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Post Info TOPIC: STEP 4 ALANON


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STEP 4 ALANON


4 th Step:
 Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Ourselves
 
Courage to Change Page 158
 
How easy it can be to justify our own unacceptable behavior!! Perhaps we excuse ourselves, claiming that we were provoked or had no choice. Or we dismiss our actions by telling ourselves that Everyone does the same thing. With these and other justifications, we pretend that our wrongs do not count. This denial must be overcome when we take the Fourth Step.
With this Step we take a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. It is fearless because of the strong Spiritual foundation that we have established by taking the first three Steps. It is moral because we list what has been right or wrong about our conduct.and it is searching.
The only way we can take this Step in a searching manner is to resist the urge to justify and excuse what we uncover. t may demand courage nd self discipline but by freely acknowledging who we have been, we can make positive changes as to who we are becoming.
 
Today"s Reminder
 
I am a human being with strengths and weaknesses , capable of achievements and mistakes. Because I accept this, I can look closely at myself . Today will find something to appreciate and something to improve.
 
"You never find yourself until you face the truth"
Pearl Bailey
 
Excerpts from the AA Big Book on a Way to Work this Step

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:

I'm resentful at: The Cause Affects my:
Mr. BrownHis attention to my wife.

Told my wife of my mistress.

Brown may get my job at the office .

Sex relations
Self-esteem (fear)
Sex-relations
Self-esteem (fear)
Security
Self-Esteem (fear)
Mrs JonesLIST RESENTMENTLIST WHAT WAS EFFECTED)
My employer.
My wifeMisunderstands and nags.
Pride - personal sex relations - Security (fear)
Good Luck on this Step it opens the door to freedom.
 
Hi MIP Family I will share on this Step
 
The first time I attempted this step many. many years ago I was unable to do it in a "Fearless " Manner. My sponsor urged me into action and regardless of the fear I decided to go within and finally uncover the pain, the sadness, the anger, the rage that had been living there for oh, so long!!
.
Without, I presented a perfect picture. Perfect clothes. perfect smile , perfect job, perfect family: as if all was right in my world. I used denial of reality and pretend to keep everyone including myself from seeing the dysfunction, the anger, the pain and sadness that lived within the heart of me. Inside I was dying. The pain and anxiety were unmanageable when finally my pretend tools stopped working.!!!
 
So I listed my resentments, my sadness , my anger at people, places and things from my past and looked for my part in the madness.
Much to my surprise, I did have a part. I had learned many destructive ways to communicate as I grew up in an alcoholic home. One was to manipulate people into doing what I wanted. I did this by being kind, and nice with hidden motives to get my way. In fact the motives for all my actions were self seeking and pretentious.
. I was dishonest about my feelings, and my needs . I used sarcasm, and gossip, as my main form of connecting with others. I resented anyone who had what I wanted, I was arrogant in my behavior and judgement of others, I wanted it all NOW without working for it, AND I had no desire to develop patience, or learn how to work toward a goal. This attitude lead to completely UNREALISTIC expectations of myself and others.
 
 I could not trust anyone and so I kept everyone at a distance. I discovered the first person to abandon me was ME. I would not let you near so I kept the focus on you and off me. I would not reveal me to anyone and so I was very lost and lonely inside.
The more I looked the more I discovered that although I was far from perfect, I was very human---- something I did not want to be!!!.----I wanted to be God!!! and not have any Human imperfect traits at all. That awareness lead me to my biggest resentment of all ---- HP.
 
I always refused to accept the world and the pain as it was. I was very angry with HP for not fixing it and making it easier for us all. I saw the pain and suffering of all living creatures and could not accept the concept of "Life ON Life's terms.
I guess that is where I stopped my first 4 th Step and decided to turn it over.
 
I have done many 4 th steps since that time but this one was the one that really changed me and brought into focus my destructive attitudes and launched me on the positive road to recovery.
These defects have by the Grace of God been lifted and the pain associated with them are a thing of the past . I know I must remain vigilant, work my program and continue to review my inner motives and drivers or this reprieve will be lifted and My spiritual awakening will slowly drift away. I will , once again "Fall asleep" to my behavior and how destructive it has been and be right back in the darkness from which I have been set free.
 
Thanks for letting me share.




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Betty


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I am doing my first fourth step with my sponsor the last few months I am going through a work book with her. I really could relate to you Betty with what you said above about not trusting my feelings and using sarcasm and gossip. I resented so many people and was self righteous and wanted to be above the human condition. I judged others and wanted everything handed to me. I had no patience and it is still a problem for me and I used to have huge tantrums. I was very unrealistic about most things and have had to face myself and grow through some very uncomfortable things to get healthier.

I abondaned myself and didn't take great care of myself and expected others to do it for me. I was not self sufficient financially or mentally. I was lonely! I was always trying to distract myself with other peoples stuff and didn't want to take a deep look inside.

I always refused to accept the world and the pain as it was and wanted to fix it all and expected more of everyone, perfect world sccenario. I saw the pain and suffering of all living creatures and could not accept the concept of "Life ON Life's terms. I have a huge resentments list, anger list and sadness list, I also have a huge gratitude list. Without doing a in depth inventory of my character defects I would not be aware and able to face myself thoroughly. I like me and although I have a lot I am improving, I accept myself today as a struggling human doing the best I can everyday. I have some great qualities also and would consider myself a good person.

Thanks for being so vulnerable to us Betty for the greater good!



__________________

FLOP,

"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.



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I just redid this step again yesterday. I was feeling some resentments and I benefited greatly from writing them down in the format Betty describes above. I realized that what the resentments really effected was my self esteem. I worry far too much about what people think of me and slowly this character defect is being let go of. Its a free-ing feeling. But like last week I will hear a person is talking about me or does not like me and it bothers me. Once I wrote about it and let go of it I felt as if it was no longer so big anymore. I called my sponsor and talked about it and then I handed it to my HP. I think work wont be so anxiety ridden next week after all. Thanks!

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Michelle!


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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.



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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.



-- Edited by Wolfie55 on Monday 9th of April 2012 05:43:23 AM

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Not all of my days are priceless, but none of my days are worthless, anymore.



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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 .



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Betty


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I find that every time I work the steps with someone I sponsor, I get to do this step again. Plus my home group is a step study group. Always learning.

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Not all of my days are priceless, but none of my days are worthless, anymore.



Newbie

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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.



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If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? If not now, when?


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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.

maresie.



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maresie


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Dear Maresie

Great sharesmile  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



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Betty
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