You’ve probably heard it before so it comes as no surprise that Step Four is hard work and for some it can make or break how you approach your 12 Step program and your continued sobriety. Step 4 can be done many ways, but it should always be done with a sponsor. Whatever the layout of your fourth step though, you should be thorough and painstaking in its completion. In fact, it may take many months to complete, so fear not if does.
Over the course of the next number of blog posts, I am going to be posting A Fourth Step Guide that might help. It’s pretty in-depth, but manageable. I am not sure how many blog posts it will take but bear with me as I go through this Fourth Step Guideline again.
Fourth Step Inventory – Some General Directions
Alright, so first and foremost if you haven’t done so already, buy paper and pen and start writing. The Big Book tells us on many occasions to write out your fourth step work. However, in the age of computers sometimes it might be easier or more convenient to use word or even excel. Some say the ‘writing it out’ is what actually helps with the release, and who am I to argue!?
Overall, experience shows when we stop drinking or using drugs, the problems that were actually caused by that drinking will not present themselves in new ways as we are no longer using and working to make better choices and decisions. So, we are then left with the problems that caused us to drink or drug. By now you are probably finding out some of these as they rear their ugly heads as you move away from using. These are typically the ones that stay painfully with us unless we do something about them. In the past, they were so painfully with us that we needed something to relieve the pain, and that’s why we might have reached for alcohol and drugs.
One of the interesting parts of addiction is that we are always able to quit using, but we just couldn’t stay quit, we couldn’t stay away from relapse. So, in taking steps four through nine we are doing certain things which we find will bring us to a point in the life-enjoyment and comfort where we no longer need to drink or use drugs. We don’t need to take any more pain-reliever because the pain has been siphoned off through this process.
Our experiences tell us that it really does not matter particularly what your intent is when you take on Step Four, or what your attitude is, or what your ideas are as to what it will do for you and how. What matters most is that you take the steps honestly and to the best of your ability. You need to just stop rationalizing that you can do step 4 later once you’ve got some time under your belt.
Please stay tuned for the next part.