Category Archives: STEPWORKING

LYNNE TAKES AN ADVANCED JOURNEY THROUGH THE STEPS

 

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction; that our lives had become unmanageable.

 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

 9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

 10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

UNPUBLISHED STEP 4 GUIDES

unpubna4thstep

In this document, we offer two unpublished NA Fourth Step guides. These guides

come from early drafts of the “Basic Text” and “It Works: How and Why.” Because

much of the material in these drafts did not make the final cut, these are not NA

conference-approved Fourth Step guides.

However, these guides are still valuable for the insight they provide into an early

method of writing Fourth Step inventory that has been largely lost in modern NA.

With the publication of the official Narcotics Anonymous Step Working Guides,

most NA members who do work Steps, work them based on the official guides, and

the earlier ways have been forgotten.

The Fouth Step guides presented here allow us to take a step back to the spiritual

roots of our program. By taking guidance from an early tradition within the fellowship

and adopting its style of fearless self-examination, we may find a new way of

relating to the Spirit of recovery and to our program as a whole.

Blessings on those who apply these principles in all of their affairs.

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From the Santa Monica version of the Basic Text

STEP FOUR

WE MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS

MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.

Step Four helps us see exactly what our problems are and shows us our

strengths.

Let’s face it. When we were using, we weren’t very honest with ourselves. We are

finally beginning to become honest when we admit our addiction has whipped us

and that we need help. For some of us it took a long time to admit we were beaten.

We found that we do not recover- physically, mentally, or emotionally–overnight.

Step Four is going to help us toward recovery more than we can imagine.

Some people make the mistake of approaching the Fourth Step as if it were a

confession of how horrible they are-what a bad person they had been. This is not

the purpose of this step. We are trying to free ourselves of living in old, useless patterns.

We take the Fourth Step to gain the necessary strength and insight to enable

us to grow in this new way of life. A binge of emotional sorrow over real or imagined

wrongs will not help us. In fact, it can be quite harmful.

Our purpose is to be rid of guilt-not wallow in it! We must be done with the past,

not cling to it. We want to look our past in the face and see it for what it really wasand

then to release it so that we can live today. The past, for most of us, has been

a ghost in the closet. We have been afraid to open that closet for fear of what that

ghost may do to us.

We don’t have to do this alone. Our will and our life is now in the hands of the

source of all strength-we tap into the Source! Writing a thorough and honest inventory

looked impossible to most of us. It was-as long as we were operating under our

own power. We take a few quiet moments before writing and pray for the power to

carry it out.

We may approach the Fourth Step in a number of ways. It is advisable that before

we start, we go over the first three Steps with our sponsor. We get comfortable with

our understanding of these steps. We allow ourselves the privilege of feeling good

about what we are doing. We have been thrashing about for a long time and have

gotten nowhere. Now, we are going to take it easy and not let things frighten us.

We don’t write the inventory with any particular person in mind. If we do that,

we may wind up slanting what we write in order to please them. Only time will tell,

and the Fifth Step will take care of itself. We stay here in the Now– we are on step

Four. We cannot work Step Five until we have completed step Four.

With pen and paper, we begin our moral inventory. If the word “moral” bothers

us, we call it a positive/negative inventory, or a good/bad inventory. The way to

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write an inventory is to write it! Thinking about it, theorizing about it, talking about

it will not get it written. We sit down with a notebook, pray, pick our pen and start

writing. All we seek to do is find out which things about us need changing. If we

were grocers we would not hesitate to separate the rotten fruit from the good and

throw out the rotten. It is important to remember where we came from so that we

don’t return. We had to go through what we did to get to where we are now.

A basic rule of thumb is that we can write too little, but we can never write too

much. The inventory will fit the individual, so we simply write until the brain is

emptied. Anything we think about is possibly inventory material. We realize how

little we have to lose and how much we have to gain. We plunge into this step with

no reservations.

We sit down with paper and pen and pray for God’s help in revealing the defects

that are causing pain and suffering. We pray for courage to be fearless and thorough

so that this inventory may help us put our lives in order. When we pray and take

action it always goes better for us.

INVENTORY TOPICS:

1. Resentments write about all people, places, things, institutions, ideas, or principles

that we resent, or feel threatened by-past and present. Make a list of all these

things first, then write about each, telling:

A) What Happened? (Be specific!)

B) How did it make us feel? (Examples: Was my pride or self respect hurt? Were

our ambitions or security threatened in any way? Was our livelihood endangered?

Was a personal or sexual relationship hurt or threatened? ) Do this for each item,

leaving some space after each After you’ve done this with everything on your list,

then go back and answer:

C) Where was I at fault? Where was I selfish, dishonest, self-seeking or frightened?

Though I might not have been all wrong, in what way was I to blame for the

situation?

Answer these questions for each item-be honest and thorough!

2. Fear: Write about your fears, even though they might not have any relation to

your resentments. Answer these questions about each: Why do I have this fear?

Am I afraid because I cannot depend on myself?

3) Sex: Write about your experience or problems with sex, whether deep relationships,

short affairs, or individual problems that seemed to have nothing to do with

others. (Be specific!)

Then answer these questions about each item:

Where have I been selfish ?

Where have I been dishonest?

Where have I been inconsiderate?

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Whom did I hurt?

Did I create jealousy or suspicion or cause bitterness?

Was the relationship a selfish one?

Where was I at fault?

What might I have done instead?

4) Miscellaneous: Basically, any negative thoughts or feelings you may have

should appear somewhere in your inventory. If you have anything left over after

writing about resentments fears, and sex, here is the place to put it. Any guilt,

shame, regret, embarrassment, etc. that you’ve not already written about.

When we were active in our addiction we lived under a regime of fear. In attaining

our new life, we want to be free of unreasonable fear. A lot of times we try to

look good in front of other people, but deep down inside we are often afraid of who

we are and where we came from.

We write down our fears, our resentments and our guilts. We examine in depth

our relationships with people, places and situations asking ourselves what we have

demanded of these relationships. Often the answers will show that we are placing

unreasonable demands on reality. We often find we are demanding that other people

stop being who they are.

Most of us find we were neither so terrible nor so wonderful as we supposed. We

are surprised to find that we have many good points in our inventory. Anyone who

has some time in the program and who has worked these steps will tell us that the

Fourth Step was a turning point in our lives. Ultimately we find out that we are

just human, with the same fears, longings and troubles as everyone else. One of

the greatest benefits of the NA program is discovering that we need never be alone

again. Others have felt as we feel. Others have failed where we failed. They are here

now in the strength of the fellowship, ready and eager to help us.

This Fourth Step can be a wonderful adventure, reviewing our past performance

and our present behavior to see what we want to keep and what we want to be rid

of. This Step has the reputation of being difficult. In reality, it’s quite simple.

As recovering addicts, we now have the right to reach for levels of greater comfort

and we can reach them by getting a handle on what we’ve been doing wrong. If

we want to feel good, we have to stop doing the things that make us feel bad.

We are not going to be perfect. If we were perfect, we would not be human. The

important thing is that we do our best. We use the tools available to us, and because

we do not want to lose any of what we have gained, we want to continue in the program.

It is our experience that no matter how searching and thorough, no inventory

is of any lasting effect unless it is promptly followed by an equally thorough Fifth

Step.

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From the Chicagoland Draft of It Works

STEP FOUR

“We made a searching and fearless moral

inventory of ourselves.”

The Fourth Step is an action step; it is a cleansing of the mind and spirit. The decision

we made in Step Three is an important one, but it will have no lasting effect

unless it is accompanied by an honest appraisal of our innermost faults and defects.

Making our moral inventory, we learn about the true nature of our addiction. Using

drugs was only a symptom of our disease. In Step Four, we look at the things which

prevented us from being happy.

We do this by taking an inventory of ourselves. This personal inventory is similar

to the one businesses take. It is to see which items are useful and which are obsolete,

what works and what doesn’t, and what can be done to improve the quality of

our lives.

Step Four was a step to freedom. It was here that we began to take a look at ourselves.

We did this in order to identify our liabilities, defects of character, and assets.

All the reasons we thought we had to use needed to be put behind us.

We had hesitated looking at the things we had been trying to run away from all

our lives. We got to the point where we wanted to see ourselves and get comfortable.

We wanted to know who we were. What kind of person were we?

Arrogance and fear have caused us to rationalize every possible form of destructive

behavior and thought. Our problem is not only the behavior, but also the rationalization.

Without taking personal inventory, we go on doing what we have always

done. We need to bring our patterns of behavior out into the open so that we can

examine them. We need to look at ourselves and our behavior to see what is unproductive

and blocks our recovery.

Before actually writing Step Four, we need first to keep in mind that by having

done the three steps, that we have come to believe in a God of our understanding

who can give us the strength to do a fearless moral inventory. We work closely with

a sponsor while writing our inventory. Once we are ready to begin, we ask that the

God of our understanding will give us the, honesty, strength and willingness to

complete Step Four.

We need not be apprehensive when we begin this step, as it clearly offers relief

from the years of unresolved guilt experienced by many addicts. Too often we approach

this step with such low self esteem that we thought ourselves incapable of

doing an inventory. The job may look too big for us, which in fact it is. We realize

that this is not a step we can complete on our own. Now that we have become willing

to practice the first three steps of Narcotics Anonymous, we exercise all our new

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faith in a Power Greater than ourselves. This indeed will give us more than enough

strength to take inventory of our lives. Our new-found faith will remove the fear we

lived with for so long and give us the courage to explore thoroughly the nature of

our defects and the behavior that resulted from them which were established during

our active addiction and carried into our early recovery.

When we are ready to begin, we asked for guidance and start writing. It is extremely

important that we work closely with a sponsor.

A sponsor, or friend whom we trust in the Fellowship, can share their experience

with us as we reach this step. We often feel comforted by our sponsor’s identifying

our defects in the items we put on paper which caused so much grief in our lives. If

we face our fears to begin a thorough inventory, we can begin by listing our fears

and the reasons for them. It is important to remember that a God of our understanding

is with us as we write our inventory. If the God of our understanding protected

us through our insanity during active addiction which we are now writing about;

there is nothing to fear in putting it on paper. We do Step Four as if there were no

Step Five. We begin to see the greater freedom that lies ahead.

Many of us found our first Fourth Step was the hardest one to do. We made countless

false starts, or we filled up countless pages with writing that had nothing to do

with this step. We read all we could find on doing the Fourth Step and talked to

everyone who said anything about their Fourth Step at meetings. We were just putting

off getting started.

We really had to tell our whole story. We found it was very important to get all

that down. We had to be searching and fearless, looking carefully at ourselves. Our

sponsors told us that we needed to write (in some way record) our Fourth Step. Just

thinking about it was not enough. We found that we needed to write a lot.

Some addicts try to cut corners by making a simple self-examination. Some may

try to talk out problems with another person, rather than writing a complete inventory.

These avoidance methods may bring temporary relief from pressing problems,

but these solutions are inadequate. Our experience has shown that a written inventory

is the best assurance of self-honesty. Writing about our fears, resentments,

character defects and assets gives us a perspective we can gain in no other way. It is

difficult to deny justify or rationalize our behavior when it is written on the page. If

we lie on paper, we recognize it and work towards deeper honesty. These are some

of the immediate advantages of a written inventory.

In taking our inventory we take a good long look at what has occurred in our

lives. We feel that fear, in its numerous forms, is what crippled us. Since it is difficult

to understand the cause of our fear when we are experiencing this fear, we

concentrate on the various forms it takes.

It makes no difference at this point in our recovery how small our problems seem

to be or how often we have thought or talked about them. At this point, it is impor8

tant to emphasize that being thorough is not the same as being perfect.

The best way most of us found to start our Fourth Step was to pray and ask God to

help us. As we wrote our inventory, our Higher Power was usually the only one in

the room with us. We wrote in confidence and privacy. Since God helped us through

the madness we were now writing about, we didn’t have to be afraid of putting it

down on paper. Nothing that we wrote on that paper hurt us. It was all a benefit to

us. There was something revealed we needed to see, something that avowed us to

grow and be free. We soon realized that greater freedom lay ahead for us as we got

more honest in our Fourth Step inventory.

We really had to tell our whole story. We found it was very important to get all

that down. We had to be searching and fearless, looking carefully at ourselves. Our

sponsors told us that we needed to write in some way record our Fourth Step. Just

thinking about it was not enough. We found that we needed to write a lot.

Some addicts try to cut corners by making a simple self-examination. Some may

try to talk out problems with another person, rather than writing a complete inventory.

These avoidance methods may bring temporary relief from pressing problems,

but these solutions are inadequate. Our experience has shown that a written inventory

is the best assurance of self-honesty. Writing about our fears, resentments,

character defects and assets gives us a perspective we can gain in no other way. It is

difficult to deny justify or rationalize our behavior when it is written on the page. If

we lie on paper, we recognize it and work towards deeper honesty. These are some

of the immediate advantages of a written inventory

In taking our inventory we take a good long look at what has occurred in our

lives. We feel that fear, in its numerous forms, is what crippled us. Since it is difficult

to understand the cause of our fear when we are experiencing this fear, we

concentrate on the various forms it takes.

It makes no difference at this point in our recovery how small our problems seem

to be or how often we have thought or talked about them. At this point, it is important

to emphasize that being thorough is not the same as being perfect.

The best way most of us found to start our Fourth Step was to pray and ask God to

help us. As we wrote our inventory, our Higher Power was usually the only one in

the room with us. We wrote in confidence and privacy. Since God helped us through

the madness we were now writing about, we didn’t have to be afraid of putting it

down on paper. Nothing that we wrote on that paper hurt us. It was all a benefit to

us. There was something revealed we needed to see, something that allowed us to

grow and be free. We soon realized that greater freedom lay ahead for us as we got

more honest in our Fourth Step inventory.

Once we had gone through all our turmoil about what a moral inventory was,

we were faced with the problem of starting to write. We did lots of procrastinating

here, too. We would sit down to write and we would forget a pencil. We would

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get a pencil and find we had the wrong paper. We would get the pencil and paper

together and then we would have to get our coffee. There was so much pain and

guilt that would be coming out and we knew it. So there was almost no end to our

procrastination.

The more we revealed, the better it was. It was important to put everything down

that gave an accurate picture of us. This was the first time we had to really face

ourselves and what we had done to others.

A lot of us got concerned with the format. We found that that didn’t matter. What

mattered was that we needed to be as honest as we could be. We found we had to

stop and search to get down to how we really felt.

How did we know when we were through writing? They told us we would know

when we were done. That seemed pretty strange to us at the time. Then we found

through our own experience it was true. We just had to get our story down so we

could see a true picture of ourselves.

We finally saw we had played a part in the things that had happened to us. People

were abusive to us but we often gave them good cause or permission to act that way.

We manipulated people and then were surprised when they didn’t do everything the

way we wanted them to.

We needed to have a turning point in our lives. We needed to be able to look at the

past, accept it for what it was, and let it go. What happened, happened. If we didn’t

do that, our past kept hurting us. A lot of old feelings influenced how we lived in

our today’s. So getting our past out in the open and accepting it clearly could set us

free. It would let us start on new, clean ground.

One of the mast painful things about that first inventory was confronting all the

lies that we had been telling our whole lives. It was so hard to sit down and finally

tell the truth. We finally got away from all the terrible things we thought had happened

to us. We saw we had manufactured a lot of that. Those were our reactions. It

was our disappointments at being let down because we didn’t get what we wanted.

Seeing that clearly was the whole point of the Fourth Step for many of us.

What is a moral inventory? In a moral inventory, our goal is to get an accurate

picture of ourselves. What happened with us? What are we like today? Our sponsors

shared with us that in order to get a true picture of ourselves, we had to take a

look at every area of our lives. We had to look at sex. We had to write about relationships.

We had to look at crime and things we hurt people with. We had to write

about our inadequacies, our insecurities. What kind of moral person were we? Were

we giving persons? Or, were we takers? Were we loving persons? Or, did we have

a lot of hate in us?

As we began to write down the answers to these questions, we began to get a good

picture of the kind of person we were morally. We saw there were a lot of things

wrong with us. Many of us couldn’t give. We couldn’t share. We didn’t know much

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about how to love.

Any method we use will be effective if we are searching and fearless.

The outline below suggests .a structure for examining ourselves. It contains the

basic elements which comprise our self-appraisal. This is where we identify and

examine our feelings. We refer to the Basic Text and jot down words which trigger

an awareness of our feelings. Writing serves as a means for drawing a picture of

our feelings.

I. REVIEW YOUR FIRST THREE STEPS: Review your first Three Steps with

a sponsor.

II. WRITE ABOUT YOUR RESENTMENTS. Our resentments caused us discomfort,

putting us in a negative flame of mind which tended to breed further resentments.

We were angry about what happened and kept a mental grudge list. We

regretted the clever things we had not said. We planned retaliations for things that

may or may not have happened. We were obsessed with the past and future, and

therefore cheated ourselves of the present, We need to write about these resentments

now to see the part we played in forming them.

A. LIST THE PEOPLE, PRINCIPLES, AND INSTITUTIONS YOU RESENT.

Most of us started with our childhood, but any order will work as long as it is complete.

We included all the people (parents, mates, friends, enemies, etc.), the organizations

(jails, police, hospitals, schools, etc.), and the concepts (religions, politics,

prejudice, social groups, etc.) at whom we were angry.

B. LIST THE CAUSES OF EACH RESENTMENT. We explained the reasons

for our anger. Was our self-respect or pride hurt? Was our safety threatened in any

way? Was our livelihood attacked? Was a personal or sexual relationship hurt or

threatened? We listed whomever or whatever we resented, the cause of the resentment,

and -how it affected us.

C. WITH EACH RESENTMENT, TRY TO SEE WHERE YOU WERE MISTAKEN

AND WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD. Try to forget about

the other people’s mistakes, and concentrate on your own. For each situation, we

answered these questions: Where have I been selfish? Where have I not been completely

honest? Was I thanking only of myself, manipulating toward my own ends?

Was I afraid? What part did I play in the situation, in what way was I to blame for

the situation? We write our personal inventory, not the other people’s. We make a

list of our faults, not theirs. We realized ourselves are not perfect. Where others

have wronged us, we must realize that we need to stop expecting perfection from

them. This allows us an opportunity to look at ourselves which is critical to our

recovery.

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III. WRITE ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. We list the many ways in which

each of us has been intolerant. At times, we probably refused to allow others the

privilege of voicing or even having an opinion, and this attitude caused indifference

or hostility. We had a need, generated by pride and fear, to “always be right.” We

were unnecessarily critical of others; yet when constructive criticism was directed

towards us, we were less than receptive. Every suggestion was met with either irritation

or despair. Did we listen only to ourselves? When were we intolerant of

others? When did we feel superior to others and correct them?

A. LOOK AT EACH PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. Examine the positive and

negative aspects of each one, being honest about your assets and liabilities. Avoid

spending time on the wrongs others have done. We focus on our mistakes, and concern

ourselves with areas where self-centeredness seemed to prevail. We must look

within and honestly appraise our motives. This is our inventory and if it is to succeed,

we need to list our faults, not those of others. Self-pity is one of the ways we

manipulated others for our benefit. Indulging in self-pity is asking others to change

or to bow to our demands; it is looking for a way to avoid responsibility. We ask

ourselves these questions: When did we use self-pity to get attention? Did we lie or

“stretch the truth” to make ourselves loot more pathetic? Did we make others feel

guilty by feeling sorry for ourselves? Did we bill ourselves as victims of life and

everyone around us?

This list may include but does not have to be limited to: family, friends, lovers,

workmates, God, self and other members of the N. A. Fellowship. Everyone

feels down at times, but addicts can not afford to feel sorry for themselves. When

we didn’t get what we wanted, did we choose to pout or complain? Were we so

consumed with self-pity and our own suffering that we had very little perspective

or understanding of others? Did we exaggerate our problems? Could we feel any

concern for others when so consumed with self? Were others frustrated by our

negativity? As addicts, our emotions often run to extremes-past the point of what

is appropriate. We must now find a way to change our actions or be driven back to

active addiction.

B. WRITE ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS. This may include deep

relationships or short affairs, spouses, lovers or others.

We all have sexual needs and desires. Our sexual needs are natural.

We answered these questions about each relationship: Did I manipulate and lie to

others to meet my own needs? Did I care about the other person? How did I demonstrate

that? Did I feel better or less than my partner? Did I sell myself short? Did I end up

feeling worthless, used and abused? Did I think that only sex would make me happy

and fulfilled? Did my relationships end in pain and unhappiness both for myself and

others? As with everything else, we need to ask direction from a Power greater than ourselves.

With this in mind, sexual relationships can be a fulfilling and joyful experience.

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IV. WRITE ABOUT YOUR FEARS. We answered these questions about our fears:

Why do I have this fear? Am I afraid because I trust upon myself? Am I afraid of

fear itself?

Self-sufficiency may seem to be a good lifestyle, until we meet barriers greater

than ourselves. Some of us were very confident and self-assured, especially when

we were using. But it never conquered our fears, or any other problem. At best it

hid them, sometimes so deeply that we did insane things without really knowing

why. We begin to see that our fear originates within us, and we are responsible for

its numerous forms.

There is a better way. We are now on a completely different foundation: Instead

of being self-reliant, we are God-reliant. Instead of depending on self, which is

limited, we trust in a Power greater than ourselves, which is limitless.

We need to examine ourselves in close detail in order to modify those attitudes

which have not worked for us, for our peace of mind. We are trying to build a happy

life in recovery, and Step Four is our first clear-cut attempt at that. A part of Step

Four is looking at our fears. We test them and find them to be unreasonable. Some

of our fears include: Fear of rejection, abandonment, responsibility, commitment,

growing up, success, failure, life without drugs. If we have looked closely, we have

found that we are afraid of almost everything. Our fears have kept us from doing

the things we want to do and becoming the people we want to be.

If we are as honest as we can be, many of our previous fears will be cast aside

once and for all. Our liabilities may destroy us if we have a lack of faith in the God

of our understanding. With a loving God’s help, we are guided through our confusion.

What are-the results that come from making a searching and fearless moral inventory

of ourselves? Our Basic Text says: “Anyone who has some time in the program

and has worked this step will tell you that the Fourth Step was a turning point in

their life. The results of living the Fourth Step are freedom from the past, freedom

to be ourselves, and knowledge of who and what we really are.

If we have written a thorough inventory, we end up with a large amount of information

about ourselves. We have carefully examined our resentments and begin

to understand how worthless and deadly they really are. We realize their power to

destroy us, and now seek a better way to live. We grow toward freedom, peace of

mind and balance.

Throughout these pages we have learned that God does for us what we cannot do

for ourselves. By taking the remaining steps, we will begin to realize that through

God and our own efforts, we can remove the various forms of self-centeredness that

have kept us from a greater spiritual awareness. If we have sincerely taken the first

three steps and followed through with a searching and fearless moral inventory, we

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become aware of some strong realities about ourselves and are ready to move on.

We do a Fifth Step right away while the inventory is still fresh.

Those of us who took this approach to the Fourth Step saw that it wasn’t our

needs that got us into trouble. It was the ways we were going about meeting those

needs. If we needed approval and the way we tried to meet that need was by bullying

people and monopolizing conversations trying to be the life of the party, that

defeated the purpose. If we wanted financial security and we were running up a

bunch of bills we couldn’t pay, then that need wasn’t going to be met.

A few of us worked this step from a somewhat different perspective than most.

Some of us looked at our lives and what it was we wanted from them. We saw we

all had needs that, for the most part, we deserved to have met. All of us had needs

for love and affection and approval and productive work. All of us had certain basic

financial necessities.

As we watched other people do their Fourth Steps, we came to see that there were

different approaches to this step that worked. Each of us had to find a way to work

the step that gave us a true picture of ourselves. Our sponsors were usually able to

provide the guidance we needed.

If we wanted to feel comfortable with ourselves yet we were jumping into bed

with anyone who asked us, we couldn’t feel very good. If we wanted an education

but didn’t do anything to work towards that, what did that mean? What did that

say about us? If we wanted a good relationship, what were we doing to get it? If

we were fighting with our partner all the time, obviously that was no way to get it.

What were we willing to do differently? Maybe we needed not to have such high

expectations. Maybe we needed to be more tolerant, more patient.

We saw that humility was truth. We tried to write down the truth, about ourselves.

This was usually our first attempt at letting somebody else know the good things we

felt about ourselves. After a couple of years in N.A., we had learned to share about

all the crazy things we did and the way we lived. We even managed to make each

other laugh about it instead of crying about it, which was a blessing.

A method that worked for some of us to see our lives as they were and find the ways

we were defeating ourselves. We wanted things to be different. But we wouldn’t

take responsibility for changing them. If we waited long enough, maybe that would

happen. . But we found things worked better in our lives if we took responsibility

for what was happening to us and changed the things we could change.

There was so much going on inside us when we first got clean. There was all the

pain and anger and resentment. It took years for it all to reappear. We believe we

learned of it gradually because the loving God of our understanding knew our capabilities.

Something we would hear at a meeting or a convention would trigger some

old feeling or event that we had forgotten all about, so that we could work on it.

We always found that some story we heard, or some situation we were in, made us

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aware of the pain and hurt inside that showed us there was some more work on the

Fourth Step that needed to be done. Sometimes we knew about some problem and

held on to it as our secret. We didn’t want to tell people everything. Sometimes our

secrets weren’t known to us yet, they were still buried too deep inside for us to see;

they needed time to surface. They all needed to go. We were as sick as our secrets.

Holding on to them was saying we were separate from others and they couldn’t be

trusted to know us. That was why Step Four asked us to be searching and fearless.

How else could we have ever hoped to get at the secrets that were keeping us separate

and alone, away from the real connection with our fellow human beings and

our Higher Power?

Most of us found that our first Fourth Step was just the beginning. We knew

that ideally, if a person could do this step perfectly and completely, it would be a

one-time job. But that would have meant we would have been able to get at all our

resentments, all our angers, all our character defects, all the feelings about people

in our lives sod all the shambles of our lives. Who could have faced all of this when

they first came into N.A.? We worked it to the best of our ability at the time but that

was not as good as our ability was a few years later. Although the Tenth Step talked

about continuing to take a personal inventory, we also found we had to go back and

write Fourth Steps again when our past resurfaced.

We found another value in writing additional inventories later in recovery. Most

of our early inventories were written on what was wrong with us. We couldn’t sea

much good in ourselves. Some of us found in later inventories that it helped to

make a commitment to ourselves and our sponsors that we would spend as much

time searching and meditating and thinking about strengths as we did about things

that we wanted to change or improve. That made a big difference to us. By this time

we were beginning to have some feelings of self worth so we could stick to that

commitment.

For some of us, it was really difficult for us to see the good. And even if we saw it,

we weren’t going to tell anybody about it. And it was interesting for us to find how

a lot of people perceived us. But it wasn’t until we started working on the good in

ourselves that we would go and ash the people around us. We saw a lot of things we

admired in other people. It wasn’t until some time later we were able to see we had

early signs of the same qualities even if we didn’t have them fully.

Our first Fourth Step was a necessary one. We were afraid at fast to take it and

most people were when they thought of it: searching, fearless, and moral, taking

your self-inventory. There was something threatening about it at fast. Of course, after

we had taken it, there wasn’t anything threatening about it anymore. We looked

forward to challenging ourselves by recognizing something that we didn’t particularly

like. We became aware of our defects. We learned that if we let go of them,

many of them would-be taken away. in God’s own time. We also found that the

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things we asked for would be given us in God’s time and way. That’s what led us

up to taking the Fourth Step again, over and over. So it wasn’t the same burden as

it was the first couple of times we did it.

The Fourth Step was simple. It was a lot easier than living the way we lived before.

That was a hard life. Hustling, running, lying, hospitals, suicide attempts. It

was madness. The Fourth Step looked inviting compared to that.

When we do the steps, we get results. Here we know what we are going to get.

We are breaking out of the isolation. We are no longer alone. We are with the God

of our Third Step. And now we can be sure we have really taken the Third Step.

Because, as one of the old-timer was so fond of saying, we know we have taken the

Third Step when we finish up with the Fourth Step, because it sure wasn’t our will

to take a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. So now that we have

taken Step Four for the first or tenth time, we are ready to do Step Five.

Are The 12 Steps Really Necessary For Sobriety? | Clearbrook

For those who do not have experience with a twelve step program, it can seem like more work than necessary. Many may wonder, “Why so many steps, isn’t it enough just to stop drinking or using drugs.” For those of us who have struggled with the disease of addiction, we understand that merely putting down the drink and/or drugs is only the beginning. Typically, this understanding only comes after we have attempted sobriety without the 12 steps and usually crash and burn in the process. Here we will break down each of the steps and discuss the importance of each.

Source: Are The 12 Steps Really Necessary For Sobriety? | Clearbrook