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STEP 4 ALANON & AA
Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Ourselves
I’ll just dive right in here. Before getting to Step 4, I admit I feel a bit tentative. Down deep I think, “Oh, here I go again. Looking for everything I do wrong.” Yes, that’s a true reaction inside, and I somehow doubt I am alone with this thought. I even go so far as to think, “Wow, like I haven’t beaten myself up enough in my life time? Do I now need to rehash this stuff?” Yes, even after many years of sobriety, my inner child, and the one that was neglected and verbally chastised sits waiting. He points a waving finger and ‘tsk-tsk’ me.
I was talking to someone in Al-Anon about Step Four and how I have this ‘thing’ about it. It’s always a daunting task. Now this is what I love about Al-Anon. She said, and I am paraphrasing, “Step 4 is to be fearless because you’ve developed a good strong foundation from Steps 1-3 so fear not.” Then she added, “Al-Anon Step 4 is a ‘moral’ inventory. That means, you can search for what has been wrong AND right about your conduct. You should resist the urge to justify or excuse what you write down.” I sat there thinking I heard this before, but I guess I wasn’t in the head space to actually process the information deeply.
For me the talking about the ‘right’ conduct is like bragging about myself, and in my house it was considered a sin to do that. Yes, that’s right, and actual sin. At least until I hit high school, when my mom found sobriety and then married a man in the AA program. By then though, I think the ‘damage’ was done. I still feel weird talking about my good qualities. I have them...thankfully. So, that being said, it makes it a bit easier for me to get to the ‘goods,’ so to speak.
When I did the Step 4 in AA the first time it was upon the strong suggestion of my sponsor to STOP dilly-dallying! Yes, he actually used that word. I got it all out; rage, anger, pain, and sadness. I held nothing back. The list was long, scandalous, and when I read it back, I was embarrassed that these things from my past and current day held me at bay from enjoying my life. I actually became angry, but only because I was, for the first time, realizing I was presenting a perfect picture; clothes, smile, job, family. I was so hugely ensconced in denial of reality that I was keeping many people from getting to know the real me.
I quickly came to realize that pretending was how I grew up. We weren’t to talk about our problems with outside people. Unfortunately, when I spoke to my family members about problems I was having it would be used as ammunition to hurt me in other ways. So, it became apparent that it was simpler for me to say everything was fine.
After I made the list, I went back and added why my part was in the madness, AND I did have a part in it. One of those ways was to verbally manipulate people around me into getting them to see situations my way, and when they didn’t I became resentful. After all, I laid it out for them. Can’t they see how it is?
Please stay tuned for Part 2 of Step 4
Recovery Rob BIO
Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website, www.askrecoveryrob.com, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.