Step Four

Made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves.

Part A
Part B
Part C
Part D

Leader's Share and Step Questions

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

STEP FOUR: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

One of the preliminary assignments I gave you was to study the diagram in the following link:
In this diagram we see that our twisted basic instincts lead to a self will run riot which results in thee major character defects among many others. Those three are resentments fears and harming others.
Those three defects are basic manifestations of our spiritual disease and the Big Book deals with them in step four.
It says on page 64 " When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally (the obsession is removed) and physically (When we are not controlled by our food obsession we can be abstinent without relapsing).

In order to take the necessary actions to overcome any disease we have to diagnose it first.
That is what we do in step four.
This step gives us a detailed picture of our spiritual disease and how it manifests in our lives.

Let me first look at some of the words in step four.
A lot of people are hesitant about step four since they are not fearless.
To them I say that courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of fear by doing the right actions.
We begin to overcome our fears by asking our H.P. to remove them and then we do the actions needed even though we are afraid.
Now to the word moral. The Big Book was published in 1939.
When the Big Book was written the word moral in step four had the meaning of truthful and honest.
The word inventory means a written list. So step four is done in writing.
I am going to take you by the hand and lead you through step four, and then you will realize that doing this step is really simple although not necessarily easy.
I will do this by giving you assignments.

1. In order to make us understand better the meaning of our personal inventory the Big Book compares it on page 64 to a business inventory.
Read the comparison and then go to:
The table in this link sums it up nicely. Read and contemplate.

The Big Book says we begin our inventory with our resentments since from them stem all forms of spiritual disease.
The spiritual malady remains with us all our life even in recovery.
When it says that we overcome it by working all 12 steps it means that Its effect is lessened to such a degree by our daily work of steps 10-12,
That our mental obsession is removed on a daily basis or lessened to such a degree that it does not drive us to return to compulsive eating.
Our physical abnormal reaction to food remains with us always.
But it is not awakened, since we don't begin to eat things that may cause us cravings and we don't overeat.

2. In this share we will deal with our resentments.
The directions in the Big Book are similar to the written directions you get on assembling a kit.
There is a general drawing that presents the assembled product.
Then there are step by step directions on how to assemble it.
You read the first direction, then do what it says.
After that, you read the second direction, do what it says, and so on.
In the end you get the assembled kit.
That is what we will do with the step four directions.

In our case the assembled product is the resentment table on page 65. Study this table.
The step by step directions on how to fill your resentment table are written on pages 64-65.

2a. "In dealing with resentments we set them on paper."
Get a big notebook and a pen.
We are going to make a three column table like the example on page 65.
We will use only one side of each page for the table in our notebook and leave the other side blank.
We will need it for something else.
We will do it in stages, which I call easy to swallow bites.

2b. "We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry."
This sentence tells us to fill the first column.
So now we deal only with the first column.
The heading of the column is: "I'm resentful at".
I suggest you write three or four names to a page in the first column with spaces between them, and leave the other side of the page blank.
This may mean a lot of pages. Well, that is why I suggested a notebook.
I suggest you look at:
This link will help you to fill the first column.

2c. After we finish with the first column on all the pages we need in the notebook, we turn to the second instruction.
"We asked ourselves why we were angry" Now we fill the second column, "The Cause" and list the reasons for our resentments for each person institution or principle.
The example table on page 65 demonstrates how we should fill this second column.

2d. After we finish with the second column on all the pages of our notebook we go over to the third column.
The heading of this column is "Affects My". The Big Book explains the contents of this column and how to fill it on pages 64-65.
"In most cases it was found that our self esteem...we were usually as definite as this example."
We will fill it as was done in the example for 'Mrs. Jones, My employer and My wife' on page 65.
Let us also examine the following support file:

This file presents the parts of self that may be affected and which are used in the third column.
Pay also attention to the word [fear] in the third column and add it when needed.

3. After we finish with the third column on all the pages We read our entire table. All pages of it.

We will continue with the resentments soon. in my next share.

That is all for now folks
Have a nice and fruitful day


Questions and comments are most welcome. Send them to:
Send your answer to the assignments to:


Part B

Hi everyone
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
In this share we continue to deal with resentments


ASSIGNMENT 1. Read your resentment table.
Read also pages 65 (last paragraph) to page 67 (first and second paragraph In page 67). and contemplate.
What you see in it is that this world and it people were often quite wrong.
But this didn't help us because we cannot make the world around us obey our will.
Trying to do so is part of the reasons we developed our spiritual malady.
We were like the person who didn't feel comfortable walking around with bare feet so he tried to carpet the world.
QUESTION: Did you try to change others to suit you? did it result in resenting them? contemplate and answer. Share with us.

We have to understand that harboring resentments is fatal for us since it shuts us off from H.P., and activates our disease of compulsive eating.
Our resentments actually dominate us since they take control of our thoughts and they have the power to kill us.
So we have to get rid of them but we can not.
Because we are powerless over our resentments too, not only over our food compulsion. In fact we are powerless over our whole spiritual malady.
Our spiritual malady disconnects us from our H.P., with regard to all the aspects of our disease.

ASSIGNMENT 2. So how can we begin to deal with our resentments?
We begin by reflection and awareness.
Read our resentment table again with the intention of looking at the persons who wronged us, as spiritually sick.
We are not the only ones who have a spiritual malady.
They have one too. Otherwise they wouldn't have wronged us.
So awareness that the other persons in our resentment table are spiritually sick is some kind of progress and is a good beginning.
But still it does not help us to get rid of our resentments since we are powerless over them.

Can you internalize that the people you resent are also spiritually sick?
Share with us.

ASSIGNMENT 3. The answer to our powerlessness is to get help from our H.P.
The first step we have to take in order to get help from our H.P., is to pray.
When we pray we ask for help.
The prayers go something like this:
a. "Please God help me show these persons the same tolerance, pity, and patience I would grant a sick friend."

When someone offends me I say to myself.
b. "This man is sick. How can I be helpful to him?"

c. "God save me from being angry . Thy will be done."

ASSIGNMENT 4. We have to understand that prayer is not enough.
We are reminded of this a few times in the Big Book where it says "faith without works is dead".
Which means that prayer is just a prelude to action and is of no use without actions on our part.
In this case the actions we need to carry out are to AVOID RETALIATION AND ARGUMENT at all cost on a daily basis.
This means practicing RESTRAINT in our reactions on a daily basis.

SHARE WITH US a personal example of practicing or trying to practice restraint when becoming angry.

The awareness the prayers and our actions that complement the prayers are our first turn around.

We have to understand that the removal of our character defects, especially our resentments is not an event it is a process.
The process depends on developing and strengthening our connection with H.P.

This takes time, actions, and efforts on our part and especially willingness

If I feel that I lack willingness, I pray for willingness and try do do even small actions in order to get moving in the right direction.

ASSIGNMENT 5. Read page 67 paragraph three. This paragraph gives our second turnaround.
The words faults, wrongs, mistakes liabilities, failings, are all used as synonyms to our character defects, that block us from carrying out our step three decision.
Reflect especially on the following sentences:
"The inventory was ours, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely,... Admitting our wrongs honestly, willing to set those matters straight, though the situation had not been entirely our fault"

It is important to understand that there are situations that were entirely NOT our fault.
For example: abuse as a child, rape, mugging etc...
We don't deal with the situation in those cases.
We deal with the resentment that we carry now.
The resentment is always our problem and our fault.
As an example read the story "FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE" Big Book page 544 in the fourth edition.
Pay special attention to her reasons for continuing to carry the resentment, and how it blocked her from recovery. (page 551)
Does this remind you of your reasons for carrying your resentments?
SHARE WITH US a personal example of your justifications for one of your resentments.

ASSIGNMENT 6. We began our writing by looking at others and seeing how they wronged us.
But now is the time to look inward and see our part and our character defects that contribute to our resentments.
It is time to continue with the writing of our resentment inventory.
This time we use the blank side of the page in our notebook.
Copy to it the three or four names one under the other, from the first column of the resentment table (Remember we wrote three or four names to a page).
Leave space for writing between the names.
For each name answer the five following questions in detail and in writing.
Remark: The answers to the questions may contain more and different character defects that come up.
That is fine.

A) Where have I been selfish?
Write down your selfish and self centered actions feelings and thoughts with regard to that person institution or principle.

B) Where have I been dishonest?
Write down your 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...

C) Were have I been self seeking?
Write down your excessive caring about your personality and affairs which also means how you try to promote yourself at the others expense.

D) Where have I been frightened?
Write down what you were and are afraid of with regard to that person institution or principle.

E) Where was I to blame?
Write down what your responsibility was in this relationship and why you were in it in the first place.
And what was your contribution and your part in the event.
We do that only if we had some contribution to the event.
We don't do it if it was entirely the other persons fault, as cases were we were abused as small children, or raped or mugged etc...

In all cases we are responsible for carrying the resentment now and we write down our justifications for our resentment and for still carrying it now.

Answering those questions for all the names in our tables gives us a picture of our character defects that block us from contact with HP

Remark: sometimes one of the questions does not seem relevant for a particular resentment.
That is ok. Just write why you feel that the question is not relevant.
If you feel that another question is relevant Please write it and answer it.

SHARE the answers to the questions with us for ONE resentment only.

ASSIGNMENT 7. The directions in the Big Book for doing step four, Include essentially the daily discipline for dealing with resentments, and in fact include directions that are applied in steps 6 and 7
This is the discipline for dealing with resentments.

a. we write the resentments down in a three column table as in the example on page 65.

b. we contemplate and become aware that other persons can be spiritually sick too.
and those who offended and hurt or harmed us did it while under the control of their spiritual malady.

c. We turn to H.P., for help by saying the three prayers:
"Please God help me show these persons the same tolerance, pity, and patience I would grant a sick friend."

"This man is sick. How can I be helpful to him?"

"God save me from being angry . Thy will be done."

d.. We avoid retaliation and argument and practice restraint on a daily basis

e. we answer in writing the five questions:
Where had we been selfish?
Where had we been dishonest?
Where had we been self-seeking?
Where had we been frightened?
Where were we to blame (What was my part in the event and or in holding on to the resentment or both)?

f. We follow the suggestion in the story "freedom from bondage" on page 552 "If you have a resentment you want to be free of,
if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent,you will be free.
If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.
Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.
Even if you don't really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.
Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love".

g. read the story "acceptance was the answer" pages 407-420. pay special attention to pages 418-419.
Add the following to your daily discipline of dealing with resentments:
FOCUS ON THE GOOD QUALITIES of the person or the thing you resent instead of their defects.
Write down the good points and qualities you can find in them and contemplate on them on a daily basis.

As you can see there is no magic dust that can be sprinkled on you to make your defects disappear or diminish.
You have to do your part on a daily basis as it was explained here, according to the Big Book which is the textbook of the 12 step program.

CHOOSE ONE MAJOR RESENTMENT and apply the daily disciplines on it. Share with us.

This concludes our resentment inventory.
In the next shares we will deal with our fear and harm inventories.

Comments and questions are welcome. Send them to:

Send the assignments to:

Workshop leader.


Part C

Hi everyone.
My name is Shlomo,
I am a compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.
We continue with step four in this share, but before that there is a question asked by a member that is of general importance.
Here is the question and my answer.

QUESTION: Do you believe we are powerless in life or powerless over food only?
ANSWER: Everyone in this world is powerless over any kind of problem as long as they don't have a solution for it.
When they have an effective solution and apply it,
They stop being powerless since their problem is solved.

The only problem we deal with in this workshop is food compulsion, Food compulsion is a disease of addiction.
This addiction has three aspects
1. Physical: Overeating and cravings after eating triggers.
2. Mental: Obsessive thoughts about food that drive us to overeat and eat triggers.
3. spiritual: Character defects like negative thinking, feelings, and attitudes, which comprise the spiritual aspect of our disease.

We are powerless over all three aspects of our addiction as long as we don't have a solution (remedy) for it.

Our program suggests a solution.
It says that since our will power cannot deal with our disease and other persons cannot help us,
we have to have conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves which will solve our problem.
We develop this contact by working the 12 steps.
We call it spiritual awakening.

Those steps deal with our spiritual malady and enable us to overcome it on a daily basis.
We develop a conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves, and therefore we become powerful instead of powerless
When we overcome the spiritual malady on a daily basis, our obsession is removed by a Power greater than ourselves, and we don't feel the need to eat things that are not good for us.
We become powerful instead of powerless over our disease, since our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves solves our problem.

Since our disease of addiction is chronic, we have to use the remedy (work the steps) everyday of our lives, in order to remain in recovery and continue to be powerful.

We often hear people say in meetings that they are powerless over people places and things.
Well, sometimes they are and sometimes they are not.
This is just life in general and has nothing to do with our particular disease of addiction.
For example: A policeman has power over the person who gets a ticket.
If I am the policeman I am powerful in this case, and if I am the person who gets the ticket, I am powerless.
It has nothing to do with the disease of addiction.
Using this as part of the first step is confusing and mistaken,
It is not what the program is about.

Having answered that question let us deal with the fear inventory.
The assignments are given among the explanations.

Fear is a basic instinct of survival in all living beings.
It is the first feeling that arises when we face immediate danger.
And then the reaction is to fight or flee, depending on the circumstances.
In human beings this basic instinct may also be projected into the future.
Those projected fears are the fears we deal with in our inventory.

ASSIGNMENT 1: The Big Book deals with fears on pages 67-68. READ THOSE PAGES AGAIN.

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 in the resentments 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.
Those projected fears are actually behind every character defect we have.

The Big Book says that fear causes more troubles than stealing.
Why compare it to stealing?
Since fear steals our faith away from us.
Faith is the opposite of projected fear.
Having such a fear 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.
In fact our projected fears are a manifestation of our agnosticism.

Now let us see what we are usually 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.
Or that people will find out that I didn't do things that I should have done

All those 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 H.P., is only in the here and now.
Therefore my fears take me away from my connection to H.P., 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, fear of public places, etc...
We usually don't know the reasons behind phobias, and often we also need professional help in addition to the twelve step program.

Anxieties are also projected fears.

Now let me explain how we write our fear inventory.
We write our fears down on paper.
Here too we make a three column table on one side of the page and leave the other side blank.

The heading of the first column is "What/who are we afraid of"
We write three or four 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 resentment column.
Next we look at our answers to the question "where had we been frightened", that we answered when we dealt with the resentment inventory.
We copy additional fears from there if there are any, and add them to our first fear column.
To this we add all other kinds of fears that are not connected to our resentments.
We can use the following list of fears in the link:
Click on Basic Fears at the top of the page.
This may help you remember all kinds of fears that you have.
Remember also to check if there are pairs of fears like fear of failure and its opposite fear of success.

Remember to fill 3 or 4 fears on one side of the page and leave the other side blank.

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 my 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.
If I don't know why I have a particular fear , I write in the second column that I don't know.


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 top of the page in the link:

The seven parts of self are: Self esteem, pride, pocketbook (financial security), personal relations, ambition, emotional security, sex relations.

Whenever I have a fear it means that I don't rely on H.P., I rely only on my limited self.
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 my 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 or strong 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 H.P., which is unlimited Power never fails us, no matter what happens in our outer world.
When we truly rely on H.P., 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.

The Big Book gives us the method of dealing with fears after writing them down in our three column table.
First we pray to God to remove our fears. Here is the prayer:
"God, please remove my fears and direct my attention to what You would have me 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 H.P., would have me BE and write down what I think H.P.,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. And I do it every day.
I commit to act on a daily basis and then I commence to outgrow fear.
Outgrowing fear is a process and it takes time and action on our part.
Just to make it clearer let us look at our example again.
The fear of losing my job.
What do I think H.P., would have me be?
Rely on H.P., 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?
I pray to God to remove my fear.
Then I start looking for another job.
Or I may begin studying a course that will enhance my abilities in my profession or give me an additional more needed profession.
I discuss the problem with my sponsor my group, and my family.
I work harder at my current job and make amends where needed.
I talk with my sponsor and together with him device a plan of action.
I commit to doing it and report to him every day.
Effective, isn't it?

ASSIGNMENT 5: After you filled the three column fear inventory, copy the 3 or 4 fears from the first column to the blank side of the page.
Say the following prayer for the first fear:
"God, please remove this fear and direct my attention to what You would have me BE".

Sit still for a few moments and meditate what H.P., would have you be with regard to that fear.
Write down what you think H.P., would have you be.
Write down what are the steps you can take to begin advancing towards what H.P., would have you be.
Repeat that procedure for every fear on your list.
Device a daily routine for doing the actions that will gradually make you overcome your fears.
Do those routines on a daily basis.

SHARE WITH US one example from your fear inventory

A remark on 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 underlying reasons for such fears.
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 H.P., in this program, sometimes the answer we get is to get professional help.

Now a question and my answer. Please read carefully.
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!!

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.
It 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 among them 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 ethical or not ethical.
But it is a flaw in my makeup that causes me problems.
Writing it down makes me aware that it exists and 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 for me 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 may not have anything to write in the second column if I don't know the reasons for the phobia.
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.
Now I turn to H.P., 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 H.P., will have me be is free of my phobia.
What are the actions that I can take to reach this state?
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 normative people.

That is all for now
Questions and comments are most welcome.
Send them to my private address.

Send your answers to the assignments to the loop.
Our next step 4 share will be on harm done to others.

Have a nice day.


Part D

Hi everyone.
My name is Shlomo,
I am a compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.
Before we continue with step four there is a question sent by a member and my answer.
QUESTION: How shall I deal with my very strong feelings?
I know by doing the steps.
Why is it important to be conscious to my feelings?
Is it because when I am aware of a feeling I actually let it go from me?
You suggested us to write my feelings every day and try to feel them
Why is it important to fee them?
How can we free ourselves from the strong hold of our feelings?

ANSWER: The spiritual malady is a a disease of attitudes feelings thoughts and actions.
It says on page 52 " we couldn't control our emotional natures."
The disease makes it very painful for us to contain our emotions and in order to sedate them we turn to the disease solution which is food.
The recovery solution is to first pray to H.P to make us able to contain our feelings and remove the negative ones.
Then we practice learning to contain them by writing them out and practicing containing them by feeling them again as strongly as we can.
An example is the way we dealt with fears.
Fears stop us from doing actions that resolve problems in our life.
We wrote the fears in our inventory.
We prayed to H.P., to remove them and direct our attention to what He would have us be.
We practice containing the fears by trying to feel them as strongly as we can while writing them out.
Then we practice doing the actions necessary to resolve the problems that caused our fears.
Those actions make us pass through the fears and with H.P.,s help resolve the problem that caused them.

Now let us continue with our step four.
In this last part of step four I will deal with harm done to others

An inventory of harm done to others deals with our relationships with other persons.
The Big Book divides it into two parts.
Intimate relationship which means sexual relationships, and general relationships.
The Big Book deals with relationships on pages 68-71.
We will begin with an inventory of intimate relationships -people we had or have sexual relationships with.
The Big Book instructs us to review our sex conduct over the years past and present, by answering a bunch of questions.
So here are the directions for writing a sex conduct inventory.
We take our notebook and write a list off all the persons we had and have Intimate relations with even if they are now out of our life or dead.
We write one name to a page and leave the other side blank, since we 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)?
We write down in detail all the harm we caused that person.

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

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

7. Did I unjustifiably arouse bitterness in that person?
We are 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?
We meditate on this question and write down what were the right things that we should have done instead of what we did.

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

Next 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 relationship if it was selfish or not.
Then we turn to God and pray:
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.
Next the big book actually talks 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 (page 70):
"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 inventory and pick up the people we have harmed in that list.
Remember that resenting someone does not necessarily mean that I have harmed him. We resent him because he/she harmed us , but a lot of times we harmed the other person too.
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 our inventory and acting as suggested with what we have found out, we have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about ourselves.

And since the big book talks here about swallowing and digesting, I wish you all Bone Appetite.


1. . Read pages 68-71 carefully 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 relationships with, even those who are now not in your life or are dead.
You write one name to each different two sided page.
You answer all the nine questions in detail for each person.

2. Say the following prayer:
Then read your answers to question 9 for each person.
Meditate and write down your ideal for your future sex conduct.

3. 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.

4. 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 step nine 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

5. Now read carefully the share's instructions on doing the general conduct inventory.
Do again assignments 1-4, but instead of sex conduct you do it for general conduct.

6. 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.

A. Make a list of all the different character defects that appear in your fourth step inventory.
For each character defect write down how it manifests in your life, what do you think you benefit from it, and what is the harm it does to you.

B. Read the first 4 pages in the chapter INTO ACTION.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you action directions.

C. Set a date with your sponsor for doing step 5 as soon as you finish step 4

We have finished the fourth step inventory.
My next share will be on step 5.

REMARK: Those of you who have missed some of my previous shares can find the here: Second quarter

Again I invite you to ask me questions.
Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations or 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.
Have a nice day.

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