Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory
of ourselves.



PART ONE OF TWO
PART TWO OF TWO




STEP FOUR: FEAR AND PRIDE

My share on Step Four:
Hi, I am Cindi, a compulsive overeater. The principle of Step Four is courage. I want to admit something to all of you. I am a “fraidy cat.” Fear ruled my life for thirty-five years before I found recovery in the OA program. When I first came to OA and looked at Steps Four through Nine I ran. There was no way that I could possibly do such a thing! In running, I cheated myself out of years of recovery when I was younger. I thought the action needed in those steps were the reason for my terror. Now, after many Step Four inventories, I can acknowledge that the terror came from my disease of addiction and not from Steps Four through Nine. Did you know that?

My disease convinced me that I was such a horrible person that no one, including myself, could accept and love me. The things I had done were top secret and should never be shared with anyone. The disease of addiction built fear to such a degree that I was afraid to do most anything or face anybody. I suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks, and had many phobias including a people phobia. How did I break through such negativity?

By doing the exact thing I was most afraid of in program, Steps Four through Nine. My first inventory was done back in 2002-03 with a group of five other women. We met online, in a private chat room, for one hour every week for sixteen months. The step study leader led us through the OA workbook one question at a time. Each of us would take turns sharing first on a question, as I am doing now, sharing with you first. Those questions were intrusive, thought provoking and a learning experience I never want to forget. From listening to the shares of the other women I came to realize that I was not a bad person doing bad things, but an unhealthy person acting out in a sick manner due to a progressive disease. I kept thinking, “We are all one and the same person, only the details are different.” The step study was the beginning of my emotional and spiritual healing.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear and not absence of fear.”
Mark Twain, OA For Today, page 86.

Although fear is no longer my number one defect, (and how wonderful it is to say that!) I am still a fearful person. However, I no longer allow my fears to rule my life, to hold me back from becoming the person God meant me to be. It is possible to face our fears and to walk through them with the help of an OA support team. What is an OA support team?

I visualize my sponsor on my right, my Higher Power has my back, my sponsees on my left and the entire OA fellowship surrounding us all. Now that is a support team! With that kind of encouragement and support, I am sure I can face anything that life has to offer. Will you please allow me and the support of this step study to be on your OA support team? Visualize me on your right, your HP has your back, your sponsor on your left and the entire step study in a circle surrounding you.

“I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone! No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon on our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.”
The OA promise found in “I put my hand in yours” by Rozanne S.

I never thought of myself as a courageous woman but I do now. Each of us have had the courage to face the fact that we needed more help than we could give ourselves. We came to OA and had the courage to share that we, too, were food addicts. We had the courage to join this step study and to work our way through the first three steps. Let us walk, hand in hand, through our fears and face the next six steps together courageously.

Love in recovery,
Cindi


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

Fourth Step Prayer:
Higher Power,
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 of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 104

Study Guide:
To help comprehend the questions, please read the Step Four chapter in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Read, in the BB of AA (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous), the chapter titled How It Works, pages 63 to 71. (Fourth Edition)

Instructions:
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.

In the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step Four is divided into four different sections: Pride, Fear, Resentments and Honesty. In this step study, 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. I am also adding an additional exercise, Character Traits, to each part so be sure you work through all the exercises and questions.

As I always instruct my local step studies, 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 to our step study group. You will share ALL of your inventory in Step Five with another person (preferably your sponsor, but it can be a therapist, minister, 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!


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 small talk 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

Questions:
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 does not 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?


ADDITIONAL EXERCISE:
As with any inventory, we must list not only the liabilities but also the assets. This exercise is meant to give you a more balanced view of yourself as a person.

Name six character or personality traits of yours that you really like and why. Please do not list physical attributes. Although having beautiful blue eyes is great, it does not define who you are.

Example: I am grateful that recovery has allowed my gift of writing and sharing to surface and be used in this step study. To have such a gift has given me much needed self-esteem.


I admit the exercises and questions will take some time for each of us to complete. My suggestion is to work on one section at a time then give yourself a break before moving onto the next section. That seems the easiest way to handle it. You have the entire week so use it. If you have any questions, please ask. I am here to help.

Love in recovery,

Cindi




STEP FOUR: RESENTMENT & HONESTY

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

FOURTH STEP PRAYER:
Higher Power,
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 of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 104

Study Guide:
To help comprehend the questions, please read Step Four in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Read, in the BB of AA (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous), the chapter titled How It Works, pages 63 to 71. (Fourth Edition)

Instructions:
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: Resentment Exercise and Honesty questions. I have added an additional exercise, Character Traits, to be done after each part. Please be sure you are doing all the exercises and answering all the questions. Thank you!


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 your entire 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!



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 because it scares me. 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 because I am smart and should have had higher 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 because I feel there is a wall between us. 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 because of the limitations on me. This affects my sense of security. This activates fear and anger. This makes me feel very vulnerable.



FOURTH SECTION: HONESTY

Questions:
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? Have we ever borrowed money or property and not returned it? Make a list of each incident we can remember.

3. Have we ever broken a confidence? Have we ever cheated on tests or in games or contests? Do we make a habit of cheating?

4. Have we ever cheated or lied to ourselves? Have we lived in denial about our eating, our character defects or our need to change?

5. Have we been sneaky or practiced deception? Have we taken advantage of someone’s ignorance instead of telling the full truth?

6. Do we dwell on the dark side of things? Are we grateful for what we do have in life? Or do we ignore our blessings and focus on what we lack? Are we optimistic or pessimistic? Do we indulge in self-pity or do we play the martyr?



ADDITIONAL EXERCISE:

As with any inventory, we must list not only the liabilities but also the assets. This exercise is meant to give you a more balanced view of yourself as a person.

Name six more character or personality traits of yours that you really like and why. Do not list physical attributes please.


The exercises and questions will take some time for each of us to complete. My suggestion is to work on one section at a time then give yourself a break before moving onto the next section. That seems the easiest way to handle it. You have the entire week so use it. If you have any questions, please ask. I am here to help.

Love in recovery,

Cindi






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