Alcoholics Anonymous | April 1 2013 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" step four: "made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." What on earth is this about? And why did I have to do this? First and foremost in fellowship, and with twelve steps, everything is a suggestion. Step four, helped me identify my personal conduct and the liabilities which kept me stuck in an old life which gave me reason to drink: personal traits of excessive fear, pride and ego needed to be let go. And of course there is a balance the more I let go of fear, pride and ego, the more room for courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and confidence to make mistakes and learn from them and ask for help and guidance at any time…
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Natural instincts are good! "If there were no social instinct, if men cared nothing for the society of one another, there would be no society. So these natural desires, for sex, for material and emotional security, and for companionship: are perfectly necessary and right and surely God-Given." Step four, and the way I write it to read, fear less moral inventory. When we look back at our conduct over the years, the good of what we have done and the excesses and extremes caused by? The cause and the effect are really important to know. Where we have been driven to extremes, extremes of fear, extremes of pride and extremes of ego, there are many ways to write a personal fear less moral inventory and how you do this is usually with the guide, of either using the big book, the big book and a sponsor, and depending on your openness and willingness and honesty, you will find many who can help you start this process. In my opinion, three columns as in the big book is a simple, practical starting point…
The first three steps: powerlessness and unmanageability, insanity of doing the same thing over and over again, letting go and asking for help. Very practical! And so is step four, and it can be a very simple exercise of self-appraisal with some help, probably from someone who has done the steps before. In my case, I had a practical and well versed individual in the steps, someone who had studied them and put them into practice. And they were also a counsellor, and we spent time understanding what we were looking for in the inventory, which was repetitive and at extremes of behaviour, and not in line with our natural instincts. Unfortunately the liabilities were obvious, and the assets were quite obvious as well. And utilising the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues, as measures, it did not take long to tease out the number one resentment in the inventory: me!
In the fearless moral inventory, if you are not your own number one resentment, it is highly unlikely that you will uncover all the other resentments which had been simmering for some time: who, what and when… And the impact was… So how you do your fear less moral inventory is probably the big book way or something similar. The intention of this inventory is to clear the wreckage of the past, not a lifelong job of detailing and writing right down to the last recollection of everything turning step four, into an encyclopaedia of resentments, that would take a lifetime to write. Thorough yes, to find out the who, what and when really does not need to take years, years spent on the first three steps and then years writing the fourth step. Because it would take years to do the fifth step, if that were the case...
If you are helping another person with their step work, do we read the big book, as we go along again? And do we utilise the twelve and twelve to help with structure and a framework of where we are headed? And do we consult with others about how we are sharing our knowledge about doing this step four? If you are uncertain of the context and framework, how the twelve steps are living principles in your life and work inside and outside fellowship, best to get some support and help from someone else. The whole point of the twelve step process is to be able to integrate these principles in all our affairs. The steps are in an order for a reason, and it is probably best in my experience to do each one in the order they are written. However, life isn't like that, and sometimes although we may be learning about a particular step, one further along, has just cropped up and is immediate and now. So in my experience, before embarking on some protracted journey which is laborious, I really do recommend that the student and the sponsor read the relevant parts of the big book, and every single part of the twelve and twelve, together! Because if you don't know the framework of the steps, it takes far too long to do. Each one separately, yes. Knowing them all and how they fit together, that is needed in order to make sense of these timeless principles which we put into practice daily…
It is easy to write what I think people ought to do when doing and then living the steps. But it is not easy to put into practice. So what I write are suggestions and not in any way the best way for you at a sponsor or as a student of the steps. In truth, after all these years, the steps mean more and more every day as life experience happens. And the steps make more sense when we are practising them as we go along. Theory and thoroughness is very useful, practice, is key to a happy life and the possibility of serenity today. Even when there is chaos all around us, where we get to with everything is as the serenity prayer suggests: "God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference…"
Alcoholics Anonymous | April 1 2012 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" Today's AA daily reflection: "looking within, an inventory…" A fearless and moral inventory of times past helps us to understand where our nature and nurture went out of balance. A balance sheet of assets and liabilities, what worked and what did not work…
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Step four, often seen as a great big stumbling block, a history of horrors or a "horrible history." We cannot change the past, at the same time we can utilise all the experience of those difficult years of addiction and how it all happened. If we can be honest about this part of the twelve step program, and it did take me a while to do this, the experience of the past becomes the bedrock of a new life. Our attitudes and behaviour can change simply making progress one day at a time…
The purpose of the inventory, to fear less in the moment of now. To appreciate why and how life turned out the way it did, to recognise that the first three steps are preparation and that step four continues to open the door to living to good principles of being open, honest and willing to change on a daily basis. Learning how to be honest with ourselves continues our progress in being honest with everyone around us…
Taking inventory is difficult because we find it is part of a grieving process, letting go an old life which is now redundant and was killing us sometimes quickly and often very slowly. Letting go the old life and starting a new life, gentle progress as the new life happens and what may seem like a catastrophic ending and loss of what seemed like a best friend, alcohol and any other addictions we might have had… Grieving is an on-going way of life, we look back to understand and need not keep staring or we lose sight of what is beautiful today…
Fear of being good enough today... I got trapped in my own fear of not being good enough for decades. Then I feared being good enough in early sobriety, frightened to have esteem, courage and faith. I think it was paranoia and a worry I might be judged as a "fake." If I don't “fake it to make it,” I learn truth, love and wisdom more easily, no secrets, not stuck...
Rome and humans were not built in a day.. Monuments and monumental events, history to cherish, to laugh, to cry, we are a mixture of old and new. 12 Steps! Step four our historical balance sheet of good and bad, step ten as we change every day. We develop our courage, faith and confidence… less fear, ego and brave facing...
Step 4, our emotional assets and liabilities, 'to hell and back' best done with care and guidance ~ Lorna Luft "My mother was a phoenix who always expected to rise from the ashes of her latest disaster. She loved being Judy Garland." -/- Look back, appraise, don't stare, we change and grow..
I do not speak for Alcoholics Anonymous I speak for myself. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of unique and authentic people who speak for themselves where they will to share experience, strength and hope about recovery on a daily basis. Anonymity affords sanctuary to find how to live sober and be open, honest and willing to learn life day by day. For me "truth," "love" and "wisdom" offer the best spiritual experience by living reality today. Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions, steps to be open honest and willing to learn, traditions to live unity service and recovery.
spiritual principles ~ acceptance surrender faith open-mindedness honesty willingness moral-inventory amends humility persistence spiritual-growth service
Step 4: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." We want to uncover the truth about ourselves. We want to discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviour’s, and the behaviour patterns - that have been blocking us, causing us problems and causing our failure.
AA Daily Reflection: LOOKING WITHIN APRIL 1 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 42
Step Four is the vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what the liabilities in each of us have been, and are. I want to find exactly how, when, and where my natural desires have warped me. I wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and myself. By discovering what my emotional deformities are, I can move toward their correction. Without a willing and persistent effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for me. To resolve ambivalent feelings, I need to feel a strong and helpful sense of myself. Such an awareness doesn’t happen overnight, and no one’s self-awareness is permanent. Everyone has the capacity for growth, and for self-awareness, through an honest encounter with reality. When I don’t avoid issues but meet them directly, always trying to resolve them, they become fewer and fewer.
As Bill Sees It ~ Dealing with Resentments ~ Resentment is the Number One offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have also been spiritually ill. 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 principles with whom 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.
"The most heated bit of letter-writing can be a wonderful safety valve -- providing the wastebasket is somewhere nearby." 1. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, PP. 64-65
2. LETTER, 1949
We must first deeply realize what they are. Constructive meditation is the first requirement for each new step in our spiritual growth." 1. TWELVE AND TWELVE, P. 98 2. LETTER, 1946
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