Working Through Step 4…

As many of you know, I am an alcoholic and I use the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as the pathway to my recovery. And I am currently on the 4th step of this program: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” This step involves the listing of resentments, figuring out the causes, understanding how it affects you and then determining your own role in the resentment. I get it. It cleans your house of all the b.s. in your life.

And I fucking hate it.

The reality is that every time I have attempted this in the past, I have gone back out and took up drinking again. It’s the whole “what’s my role?” in the listing of resentments that begins to piss me off. For example, as you can imagine, I had recently discussed one of my major resentments – probably my biggest resentment – and I have a difficult time seeing how I’m to blame for it. And every time I’ve tried to deal with it, my emotions get so heightened I have chosen to drink over it. I always drank to eliminate my feelings and emotions. I get stuck at this point in my recovery.

But I’m desperate to change myself and fix myself for the better, so I did what makes absolute sense to me – I consulted the internet to figure out how to do my 4th step. I got a lot of ideas, obviously. I even asked the fellowship on people I met on Twitter known as #RecoveryPosse to get the help. A lot had great ideas and I tried following the ideas suggested and I felt like I was making real progress until I spoke to my sponsor about my 4th step. He called and asked how I was doing on it and I told him about all the progress I had made and that it is the furthest I have ever gotten. I expressed how I found a really easy way to do it and had been doing everything except addressing what my role was in each situation. I explained how difficult it was for me and I just wanted to get through it and this seemed like the way.

Then the ball dropped…

He said, “Why do you think you’re doing this?”

I replied, “Ummm…to get sober.”

His response, “Do you think that’s going to happen if you keep avoiding what makes you uncomfortable…?”

In my mind, I replied, “Fuck off!”, but I said, “I hear you…I just don’t see how it’s my fault when I’ve been hit.” To that, he explained that I am not responsible for another person’s actions, but how I respond to them has everything to do with my resentments. It is the thing that I have to look at ways to change my behavior.

And the light went off…

Not everything has to fixed or solved at this moment. This whole thing is a process and I have to make decisions that are principled, designed to lead to a more positive end. Although some things are not my fault, the responsibility of what is in my lap (i.e. what I can control) is always mine – even if I didn’t ask for it. And it’s true, I didn’t ask for this situation in this way, but it’s here. It’s mine. I have to deal with it.

Today is day 99 of my sobriety, and I have faced my fears more than I have in a long time – if ever.

5 thoughts on “Working Through Step 4…

  1. 99 days is awesome…yeah facing ourselves is the 2nd least fun part of the steps..i think the worst one is facing others who have been affected by your drinking. Some are easy, but when you get down to the nitty gritty ( the ones you dread facing) it can be a real sticking point( they have no obligation to forgive you!)…best to face yourself first..ugh

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  2. “Not everything has to fixed or solved at this moment.”

    This is true. And it won’t be for many moments after. And it’s so frustrating sometimes… But in time it gets easier…. which I’m sure you’ve heard thousands of times by now.

    But also, AA doesn’t work for everyone. It didn’t work for me but I was lucky enough to get through it all eventually. Essentially what I’m saying is that the rigidity of AA can sometimes end up being a hinderance. Not to say you shouldn’t do it, but just that there are other options.

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  3. Ok bro
    ..maybe you might gain some insight by listening to an NA speaker named Bam Bam over at the na speaker s section at utube…as for your 4th step..you don’t need to write a 3 million page life story…work on the basic crap that got you to seek sobriety and do 5 thru 9 on that crap… we have an amazing tool called the 10th step..it’s simply a redu of the 4th step..so u can get rid of that crap that’s holding you back right.now and move forward past those obstacles to a less bleak future…that’s how I did my 4th step over 38 years ago..and it’s worked since 1 23 84 for me to just do daily 10th steps when crap goes down…good luck and may you find the freedom that I have found

    Liked by 1 person

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