Step Four

Made a searching and fearless
moral inventory of ourselves.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Principle – Courage

Thank you all for your shares, please know that I have read and been moved be each and every one of them. Reading them has given me insight into my own recovery (or lack there of), and inspiration to work harder..


By the time I reached Step 4 I felt like I was ready for it. I believed that if I had surrendered to the program (I became willing to cooperate – STEP THREE ) there I had a made a commitment to do all the Steps. Yes, I was anxious (I really don’t like having to admit my defects – even to myself), but I was starting to believe in the 12 Steps. I was starting to feel better – not so alone – hopeful (STEP 2)– in fact, I was beginning to feel some serenity.

A moral inventory is simply defining who we are, inside and out with the purpose of looking for those distorted traits, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors that result in feelings that consciously or unconsciously make us want to medicate with food. By uncovering these character defects we can move towards their correction.

I love the analogy the Big Book uses of the businessman-taking inventory with our personal inventory taking. “We took stock honestly.” I like to look at this step with practicality. I have “stock” that either went bad or I don’t have use for anymore. So in order to “clean house”, I have to know what is what. And before I begin working on this step I say, “God, please help me to honestly take stock. Help me to search out the flaws in my make-up which caused my failure. Help me to see where resentment has plagued me and resulted in spiritual malady, but more importantly help me to understand my part in these resentments. Help me to resolutely look for my own mistakes and to understand where I had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened. Please help me to be searching and fearless in my endeavor to write my inventory."

It dawns on me, this Step 4 process is a lot like how I go about cleaning a closet. Usually I do this task only when I absolutely have to and I’m not really liking that I have to do it. (just like my first Step 4). Finally, I tell myself if I want to live in a clean house I just have to do it. I begin. As I am sorting through things, there are things I have totally forgotten about, things that are hidden at the very bottom of the closet, and things that are right out front that I can’t help but see. Now looking through these things there are some things that are old, worn and need to be thrown out. Maybe at one time they were useful, maybe they were comfortable, but not any more. Then there are other things that I can’t even imagine why I got them in the first place. They look ugly and I can’t wait to put them in the trash. Then there are those other things, things I like, beautiful things, things that are useful, things I want to keep. Now I can place these things, in a neat and orderly way back into my closet to use and wear proudly. I am glad I cleaned my closet.

Assignment: (Remember you do not share this on the loop, you will however share this with your sponsor when you do Step 5, so keep these writings.

Read: in Anonymous Big Book beginning on the bottom of pg. 63 Next we launched pg. 71 finishing the chapter. You will now follow the directions in the Big Book for doing Step 4.

Write: As the Big Book models, I took a piece of paper, folded it into three columns and on the top of each column I wrote “I’m resentful at”, “The Cause”, and “Affects My”. I complete each column before moving to the next.

So we begin with RESENTMENTS, our “number one” offender, (I know it was mine-lots and lots of them). Resentments can be towards people, institutions, and principles with whom we are angry. **When the first list (The Cause) we follow the BB instruction on the bottom of pg 66 “This was our course…to pg. 67 first paragraph and pray for that person who we now recognize as spiritually sick “LIKE ME”.

When the three columns are completed we begin the business of seeing where we were wrong. We look at each resentment and see our part in it. On some resentments I had to really look hard to see where I went wrong. I had covered up my part so well, but believe me, it was there. “The inventory was ours, not the other man’s. When we saw our faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight”. BB pg. 67

Next. Make a list of all your fears. Yep, all of them. We don’t have to have a resentment in connection to them. Just list all your fears. We look at our fears, and ask ourselves why do we have them? Was it because of self-reliance failed us?

Lastly, we look at our sex-life. We put it to the same scrutiny as resentment. Those same three columns, then what was my part.

is a page that you might find useful in doing this step, it has a template for writing the resentments, fears and sex inventory

As always, if you have any questions regarding this step study you can email me at


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