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Unread 12-09-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default Step 4

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
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Unread 12-23-2009, 10:19 AM   #2
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Step 4 is the first step where we are actually required to put pen to paper and do something concrete. It is also a stumbling point that some never seem to get past. In my case, doing so took many years and more than one serious relapse. What was so hard about it?

For me, my own notions of perfection were a major obstacle. I thought endlessly about how hard it would be, and how the timing was wrong. I needed to wait until I could do it "right". Looking back, I justified my procrastination by putting action aside for a future date that never seemed to come.

My father was a writer, and once told me that the most difficult step in any writing project was the first word. His solution was to take a piece of paper, write the word "The" in the upper left corner, and recognize that I was on my way. I got started, and quickly got bogged down in my search for perfection. This led me to spinning my wheels for a long time. Then, in a meeting with the chaplain of a rehab center, I was confronted with my failure to get past this point. This guy, a recovering addict himself, told me to take a day to finish, and to do the best I could. Voila! I got it finished, and even did a Fifth Step with him. When doing so he told me that, all that garbage I had shared was behind me, and never would have to bother me again. He also told me that, if at some future date I discovered omissions, I could do another 4th and 5th step with new things if I chose to do so.
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Unread 12-30-2009, 11:08 AM   #3
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Oh Now the dreaded 4th step!! the first time I worked the step I was scared to death of it f/ hearing other members talking about how bad it was gonna be. It wasnt that bad. I filled 70 notebook pages!! I learned that most of my resentments and instances where I had been "wronged" I was actually the cause!
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Unread 01-08-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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This week in chat we are going to begin chatting about the 4th step. I imagine we will spend some time with this step and most likely use the following chat for it as well.

I have never found myself to be a very good guide of the 4th step simply because I never had any fear or hesitation with it. To me it (the process) was actually easy, I was speaking about the one subject I knew the best, myself and I have never been one to be shy about admitting the good, bad and ugly, of myself.

I remember my first 4th step very well. It was in March or so of 1984. Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself was pretty easy, that sticks with me, because I didn't expect it to be, based on comments I would hear in meetings. The other thing which has stuck with me is this, the true rawness of my 4th step and the reality of it didn't hit me until about 5 months later when working on my 6th step.

During that Time I had reviewed my 4th step many times, but, one night it was like a brick hitting me in the head, the true ugliness of it that is.

Passing through that opened me up to repeating my 5th step and opened the door widely for my 6th step.

Anyway, as I said, I find myself to be a lousy guide on this one for most people, because I think I keep it too simple for most, too rational and too obvious.

I will be looking forward to reading everyone's comments in this thread.

Mike
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Unread 01-24-2010, 11:44 PM   #5
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Okay Everyone! This is the step that separates the men from the boys! What has happen to our group! I know you guys are ready to talk about this step. Remember we are NOT working the steps here we are giving useful information. The last two chats have been pretty empty. SO lets get fired up and start asking some questions! Okay?????
Come on.....Where that Addiction Survivor spirit we all have here? Please don't tell me we have some scaredy cats! Lets do this thing! You won't be sorry! I promise! They say that those who do a 4th never have to drink a fifth again! (You get the point! wink)

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Unread 01-25-2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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I discovered that, while it takes a good deal of effort to do Step 4, the dread I felt approaching it was way overblown. If we are truly ready for doing it, the fact that the first three steps are behind us means that we aren't going at it alone. HP is always there and, by this time, anyone ready to proceed should have a sponsor and/or friends in the program. All of this support system can be drawn on for advice.

I think I mentioned somewhere that one factor I leaned upon as an excuse for delay was a sense of dread over having to discuss all this stuff with someone else. I milked that for a long time, until someone pointed out that there was a reason the steps are numbered, and I was worrying about Step 5 instead of doing Step 4. No one grades our efforts and anything left out can always be addressed later. Most of the old timers speak of doing many fourth steps (at least, more than just one). I also found that it was much better to be working on the list than dilly-dallying without even starting it! Those nudges from others made a huge difference and, like I was told repeatedly, the return on the effort paid off big time!
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Unread 01-25-2010, 11:07 AM   #7
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so in getting started lets look at how! First we start with Resentments. We put on paper Any person, place (a store that you might have gotten caught stealing from, a jail, a job etc.etc.) I had a resentment against Long's. I had called in my own prescriptions and spent over an hour waiting to pick it up and then they sold it to me and as I walked out of the store I was surrounded by undercover DEA agents and went to jail. (1989) Instead of having a resentment against a certain person (which I didn't know who made the call) I had the resentment against the store. I use this as an example so you can look back and see where you might have a resentment against a place.

Anyway, back to the resentment list. Write all people, places and things you have had a resentment about! Some sponsors say start when you were young. As early back as you can think. Did you have someone who teased you as a child? Parents did something to you? etc.etc.
Then other sponsors say start with today and work your way backwards. It really doesn't matter. Whatever works best for you. Remember there is no right or wrong.
So on your piece of paper at the top of the page write "I AM RESENTFUL AT":
and list all the people, places, and things. Then once your names are on the list grab the first name and next to it write "THE CAUSE" and briefly explain what happened. (you can use a couple of words.. like David..the cause, slept with my wife) So answer the cause for ALL the names and places you have on the list.
Then we are going to put next to ALL the names,places, and causes a list of what it Affected or how it affected us. Was it our self esteem, our pocketbooks/security, our ambition, our personal relationships including Sex?
We then go down the list and answer if any of those fit! We may have all of those listed with just one person. Or we may only have our self-esteem listed. Or security! But, trust me.....you will ALWAYS have at least one area that was affected from that resentment.
When your finished with the affects area we go to the last column. This is called the "MY PART" column. This is where we really have to look at what WE did. NOT what they did to us. Did we get the ball rolling? Was it OUR behavior that put the resentment in motion?

That's all for now. Next we will go to our FEARS list. Does anyone have any questions so far?
See you all at Chat tonight! Okay!
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Unread 01-25-2010, 04:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for that great post, gotitang! That sounds similar to the way I went about it. Most of the folks who helped me get started were pretty insistent about doing the step "just like the Big Book says". The idea of a "moral inventory" sounded like a list of transgressions to me. Of course, making a list of persons we have harmed comes later, but I found that my Step 4 list came in handy later on. To me, it boiled down to becoming aware of my character defects, and how those defects affected my interactions with others.

Doing this work seemed like a mighty dismal task. It was depressing to remember all this stuff, and writing it all down made it even worse. Of course I wanted to do it in my head, thus avoiding the agony of writing it out, but the easy way didn't cut it. However the relief I felt when I finished, then proceeded to the next step made it all worthwhile.
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Unread 01-25-2010, 06:17 PM   #9
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Hi everybody.

The person who helped me through pointed out to me the resentment I ought to address first. One that I wasn't really aware that I had. But it was directed at the One who is was relying on for help - God. I wont go into the specifics of how he helped me to see it, but I will say that I denied it. Being raised Christian the idea of even just having a resentment toward God, let alone hate him, seemed horrendous to me. But when asked a few simple questions I found myself not able to honestly answer them. Like "what is God to you?". "What role do you think he does or doesn't play in your life?". Those are just a few examples. The end result was, for the first time in my life, I let it all out. I admitted I hated him for the things that had happened to me. I blamed Him just as much as I did anyone else that I thought had wronged me (which was just about everyone). I cursed Him, threw a major tantrum so to speak, and when I was finished, I was amazed that I hadn't burst into flame or been struck by lightning, this guy smiles at me and said, "Okay now we can begin".

He asked, "Now how do you feel?" I said, scared, broken but also I feel a little more hopeful and free. He said, "Great! I think thats the first time you've actually been honest with me since we met". Thats when I learned I was okay to accept how I really feel. That I didn't have to be afraid to tell the truth. It's not easy to explain but thats the gist of it. How I was then able to do the things that Angela laid out for us so well in her earlier post.

Later I found a poem that described what and where I was at. I'm going to put in in "Steve's Thread" if you want to see it. See ya tonight at chat.

Steve
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Unread 01-30-2010, 06:54 AM   #10
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Steve I just read that poem, and wow, it was a really good one. I also read some of your thread, you are a really good writer. Can you put that poem in another thread so people can comment on it? It really makes you think about things....
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Unread 02-01-2010, 06:29 PM   #11
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Hi Deanna, thanks for your kind words and interest.

I'll ask Nancy next Tuesday at chat where she thinks it should (if anywhere) go. Wherever she thinks it would be of the best help is fine with me. I'll also ask if the part I posted in step 4 would be a good way to preface the reason why I posted it to begin with. Again whatever she thinks is best for everyone is more than alright with me.

Hope to see ya at chat

Steve
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Unread 02-02-2010, 06:56 AM   #12
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Thanks Steve! I dont get on the computer at night time(busy busy), but Im always here in the a.m. while Im laid off from work(construction). In the mornings, its just a great way to start my day, reading, and learning. Its an inspiring way to start my day. keep the good stuff coming!
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Unread 02-06-2010, 11:10 AM   #13
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Okay guys/gals, these last 2 weeks in Chat we have been covering Resentments and Fears.....now it is time to cover SEX ....yes, you heard right! SEX.
This is very important (just as important as Resentments and Fears) because we are trying to align "our will" with our Higher Powers will. Why is that important? Because we have lived our whole lives not being comfortable in our skins. The proof of that was that we used "pills" as our solution. I know I did!
If I had fear, take a pill! (example: My husband needs me to cook a big dinner for some clients and I don't even know these people! What about my house? It has to be perfect! What if the meal turns out bad? Or, I'm not funny enough? Thank God I have enough pills to get me through the evening!) This example could also be used in an resentment form. I have a resentment at my husband for putting me through this! What was he thinking!

Anyway, you get the picture! We must look at ourselves so we can change what drove us to use pills in the first place. Resentment was the number one offender, Fear touched every aspect of our lives. So it would make sense that we might need an overhauling in that area also!
We review our own sex conduct over the past years. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? Questions to yourself about this area might look something like this: Looking at both past and present, what sex situations have caused me anxiety, bitterness, frustration, or depression? Appraising each situation fairly, can I see where I have been at fault? Was I selfish or did I have unreasonable demands? Or, if I wasn't at fault why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change?

Remember the goal here is to learn to live within my own skin. To live a life of serenity and peace. That is why we are working these steps! We want to do life different. We no longer can reach for a pill to get us through. Without that solution (the pills) our anxiety is going to be high. So we have to change the way we see life to be able to live in this world without getting loaded. Don't let this step scare you because it is alot of work. Not to mention who wants to look at our past behavior!! BUT....if we do not see how WE played a role in everything we cannot live a new life. When we go through these lists with our sponsor and we see over and over again (in each example) that the same patterns keep coming up. This arms us with a way to change the future! We then have a choice. Where prior to this inventory we did not even see that we got the ball rolling!

So save up your questions for Chat.... okay! If you are thinking about a incidence and you cannot see how you might have played a part. We can break it down and find out! Remember, we are not doing your 4th, But we are helping you to understand how to do a 4th step. Questions/examples help everyone. So don't be shy. Something you might share could help the next person. Thereby saving a life!
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Unread 10-12-2010, 03:29 PM   #14
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Unread 10-20-2010, 01:06 PM   #15
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Okay I get it, nobody wants to talk about it, lol.
Well, I got together with my sponsor yesterday and went over my third step, which I had re-done. Then she explained how to do my fourth step. She told me how to make a list, and then do the question on each person/institution on that list, so I didn't get confused. She told me that if I get stuck or feel bad while I'm doing it, to stop and call her.
And she told me that we'd have a "Step 4 day" when we go over it, and that she'd share hers with me, as well. She said we'll go to the beach or something, somewhere peaceful, so we can do it without interuptions.
And then, after I'm done with my 4th step, we'll burn it.
She said that I'll do many 4th steps in my recovery, but the first one is the only one I'll burn, to kind of free myself from all that stuff. I thought that sounded great!
Then when I do my second fourth step, I'll keep it, because after I have a couple years clean, I'll start sponsoring women, and I'll want to share my fourth step with them.
Anyway, I just thought I'd start this thread up again, looking for some E,S & H.
Thanks,
J
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:36 AM   #16
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Don't burn it before you do Step 5! My underanding has always been that once someone completes 5, that stuff is forgiven and need never be revisited. Doing asdditional 4th Steps allows us to catch-up and to deal with stuff we may have forgotten.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 11:01 AM   #17
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I don't know when the burning part occurs, all I know is I get to!
I think she said after we go over it.
However it works, she's got 9 years clean, so I trust that she knows what she's doing, lol.
And yes, the additional fourth steps are for things we deal with while in recovery, or resentments we haven't let go of, yet.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 11:13 AM   #18
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My expirence on step 4

I got on my knees with my sponsor and rectited the 3rd step prayer from the Big book

I was told to get a spiral notebook and on one side of the page write my life story starting as young as I could. The flip side was for things I may remember after an age. This was to be in ten year increments. Let's say at 20 I remember a thing I did at 10, well I'd find the flip side and add it.

The only instructions was to put it all down. That and not to write when too depresed or elated. Oh yes, and invite God to guide me.

I had 22 pages which is about average from what I've heard from others. (my ex wife had 104 pages lol she was either very percise or a very bad girl lol!) Not that we judge others just a little humor. I did some with folks who did but 3 or 4 pages of things they planned on taking to the grave.

Lastly, when taking a 4th for another (well really the 5th) stay stoic and do not show any judgements as you will hear some "stuff" that can be wild

Glen
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Unread 10-22-2010, 06:15 AM   #19
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Thanks for sharing your experience with me, Glen! I'm generally not a super judgemental person, but I'm very mindful of it, because like the rest of us, I'm human, and of course I do it sometimes. I usually catch myself, tho, and talk to my sponsor about it.
And my sponsor and I have both done some pretty wild stuff, things we are ashamed of, some of the same things. So I'm very comfortable doing it with her.
I use the green & gold stepworking guide for my steps, and then when my sponsor and I go over it, we expand from there. I'm really greatful for the stepworking guide, I think I would have not been as thorough without it, and that it would have been so much harder, not knowing where to start.
Also, at na.org, there's another sheet that gives you tips on how to work step 4, so I have many tools at my disposal to help me along the way.
Best to all,
J

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