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Post Info TOPIC: Step Four (4) Questions - Al-Anon

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Step Four (4) Questions - Al-Anon

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.1. How do I judge myself?2. Am I fearfull? What do I fear? Why?3. Am I optimistic?4. How do I open myself up to others?---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I am naturally optimistic but alcoholism had robbed me of that. It left me fearful of opening up to other people because if they really knew me they wouldn't want to have me for a friend.After the meetings I used to busy myself with picking up rather than visiting so no one would ask me about myself.This Step helped me to accept the good things and put the defects into perspective and realize with the help of my Higher Power things would get better.Love you all - I'm a week late so John could have time for a honeymoon and not worry about the board - Congratulatons John and Rose and thank you for posting for me. Dot



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I find it easy to be optimistic about other people and their acheivements but not so easy to feel positive about my own. Since alcoholism affected my life I know I have developed a fear of failure. I also have developed chronic fatigue syndrome which prevents me from having the confidence to do many things. As a result I know I am not doing as much as I should. Since my husbands recovery things have become alot easier. This step is helping me to work on my own abilities. I still very much feel like I'm failing at life. With the help of my Higher Power I am working to change that round slowly. I thought I was open with other but have just found a real live sponser. I was really looking forward to starting working with her. However I have found it really hard to keep the focus on me, unless in a negative way. This has really surprised me.



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Step Four is a chance for me to check myself to see what places are in the too much category and what places are in the too little.  I can be assured if my thinking is too much about me and my story then I am thinking too little about others and their stories and I become selfish.  If I am thinking too much about theirs and too little about mine, I become selfless in a negative way.
Step Four helps me to find that space between the too much and too little on any side of the issue.  And what I have found and continue to find is that my difficulties arise from this too much/ too little imbalance, extremes.  And some extremes are more extreme than others...
I used to think I was supposed to eliminate these characteristics, but I have come to realize that the characteristic I have labeled bad is actually just the antedote I need in certain situations.  And it also has played out that the ones I have always thought so stellar are tainted and destructive when I give myself too much credence in a particular area. 
Through the steps it seems what I have been introduced intimately to is these extremes in my thinking, feeling, acting and reacting.  I had to surf all those spots again in awareness before coming to that middle ground in the center.  It has taken me 3 years of very intense work to feel like I have my life back again in some balance and that joy is again accessible.
I chose to take an intense journey into myself and have let go almost everything in my life in order to do it.
I also knew that if I didn't do something radical in that direction then I would live a half life if I were able to continue to live at all.
When I came into the room of Al Anon, I was living a scary and very depressed life.  This was one of many tools I used in order to get myself back on track.
And what I have discovered is that all the tools I have used all all contained in the steps and the steps are in all the tools I use. 
And that is what happens.  God/Spirit is in the steps and God/Spirit is in the tools and God/Spirit is everywhere.  When I began to realize this then I became less caught up in the specific structure of my life, the people, places and things.  These don't have to remain so constant and of a particular face or place.  All the programs, all the tools available in the rooms and outside, all the reading, the contemplative educational tools, the religions, nature, whatever, become just vehicles for connection with Spirit.  And I began to realize that God/ Spirit was with me in the darkness and the light and I also began to feel that the sadness and the upsets were as much a part of God/ Spirit as the joy.  And not only that, I have begun to see how the upsets are good.  When yucky stuff comes up and shows itself to me, I feel like God/ Spirit is saying, "Let's look at this.  I think if you trust yourself and me enough to feel the feelings and surrender to how it really feels inside and out and stay with us through all the ups and downs...the resistence, the anger, the grief, the loneliness, the emptiness...If you stay with yourself and me through this whole cycle, you will find in the end that there is peace and serenity in the middle.  That's where we are trying to get to together." 
God/ Spirit has asked me to go through these cycles over and over and over, dropping again and again into deeper places until I hit a center and then God walked me back out again through the other side of whatever excesses and deficiencies I was feeling. 
I won't say this has been an easy path, but I will say, oddly enough, it has come to be the only one that makes sense.  I have never known such peace in my life.  I never knew it was OK to be me or even who that might be before following this Spiritual path, this path that requires us to let go of everything that is not true so we can find ourselves left with what is.  And what is is where it is at.  Right here.  Right now.  Peace.  Serenity.  Balanced love of self and others.  This is the place I can go back out into the world without eating or being eaten.  I can go back into the world radiating what is the truth within me and I can share that instead of the untruth I spread before because I just didn't know any different. 
And this makes every step, even those on my knees, even those I crawled on my belly, worth it all.

marty s


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Step 4, for me, was about looking for patterns in my behavior. It was about trying to have the unconcious part of myself come forward through looking at my previous actions. In order for it to be effective I had to become willing first, to review, to look, to run the tapes without editing. That is no small task. My cleverness, my intellect, my knowledge, all that stuff that is persistently there, is not necessarily a tool for feeling better. Maybe it is, what do you think?

The unconcious is available by looking at the result of my actions. It isn't so much about being optimistic or pessimistic, fearful or courageous, angry or sad. It is about looking without judgement. That is not easy for most people and I for one think there is alot of wisdom in the order of the steps. The process of step four is one I do over and over again. With time and patience and perseverance I've learned, or evolved, into a different method, one of looking, exploring, without explanation, without knowledge getting in the way. I beleive step four is truly about opening my heart and learning how to love myself, for my percieved flaws, for my percieved wrongs, for my anger, my shame, all of it.

A good sponsor is essential. I suggest considering explanations for previous behavior is a means of escaping, of avoiding the present. Good luck to all. It is a courageous and powerful undertaking to honestly go forward with step four. It will hurt and it will cause anxiety. But I can tell you from my own experience you will not die and it might just clear up a few things.


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thank you so much dawg for sharing that. Really needed to hear that. Awesome share. Thanks once again. Warm regards & fellowship love.


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

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Step four.. I'm doing my best to process this fourth step, that is to have made an inventory list as described in Dots, to had

'Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.1. How do I judge myself?

Now is the best me that I can be. I've got lawsuits coming at me and going away from me as I am working to get myself thru school. I do not want this, however, it is on me and the program has given me the tools I need to cope with regard to the situation. My life is surrounded by acoa alanoners - its family now all acting out the ways we were coded to. The tools let me pull myself back from the abyss of the unknown and coded gnashing of teeth my conditioning had taught me to choose - silly me. Joyfully I can let all of that fall away - sure it sneaks back up on me sometimes when I leart expect it to ahd it does not take me long to remember I have other choices.

2. Am I fearfull? What do I fear? Why?
Fear - 0k to have some fear to keep oneself in check - so yes. Could any of the above go not the way of my hp, I have to look at that given situation and give it my best to take it back to hp or put it in my box of stuff (hp box) to give it a rest. My fear comes from forgetting its all in hp's hands!

3. Am I optimistic?
Optimistic is what lets the birds fly - the little things take f0rm that adds up to bigger success, or to the box of leave it alone until its fixed or forgotten, so I have some great tools for success, to be optimistic, which allows for the other person to make their own ideas for their own use/s without my condemnation/s on what another may make up about my own decision/s

4. How do I open myself up to others?'
To me, its a risk some and then to trust some and to risk more and to trust more. One's with unconditionally spiritual, value based belief systems, that work and prove that it works are most successfully openers in my work and world.

getoverit, whatever tool/s it takes


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Step 4 Questions
1. How do I judge myself? I feel that I am living life to the best of my abilities. There are many challenges and obstacles for me to overcome and I am constrained and limited by them. Isolating myself and being timid about taking leadership roles makes me feel self-critical. I feel that I am my own worst enemy, that instead of bolstering my efforts to expand my horizons, try new things, and explore I stick with the same old routines. Sometimes I am too easy on myself and sometimes I judge myself too harshly.
2. Am I fearful? Yes, I am afraid of what the future will bring. What do I fear? I fear being attacked by a crazy person. Aside from that, I am afraid of being abandoned and left to fend for myself. I am also fearful of trusting people who I find are not looking out for my best interests. Why? Several people I turned to for help in my youth decided they would teach me a lesson and instead of helping me, gave me the boot. I trusted some untrustworthy people and had to do everything on my own. That isnt necessarily a bad thing, but I was after emotional support and didnt get it.
3. Am I optimistic? Yes, I have a pretty cheerful personality and feel like everything will work out for the best. I am usually hopeful that bad situations will improve.
4. How do I open myself up to others? I never learned to be cautious with people and not show my hand. I am usually direct and honest, rather than deceitful. I avoid doing things that would be harmful to others and in that way try to build trusting relationships.


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Posts: 177

hi Dot and thanks everyone for interesting and varied stories about balance and trust I take it . I chose this quote to illustrate this today and have been inspired by your posts to read up on Tradition 2 as well about the the way trust can develop in service to 12 step programmes and how that can act as a bridge ,

llol Vickyr x


From: Courage to Change - pg. 232 (copyright 1992 , by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Limited use by express written permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.)

" I am learning not to depend on someone who has been consistently untrustworthy , but at the same time realizing that that is no excuse to give up on the whole human race. Facing reality means accepting that many of my experiences in Alanon demonstrate that there are people upon whom I can rely "

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