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Post Info TOPIC: Step 4 - AA

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Step 4 - AA

from the '12 Steps and 12 Traditions' book:

"Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves"

"Creation gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn't be complete human beings. If men and women didn't exert themselves to be secure in their persons, made no effort to harvest food or construct shelter, there would be no survival. If they didn't reproduce, the earth wouldn't be populated. If there were no social instinct, if men cared nothing for the society of one another, there would be no society. 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 subtely, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives. Our desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man's natural desires cause him great trouble... Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct...

"We want to find out exactly how, when and where our natural desires hav e 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. In such a case, this imperious urge can destroy his chances for material and emotional security as well as his standing in the community. 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. Disillusionments and helplessness are his lot. In time all his protectors either flee or die, andhe 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 unreasonable upon others, unhappiness follows... The collision of instincts can produce anything from a cold snub to a blazing revolution. In these ways we are set in conflict not only with ourselves, but with other people who have instincts, too...

"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...

"If, however, our natural disposition is inclined to self-righteousness or grandiosity, our reaction will be just the opposite. We will be offended by AA's suggested inventory. No doubt we shall point with pride to the good lives we thought we led...

"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'd treat us better we would be alright. Therefore we think our indignation is justified and reasonable - that our resentments are the 'right kind'. We aren't the guilty ones. They are!...

"At this stage of the proceedings, our sponsors come to the rescue... They show the melancholy one... that his character defects are probably not more numerous or worse than those of anyone else... the sponsor talks about his own defects, past and present. This calm, yet realistic, stocktaking is immensely reassuring. The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with the liabilities.  This tends to clear away morbidity and encourage balance...

"The sponsors of those who feel they need no inventory are confronted with quite another problem. This is because people who are driven by pride of self unconsciously blind themselves to their liabilities... the problem is to help them discover a chink in the walls their ego has built...

"... For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses...

"... In AA we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that everytime we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, 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...

"...  Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word 'blame' from our speech and thought. .. we had started to gain perspective on ourselves, which is another way of saying that we were gaining in humility...

"Unreasonable fear that our instincts will not be satisfied drives us to covet the possessions of others, to lust for sex and power, to become angry when our instinctive demands are threatened, to be envious when the ambitions of others seem to be realized while ours are not. We eat, drink, and grab for more of everything than we need, fearing we shall never have enough...

"So when AA suggests a fearless moral inventory, it must seem to every newcomer that more is being asked of him than he can do. Both his pride and his fear beat him back every time he tries to look within himself. Pride says, 'You need not pass this way,' and Fear says, 'You dare not look!'... Once we have a complete willingness to take inventory, a wonderful light falls upon this foggy scene..."


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


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Posts: 17

I think for a long long time I wanted to be a super survivor of childhood abuse. I wanted always to be in advanced recovery. i never wanted to be a beginner. I think that was one defence that eventually backfired on me.  Being in advanced never let me learn how to be a beginner and be new.  Now I am content to be new and not know all.  At work when I make suggestions to my boss and he says no I no longer take it personally. It is his company not mine. I do not think a dsyfunctional company says something about me personally anymore.  I no longer think I can change the world world.  Maybe with humility I can effect some real change in my life but it is very difficult to let down that defence and admit to feelings that often overwhelm me and to ask for help in a genuine way.


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