Step Four

Made a searching and fearless
inventory of ourselves



My name is Shlomo,

I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

If you had some trouble in finding the resentment prompt in the links I gave in my last share , you can study it in the attachment at the end of this post

Before I continue with step four I want to share with you something I heard yesterday in a meeting . Someone said " I am powerless over people places and things. " I often hear people say that in meetings . Well ,sometimes they are and sometimes they are not powerless. and that is true for every person in this world This is just life in general and has nothing to do with our particular disease of addiction. Examples: 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.

There are people I can convince or manipulate to do what I want. In those cases I have power over them, and there are others that I can not convince or manipulate, and I am powerless over them. I am powerless over an earthquake, hurricanes and other nature calamities.

As one can see those examples have nothing to do with our addiction Using "powerless over people places and things " as part of the first step is confusing and mistaken, It is not what the program is about.

Let us now 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.

ASSIGNMENTS 1: The Big Book deals with fears on pages 67-68. READ THOSE PAGES. which sentences speak to you? contemplate and share with us.

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 '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… Anxieties are also projected fears.

Now 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. 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. Examples of common phobias are fear of heights, fear of closed places, fear of public places, fear of flying etc... We usually don't know the reasons behind phobias, and often we also need professional help to deal with them in addition to the twelve step program.

ASSIGNMENT 2: Read page 133 and see how the big book recommends using professional help. Which sentences speak to you? reflect and share with us.

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 in our notebook, 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. 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 FEAR LIST attached to this post 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.

ASSIGNMENT 3: Fill the first column as described above. 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 fear of 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 pages on the 'seven parts of self' and the 'basic instincts'. They are attached to this post.

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 steps 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? I should 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 6: 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 baby steps you can take today 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.

ASSIGNMENT 7:SHARE WITH US one example from your fear inventory, and how you deal with it according to the Big Book directions

To be continued

Remarks and questions send to me at: Answers to assignments send to the loop at:

Have a nice day

Shlomo K Workshop leader

Step One
Step Two
Step Three

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

© Copyright 1995 ~ 2017 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved