Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.
We did exactly the same thing with our lives. We took stock honestly . First, 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.
Resentment is the "number one" offender. for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principle with who we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self- esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships, (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So we were sore. We were "burned up." On our grudge list we set opposite each name our injuries. Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sex relations, which had been interfered with? We were usually as definite as this example:
Told my wife of my mistress.
Brown may get my job at the office .
"Recovery isn't winning, it's not playing" and "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"
F.E.A.R. = false evidence appearing real
INSANITY = doing the same thing over nad over again and expecting different results.
You touched the very core of my step 4 work. I find I cannot get in touch with the finer feelings I should have. Somehow the abuse I suffered have send me into such a spiral of denial that i have killed most finer emotions. I wish I can access a vocabulary of finer nuances of emotions but I simply can't get there. God bless you for your honesty.
Thanks Betty. You're even wiser than I originally gave you credit for. I'm glad to know you. As everyone is probably figuring out, my first step four was the one in the Big Book. But I have a Blueprint for progress also and I thought I should do both versions of the step I actually just picked up the big three ring one. The questions are very whats the word I'm looking for....enlightening. I'm not going to talk too much about this step today but I will say this much. This is the work necessary to apply the solution to the problem. I originally thought the problem was alcohol or alcoholism. But having removed both from my life I found that the underlying problem was still there. The character defects, the flaws in my make-up, the anger, the fear, the self-pity, the low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.....in my other program we call those spiritual sicknesses. Like it or not we have become spiritually sick. Physically and emotionally sick too, but the main problem is our spiritual sickness. These things, these defects, they have cut us off from God and from the sunlight of the spirit. And if we don't get rid of them they will keep us blocked. But you can't get help for a problem unless you know what the problem is. Imagine taking your car to the mechanic and when he asks whats wrong you say I don't know, the car is broken, fix it. Or going to the doctor and telling him you are feeling bad, just give me some pills. It doesn't work that way. We need to know what the problems are, what defects are blocking us. So we do the inventory. I worked in restaurants. I know how to do an inventory. You look at what you started with, what you used, and what you got left. You also look for items that are helping to improve your business and items that are slowing you down. My sponsor said there is no right or wrong way to do an inventory, there are lots of helpful guides - I have lots of those - and if you really get stuck, just do what the book says. I jokingly tell my sponcees that it took me three years and 45 minutes to do step four. Three years to think about doing it and 45 minutes to actually do it. Did I do it right? I been sober (and serene) a long time. something must have worked.
Not all of my days are priceless, but none of my days are worthless, anymore.
Thanks Bernie and all who shared
This is a powerful Step and One I try to do at least once a year . I never want ot be as spiritually unconscious as I was when I first started .
Thank you all so much for your honesty in sharing your experience, strength and hope. I especially related to Bernie's share because once I admitted I was an addict, I thought that the drugs were the problem. Just like Bernie, I freed myself from the drugs, but also realized there were underlying causes. My drug use and abuse was just a symptom of a deeper problem. He hit the nail on the head, I have been and still am, spiritualy sick.
Also, thank you Betty, you took the words (and resentments) right out of my mouth.
I also grew up in an alcholic/addict home and learned to interact with others through manipulating, people please-ing, and acting like a selfish busy body in general. I have been extremely selfish and have tried to disguise my selfishness and ulterior motives with false kindness and forced niceness. Only to harbor many resentments, anger and negativity when my methods did not produce my desired results.
I have wasted a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and feeling that I've been treated unfairly. It seems I never ran out of fingers to point to place all the blame for my problems, my anger, my unhappiness, on people and things outside of my control.
I know now that I did this so that I would not have to climb my own great wall of denial and accept responsibility for my actions, thoughts and behaviors. I did not want to do this because as long as I could lie to myself and keep the focus on other people, places and things, I did not have to do any work on myself, I did not have to make any real and difficult changes in my attitude and perspective. But, as others have said, if nothing changes... nothing changes.
It is still sometimes difficult to break free from those old and deeply ingrained bad habits of thinking and feeling, but now that I have a clear head, unpolluted by drugs, and now that I have faith in a higher power as well as the tools and support of my 12 step programs. It is finally getting better.
Betty: What a wonderful share. I think before I could even get to step 4 I had to get a few boundaries. Being boundaryless was not about just being out there it was also about being out of control in so many ways. I was definitely absolutely out of control around the ex A. He brought me to my knees on so many levels. I never cried so much in my life even in therapy and the kind of rage he triggered in me was very volatile.
I think it took me a long long time to admit that I had any part in it because of course he could goad so very well.
I'm so glad I found this message board and found a way to admit my vulnerability.
Great share Once I found the courage to go within, examing my motives nighly really helped . I would review my days and just try to own what i saw.
Your recovery is vey inspiring