFFECTS MY

    Same as for the other two charts

    (d) CDs:

    Same as for the other two charts

    HARMS DONE TO OTHERS
    HP
    (a)
    Who/What?
    (b)
    What did I do?
    (c)
    Affects my
    (d)
    CD's
    H-1 Consultant Didn't pay him for work he did Security, etc. greed, lazy, frightened
    H-2 Spouse yadda, yadda E.S., sexuality dishonest,
    perfectionism
    H-3 Father Ignored him, passive aggression E.S., S. R. willful, angry,
    prideful, indolent
    H-4 Son Too lenient, or overbearing
    E.S., P. R. people pleaser, perfectionism

    As usual, the prayer for this chart is also in the AABB, page 70. It includes an action that can help us with the guilt also, till we get to Step 8.

    "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 [or ANY activity] is very troublesome [constantly gets us in trouble], we throw ourselves the harder into *helping others*. We think of their needs and we work for them. This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge, when to yield would mean heartache."

    * * * * * * * *

    WE DO NOT MAKE DIRECT AMENDS in this step. We don't address anyone else directly. We are working to have the GUILT removed (BY our Higher Power) that has remained locked in our consciousness due to OUR own character defects; hence PRAYER. Amends come later. Here we identify our own exact nature (THE COMPONENTS OF OUR SELF-WILL) that caused US to harm others, so we can have it rooted out and STOP hurting people, or ourselves.

    * * * * * * * *

    SHAME vs GUILT

    Shame, though similar is quite different from guilt.

    Guilt is a feeling about what we DID.
    Shame is a feeling about what we ARE

    We clear up the guilt AND shame as we come to know our Higher Power more clearly every day and feel forgiven and totally accepted as a child of God. This STARTS RIGHT HERE and accelerates in Step Five.

    GO AND HURT NO MORE

    When the topic of "what is HP's will for us?" came up in meetings, an old timer I used to know would always answer: "GO AND HURT NO MORE". (Five words:)

    On Page 71, the AABB concludes the discussion of the Fourth Step with:

    We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will (CDs) has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision (Step Three) and an inventory of your *grosser* handicaps (Step Four) you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.

    Love,
    BOB A.

    PS: The three charts: Resentments, Fears and Harms are the sum total of listmaking for Step Four. You can always add stuff here and there for clarity, but as we said in the beginning, it is NOT a Harlequin novel:)

    In the next and LAST part of this Step Four series, I will make some general observations about Step Four. PLEASE BE SURE TO READ IT EVEN IF (ESPECIALLY IF) YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED IT ALL.



    The light of God surrounds us.
    The love of God enfolds us.
    The power of God protects us.

    Wherever we are, God is. And all is well.




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    STEP FOUR LEADER ~ BOB A.

    STEP FOUR ~ PART EIGHT OF EIGHT

    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.


    THE BLISS

    There was once a newbie in Program who really got into recovery quickly, sorta. She often found it necessary to call me at 2 am to say: "Ooooh, the bliss, the bliss!" I often found it necessary to politely end the conversation after awhile, to get some sleep.

    COMPLETING THE FOURTH STEP

    I don't know how many WTSers have actually completed the Fourth Step by now. This definitely has NOT been the 180 question type of Step Four. It's doable, but on your own timetable. My purpose was to present to you the simple, effective way taught to me. I know MANY have made *progress*.

    HAPPY JOYOUS AND FREE

    The PROCESS is the thing. It will ALWAYS work on any resentment, fear or guilt I feel. I do Step Four the first time to learn WHAT to do about those things, so that I can clean up the past and then stay in present time with:

    • COMPASSION instead of resentment
    • COURAGE instead of fear
    • SANITY instead of guilt

    The magic of the Program is always available to us. Like the electrical conduit in a wall, it benignly awaits our *action* (turning on the switch) to deliver its Power:

    The power we realized we needed in Step One.
    The Power Source we identified in Step Two.
    The Higher Power we decided to engage with in Step Three.

    Some have found only one or two items to enter on their charts. Others have listed many many more. Charly P., who taught me this way of doing the 4th Step started with 170+ resentments! The funny thing about filling out these charts is that it's so easy to forget why we're doing it and to get *into* the items. The resentments, fears and harms are the bait - the CDs are the (prize) fish. More may come to you after a time, once you have started this process. Just get it in the Charts.

    We're only trying to determine WHICH CDs are *preventing* us from living happy, joyous, and free, TODAY. When they are diminished, we experience the special life we've always hoped was possible. (The Bliss. Ooooooooh:)

    ONE FINAL ACTION IN STEP FOUR

    It is now time to go back to the fourth column of EACH chart and COUNT UP how many times EACH of the character defects *you identified* showed up on your charts. Take the top 3 - 5 CDs (the ones that showed up the most often) and don't worry about the others for now. It's the ones that *kept showing up* that are causing the most distress. These are the ones you will work with as you continue through towards step 7.

    Remember, we don't have to get too perfect too quickly :) Recovery is a lifelong process that begins today. And today. And today.

    THE NEXT STEPS

    The next steps introduce you to a way of eliminating incrementally (or sometimes completely) the character defects that keep our resentments, fears and guilt locked inside. (These words may ring hollow to anyone who hasn't tried it yet, but not to those who have continued on.)

    IN STEP FIVE: you will get help in accepting that you're only human and that it's OK, believe it or not, to have CDs, for now. (Actually, you have had them anyway; accepting them for the time being - though not condoning them - is GOOD for the soul.)

    IN STEP SIX: you will study each CD that distresses you and become ready to let them go.

    IN STEP SEVEN: you will humbly approach your Higher Power and pray to have your CDs removed. A simple prayer from the Big Book will help the process. After that, it is HP who *doeth the removal* (with a little cooperation from us:) BTW, it is NEVER TOO SOON to do a seventh step prayer (AABB page 76). It keeps getting better.

    PLEASE WRITE MARI &/OR THE WTS LOOP NOW
    I would like to know what you've been able to do so far. If you HAVE been able to do the whole thing, please let us know. If you've done some of it, please let us know. Some who started it long ago, may have now finished it. Some who feared starting, have started. Both have PROGRESSED! Prayer and a sponsor will help.

    Feel free to share your *bliss* with us :)

    I am NOT into statistics, but into helping people in OA (to help me). If you have been able to make more progress than ever before, then this material is useful. If not, let's get it off the web!

    I look forward to hearing from EACH OF YOU *pioneers* just to let us all know YOUR experience with working Step Four. Feel free to share your ESH with WTS. I believe that WTS is one of the best mediums EVER to help *carry the message* of recovery.

    THANKS

    I thank you ALL from the bottom of my OA heart for the opportunity to write this stuff out. From the time it was taught to me, to the time it changed my life, till now, I have wanted to share it with others and have done so with smaller groups. This has been exciting for me (believe it or not:) and I hope it has been good for you.

    All of the steps so far are available on The Recovery Group web page: www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/index.html. Anyone is welcome to use them or copy them and publish them anywhere.

    See you on Monday with Step Five and, for some, finishing up Step Four.

    Love,
    BOB A.

    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.



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