Now that we did step three and gave our will & our life over to the care of God, we get into the real "Working" of the steps. We dig down deep into our pasts and find the good and the bad and write it down! Lock it up so only your eyes can see.
This is a very cleansing process here. Be totally honest with yourself. this is for you and you alone!!
STEP FOUR -- BRIEF GUIDE
"MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES."
(From the Big Book)
1. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions. Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory.
2. We searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations.
3. RESENTMENT is the "number one" offender.
4. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.
5. In dealing with RESENTMENTS, we set them on paper:
a) We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry.
b) We asked ourselves why we were angry.
c) On our grudge list we set opposite each name our injuries.
6. We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.
7. It is plain that a life which includes deep RESENTMENT leads only to futility and unhappiness.
8. This business of RESENTMENT is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
9. If We were to live, we had to be free of ANGER.
10. We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.
11. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.
12. We resolutely looked for our own mistakes.
13. 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 became willing to set these matters straight.
14. We reviewed our FEARS thoroughly.
15. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves.
16. We never apologize for God. Instead, we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us do.
17. We reviewed our own conduct over the years past.
18. We subjected each relation to this test -- was it selfish or not?
19. If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we
believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink.
20. If sex is very troublesome, we throw ourselves the harder into helping others.
21. If we have been THOROUGH and HONEST about our personal inventory, we have written a lot. We have listed and analyzed our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn tolerance, patience, and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people. We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.
(From the 12 by 12)
1. Our desires for sex, material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man's natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is.
2. Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct.
3. The object of the Fourth Step:
a) Step Four is our vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us has been, and are.
b) We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us.
c) We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves.
d) By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction.
4. Without a willing and persistent effort, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us.
5. Without a searching and fearless moral inventory, most of us have found that the faith which really works in daily living is still out of reach.
6. The minute we make a serious attempt to probe misdirected instincts, we are liable to suffer severe reactions.
7. Our present anxieties and trouble, we cry, are caused by the behavior of other people -- people who really need a moral inventory.
8. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defective thinking.
9. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.
10. First of all, we had to admit that we had many of these defects, even though such discoveries were painful and humiliating.
11. When taking an inventory, each of us will need to determine what his individual character defects are.
12. To avoid falling into confusion over the names these defects should be called, let's take a universally recognized list of major human failings -- the Seven Deadly Sins of PRIDE, GREED, LUST, ANGER, GLUTTONY, ENVY and SLOTH.
13. PRIDE, leading to self-justification, and always spurred by conscious or unconscious FEARS, is the basic breeder of most human difficulties, the chief block to true progress.
14. When the satisfaction of our instincts for sex, security, and social standing becomes the sole object of our lives, then PRIDE steps in to justify our excesses.
15. FEAR, a soul-sickness in its own right, generates more character defects.
16. Since Step Four is but the beginning of a lifetime practice, it can be suggested that:
a) We look at those personal flaws which are acutely troublesome and fairly obvious.
b) We might make a rough survey of our conduct with respect to our primary instincts for sex, security, and society.
c) We ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble.
17. The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self- pity, and depression.
18. The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being.
19. Either we insist upon dominating the people we know, or we depend upon them far too much.
20. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us.
21. THOROUGHNESS and HONESTY ought to be the watchword when taking inventory. In this connection, it is wise to write out our questions and answers. it will be an aid to clear thinking and honest appraisal. It will be the first tangible evidence of our complete willingness to move forward.
"MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES."
In the previous three steps, we have built, for ourselves, a beginning foundation in this program of recovery. In Step One, we admitted we were powerless over alcohol and recognized that our lives have been, are now, and will remain unmanageable by us alone. Step Two made us aware that we could be restored to sanity by a Higher Power (God as we understood Him) if we rightly relate ourselves to that Higher Power. The Third Step convinced us that we have no choice but to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
At this point, we should be convinced that our handling of our past has led to frustration, broken relationships, anger toward ourselves and other people, and resentments. Since alcohol is but a symptom, we now have to get down to the causes and conditions of why self-centeredness, in all its various destructive forms, has been the root of our troubles. Thus, we are face to face with the Fourth Step.
The Fourth Step allows us to uncover and discover the acquired charac¬ter defects which are part of the false self. These defects are NOT a part of the real you (the True Inner Self). The false self (the phony you) has picked them up from other people, institutions and society in general. Usually we are not aware of when and from whom these defects were acquired. It is important that you become aware of the fact -- that these defects of character are acquired. Only when you detach yourself from these acquired defects can you start to uncover and discover, in a fear-less manner, these acquired character defects that have controlled you in the past.
These acquired character defects are misdirected instincts. These instincts often far exceed their proper functions. Our excessive desires for sex, material and emotional security, and for an important place in society, desires which by their very nature can never be fulfilled, cause us practically all the trouble there is.
Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdi¬rected instincts. Whenever we become a battleground for the instincts, there can be no peace. Every time we impose our instincts unreasonably upon others, unhappiness follows. These defects lock us into responding in a certain way, usually destructive, to those around us. So in order for us to live happy lives, we must uncover and discover these acquired defects of character.
At this point, we should have arrived at the following conclusions: the acquired character defects have been the primary cause of our drinking and our failure at life; we must now be willing to work hard at the elimi¬nation of the worst of these defects or both sobriety and peace of mind will elude us; and that all the faulty foundation of our life will have to be torn out and built anew on bedrock.
Since the Fourth Step is but the beginning of a lifetime practice, we should first have a look at those personal flaws which are acutely trouble¬some and fairly obvious. Using our judgment, we make a rough survey of our conduct with respect to our primary instincts for sex, security, and socie¬ty. With sex, we uncover how the selfish pursuit of sex damaged other people and ourselves. In the area of security, we question the financial and emotional insecurities that have led to financial instability, and the personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble. In terms of society, we insisted upon either dominating the people we knew or we depended upon them far too much.
Thoroughness ought to be the watchword when taking our inventory. The object is to search out the flaws in the false self which caused our fail¬ure. Being convinced that the false self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we will find some of the following acquired character defects in our inventory: SELF-CENTEREDNESS, RESENTMENT, ANGER, PREJUDICE, CONCEIT, GREED, LUST, INDIFFERENCE, PHONINESS, FEAR, PRIDE, FINANCIAL INSECURITY, DEPENDENCE, DOMINATION, EMOTIONAL INSECURITY, DISHONESTY, PROCRASTINATION, PERFECTIONISM, IMPATIENCE and others that might apply.
These acquired character defects (misdirected instincts) will balk at our uncovering and discovering them. The minute we make a serious attempt to probe them, we are liable to suffer severe reactions. The thinking mind may come up with some of the following false thoughts: any serious defects have been caused chiefly by our drinking; our problems have been caused by the behavior of other people; the defects are us; justifying the need for defects in order to continue living; and a half-hearted inventory is O.K. In order for us to combat these false thoughts, we must know that the character defects are indeed acquired and are NOT a part of the True Self.
In summary, the Fourth Step asks us to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. We are seeking to uncover the hidden acquired defects of character that are a part of the false self. After we have found them, then we discover our faults by listing them. We place them before us in black and white. We must have courage to honestly do this. Faith can do for us what we can not do for ourselves.
The purpose of writing the Fourth Step is to make us aware of the acquired character defects. As we list and analyze these defects, we will begin to comprehend their futility and their fatality. The written invento¬ry will be used as a basis in Steps Five through Nine.
Go through the following examples and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time. This is your inventory. You are about to uncover and discover the acquired character defects, so do it in a thorough and fear-less manner. Your very life may depend on the thoroughness of this step.
1) Alcoholics Anonymous, (big book), chapter 5, p. 64, par. 1 to the end
of chapter 5.
2) Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Four.