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Post Info TOPIC: NA Step Four


Senior Member

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NA Step Four
 


(1) Read Step Four out of It Works ~ How & Why.
(2) Read Step Four out of the Basic Text every day before writing.
(3) Write what each part means to you:
a)       We made
b)       a searching & fearless
c)       moral inventory
d)       of ourselves.
(4) Read the General Guidelines from IP No. 10 Working Step Four in Narcotics Anonymous and follow the instructions that your sponsor gives you carefully.
(5) Remember that you are not alone. You can ask questions or talk about anything before, during or after working on this step. If in doubt, call your sponsor.
(6) Call your sponsor within 24 hours of completing this step and make arrangements to do your Fifth Step.


__________________

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



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Many of us sat with the Fourth Step guide Working Step Four in Narcotics Anonymous and looked at it with fear. We ask ourselves, "Is this necessary?" The purpose of this worksheet is to prepare us for this step. We do not have to be 'fearless' to take a fearless inventory; we only need to be willing to go ahead despite our fear. When we understand this step and why it must be done, our attitude can be one of positive expectation, rather than of fear and panic.

Now let's take a look at what the Fourth Step is about. What is a moral inventory? Most of us are pretty good at taking an inventory of someone else without even knowing the facts and motives connected with that person, but now we are going to take our own inventory. A moral inventory is an honest assessment of our values and principles throughout our lives, including now, as well as the facts and feelings connected with our attitudes, personalities & behaviors.

When you begin to write on the topics of your Fourth Step Guide, you are not to write just your personal history, but the feelings connected with the acts, as well as the feelings you have about them today. The reason for such emphasis on feelings is that the Fourth Step is a method for learning about ourselves and who we really are. The purpose of this step is not to judge you, but to help you to become aware of yourself as you were in the past, and how you are today. It is as much about finding our character assets, as it is about identifying our character defects.

This step will also help expose and release the stored up guilt and unresolved pain that you have been carrying with you. You will realize that you are not responsible for many of the things that you did in your addiction. Your disease is responsible for that. You will become aware, however, that you are responsible for your recovery. There are no longer excuses, because you realize you must live the steps daily or you will die spiritually, emotionally & physically.

The first three steps gave us the foundation to be able to live life on its own terms. The Fourth through Ninth Steps are the cleansing & release steps that will give us the power to live life. The Tenth through Twelfth Steps are the maintenance steps. As you can see, we can't take any of the steps lightly. Knowing now that the Fourth Step is the doorway to the cleansing & release steps, we can go forward with an attitude of positive expectation for the new life we are growing into.

You should begin the Fourth Step by setting the goal of writing daily. Don't try to write the perfect manuscript. Write as honestly as you can and don't go back over it or edit any of it. If you can't remember what you wrote, that is OK. It won't hurt to write the same thing over again. Keep your attitude positive; the purpose of this is for you to get to know yourself better.

When you are done with your Fourth Step, you will keep it to help identify patterns, defects, shortcomings & amends. You will need it when working the other cleansing & release steps. As you begin to write, even though you are doing the work, you are not alone. Your Higher Power, the NA Program and the "WE" of the program are with you.


__________________

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



Senior Member

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Write out the answers to the following questions on a separate paper and return to your Sponsor:

(1) What quality of character must be used when taking an inventory?
(2) What is a moral inventory of myself?
(3) Why is the Fourth Step so important? What will a Fourth Step do for me?
(4) Why is a Fourth Step not a history, a confession or a judgment? What do feelings have to do with a Fourth Step?
(5) Am I responsible for my past? What am I responsible for?
(6) What are the Foundation Steps?
(7) What are the Cleansing & Release Steps?
(8) What are the Maintenance Steps?
(9) What qualities do I have that I like? That others like?
(10) When will I start the Fourth Step and how am I going to do it?
(11) Begin writing your Fourth Step using IP No. 10 Working Step Four in Narcotics Anonymous.
(12) What are the spiritual principles that we practice through Step Four?


-- Edited by Tahir at 22:41, 2007-07-05

__________________

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



Newbie

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thank u for sharing your experince my name is tony iam an adict with 5 and half yrs clean and barely trying to do a 4th step over here in mexico they make seem that it is something to be afraid .

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Greetings Tony,

I did my first Fourth Step (the writing part) more than two years back and am now on them again for the second time with my current sponsor. I can relate with your concerns here as I also felt the same way, and yes, sometimes, some parts of the fourth step process might seem threatening, especially those parts of us, the dreaded secrets, that we think we must carry with us to the grave, as no one will accept us for what we did, or they would not be the same again with us once they come to know of what we might have done in our past... I felt that way before I started the journey of the Steps with my first Sponsor...

What gave me the courage to look at myself honestly and at a very deep level eventually was living the preceding three steps to the best of my ability while doing my fourth. Whenever my mind tried to overwhelm me with fear while having to write about some part of my past that I don't even want to think about, I had to admit and accept my powerlessness over my fears, and also accept the fact that by submitting to these fears, my very being would become unmanageable. Hence I had to open my mind consciously to a Power greater than my fears (which is continuing the process of stepwork) and come to believe that doing so might set me free from my fears and apprehensions. Then I decided to turn over my fears to the care of my Higher Power (Sponsor and Stepwork). Doing so gave me the strength and the trust that I needed to continue the process of writing my fourth, assured that no matter how uncomfortable I might feel in this process, this Step will also work, just as the first three steps are working in my life miraculously well.

Also, I don't feel that Step Four is about inducing guilt, shame or fear in us. It's, in fact, what liberates us from guilt, shame and fear. My sponsor never allowed me to wallow in self-pity or to use my fourth step inventory to whip myself. I was told that the idea is not to go into the past and dwell in it. The idea is to go into the past, look at it for what it WAS, and use what I learn from those experiences to unlock and let go the self-defeating patterns that I had developed over the years, to reverse the process of blame. Doing this gave me the ability to unlearn, start anew and thus move on to higher levels of awareness and growth in my recovery.

Also, Step Four Inventory, surprisingly, revealed a few virtues, my strengths, the brighter side of me in the process... I was delighted to see that I did have some good qualities, the ability to practice certain spiritual principles of the program, and knowing this gave me a real boost in my recovery... It is not only the liabilities that we look at in Step Four, but also Assets...

Today, I'm so grateful that I did my Fourth and Fifth, because of which, my whole way of perceiving what happened between me and my parents over the years became different. I held them responsible and hated them for what they seemingly were (in my eyes) all my life, and after my Fourth Step with my first Sponsor, my relationship with them has blossomed to unimaginable levels of love, acceptance, caring and intimacy. And the same happened with all my other relationships, both inside and outside NA... Today, due to my fourth step work, I'm aware that conflicts are inevitable. But All I have to do is look at my part of the conflict and own it up so that I can do something about my part and thus flow into the solution, instead of blaming the other and setting myself up to get sucked into those dysfunctional vicious cycles of my addiction that made me use and use more over so many years...

And thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to recollect and share my experiences of that fourth step I did two years back. I really needed to go back and recapture all that helped me do it as I've been currently struggling to do it the second time around with my current sponsor...



__________________

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



Veteran Member

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Hi Tony.
My name  is Raman and I am an addict,,, welcome to the Steps !!
One of the most useful suggestions regarding this step came from my sponsor who said what the Text says
,,, to write a 4th Step like there was no 5th Step.
By anticipating the 5th,,, what we tend to do is edit and modify events that impacted our lives,,,,we will avoid the Truth then !!!
I became fearless when we I wasnt not bothered about  reading  it to my sponsor,, my Guide.
another useful suggestion thatI pass onto all my sponsees is  that the 4th is not a confession of how bad or terrible i was !!
NA now has a complete guide and the 4th Step is featured too !!!
The most important thing is to inform ones sponsor even before doing this Step,,, the Step Guide says so !!
Goobye and all the best and remember to invite Higher Power into the writing each time you write,,,
I was promised that when I do this on a daily basis and come to the end of writing the 4th Step,,, a new sense of freedom and fearlessness will prevail !!!
And yes that is true !
My life was transformed after i did the 4th and never had to do a Fourth Step again !!!
Hugs
clean and serene just for today in NA Worldwide !!!


-- Edited by raman at 11:54, 2007-07-18

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raman


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Searching and fearless

Step Four calls on us to be searching and fearless. We are asked to look carefully at ourselves and to get beneath the self-deceptions we have used up to now to hide the truth from ourselves. We search within, as if entering a dark house with a single candle to guide us. We move ahead, despite our fear or resistance to the unknown. We need to be willing to illuminate every corner
of every room of our minds as if our lives depend on it, because they do.

What we are searching for here is a complete and total picture of ourselves. We have found that this requires honesty to examine our behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and motives, regardless of how unimportant they may appear. Our self-honesty is most important since it will lead us to discover how our disease has affected our lives. We have operated with a distorted self-image, never fully looking at the whole picture all at once. Now, possibly for the first time in our lives, we will begin to see ourselves as we really are, rather than as we imagined or fantasized. The more accurate and complete this picture is, the more freedom we
will gain.

At this point we need to emphasize that being thorough is not the same as being perfect. There arent any perfect Fourth Steps. We do the best we can to be as thorough as possible. With diligence and perseverance, we write as honestly as we can. Expecting perfection from ourselves can sometimes be a way of putting off writing our Fourth Step. We may also have heard people say If you dont do a thorough inventory, youll use again. But here we have to go back to our Third Step and trust God without any reservations. If we focus on our fear that our inventory wont be good enough, or worry about what our sponsor will say when we share it, we may never get going. This wont be the last inventory we write. Its not necessary to write a best-selling novel; its only necessary to make an honest beginning and be as thorough as we can be. One of the things we learned in the Third Step was to trust God. Now we can be fearless and write the truth. This Fourth Step is a freeing process as well as a healing one. We put our faith in a loving God and trust that whatever we write will be exactly what we were supposed to write if we are truly searching and fearless.

-- Edited by Tahir at 15:10, 2007-07-18

__________________

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



Senior Member

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Posts: 105
Date:
 

Some more helpful tools that I used:

While writing my fourth step whenever I was not content with what I was writing, I'd observe a moment of silence, and pray to my Higher Power ~ "God, give me the strength to write that down today that I need to know now". This I did as part of working my Third Step on the situation. It really gave me the focus back when I start writing again after saying this prayer...

Also, my Sponsor would tell me that there is no right or wrong answer as such. That there is no short or long answer either. Whatever I write at that particular moment to a question IS my answer, and that is exactly what my Higher Power wanted me to write at that moment. Moreover, I was told that writing my fourth for the first time is merely scratching the surface; that steps four to nine are a purification process that I would have to go through over and over again in my recovery.

Other things that helped me in my writing the fourth was:

1. Follow the format suggested by my Sponsor and take it one question at a time (not check or think about the next question).

2. Leave a wide margin on the side so that I had some space to make notes of any thoughts that pop into my head as I'm writing.
3. Don't strike out or erase anything (not edit anything even if it's a grammatical error).
4. To keep from getting stuck or slowed down, stay in touch with my Sponsor through out.



__________________

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



Veteran Member

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Date:
 

My 4th Step history is like this
1.I first wrote when in a treatment centre,,this was the first time in my life i was informed that addiction is a disease and also read the Basic Text first time in my life.
This is when out of fear I wrote about what i had done with my life.
2.I wrote again after being in the Loner Group. No NA meetings so i went to AA and was helped by a few there. I wrote many pages ,,, especially of the incidents i was ashamed of and which feeling came up again and again to make me feel bad about myself and what i had done in the past.
3.This writing just solved the fear problem,, I wrote for nearly two years .
Instead of writing in gaps and bursts like i had done before I took my sponsors suggestion to write at least 20 minutes a day. I did that 5 tmes a week. any time i got stuck i was on email to him,,,,in this manner i actually was able to go thru the incidents and events of my life,,saw how they impacted me and became willing to change !!
I usually began with the Third Step prayer !!
All this before the Step Guide that we have now was available,,, and I never had to write a Fourth Step again !
Any issues I have today are settled in the 10th Step !!


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raman


Senior Member

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Something I read today, thought I could share it with you all...

Having loosened our grip on the past, we are free to reach for the future.

Everyday of our lives we think of some situation we wish we had handled differently. Perhaps we left a job we now miss, disciplined a child needlessly, or responded rudely to a friend. Our Fourth Step inventory abundantly details our many regrets, but the past is gone. We can't take back the job or the punishment or the rude responses. However, we can make certain the Tenth Step we do every day is not filled with similar regrets.

Recovery has given us a second chance. Let's not waste this gift by hanging on to what can't be changed. We all know what we don't like about our behavior in the past. That's all we need to remember when we decide how to behave in the present. We won't be ashamed in the future, if we take charge of our present.Today is a new beginning.
 
Whatever happened in my past need not control what I do with today. Today is mine to be proud of.


-- Edited by Tahir at 08:51, 2007-07-21

__________________

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

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