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Post Info TOPIC: Step 4 - AA


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Step 4 - AA


From the AA "12 Steps and 12 Traditions" book:


"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"


"Creation gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn't be complete human beings... So these desires - for the sex relation, for material and emotional security, and for companionship - are perfectly necessary and right, and surely God-given.


  "Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives... When thus out of joint, man's natural desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is. No human being, however good, is exempt from these troubles. Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct. When that happens, our great natural assets, the instincts, have turned into physical and mental liabilities...


  "Step 4 is our vigorous and painstaking effort to discover whta these liabilities in each of us have been and are. We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction...


"Before tackling the inventory problem in detail, let's have a closer look at what the basic problem is. Simple examples like the following take on a world of meaning when we think about them. Suppose a person places sex desire ahead of everything else... Another may develop such an obsession for financial security that he wants to do nothing but hoard money...


"Nor is the quest for security always expressed in terms of money. How frequently we see a frightened human being determined to depend completely upon a stronger person for guidance and protection. This weak one, failing to meet life's responsibilities with his own resources, never grows up. Disillusionment and helplessness are his lot. In time all his protectors either flee or die, and he is once more left alone and afraid...


"We have also seen men and women who go power-mad, who devote themselves to attempting to rule their fellows...


"Every time a person imposes his instincts unreasonably on others, unhappiness follows... Demands made upon other people for too much attention, protection, and love can only invite domination or revulsion in the protectors themselves - two emotions quite as unhealthy as the demands which evoked them...


"If temperamentally we are on the depressive side, we are apt to be swamped with guilt and self-loathing. We wallow in this messy bog, often getting a misshapen and painful pleasure out of it. As we morbidly pursue this melancholy activity, we may sink to such a point of despair that nothing but oblivion looks possible as a solution. Here, of course, we have lost all perspective, and therefore all genuine humility. For this is pride in reverse. This is not a moral inventory at all; it is the very process by which the depressive has so often been led to the bottle and extinction...


"If, however, our natural disposition is inclined to self-righteousness or grandiosity, our reaction will be just the opposite. We will be offended at AA's suggested inventory. No doubt we shall point with pride to the good lives we thought we led before the bottle cut us down. We shall claim that our serious character defects, if we think we have any at all, have been caused chiefly by our excessive drinking... We believe that our one-time good characters will be revived the moment we quit alcohol...


"We also clutch at another wonderful excuse for avoiding an inventory. Our present anxieties and troubles, we cry, are caused by the behavior of other people - people who really need a moral inventory. We firmly believe that if only they would treat us better, we'd be all right...


"It never occured to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were...


"But in AA we slowly learned that something had to be done abut our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride... We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge... we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it...


"But it is from our twisted relations with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most... Our egomania digs two disastrous pitfalls. Either we insist upon dominating the people we know, or we depend upon them far too much... We have not once sought to be one in a family, to be a friend among friends, to be a worker among workers, to be a useful member of society. Always we tried to struggle to the top of the heap, or to hide underneath it. This self-centered behavior blocked a partnership relation with any one of those about us. Of true brotherhood we had small comprehension...


"Therefore, thoroughness 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."



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do your best and God does the rest, a Step at a time
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