What are some of your favorite past times? I’ll tell you what’s not going to be on that list . . . sitting down and admitting all of your faults and defects. However, that’s essentially what the fourth step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program is. BUT DON’T RUN AWAY! Before you write it off, you should know that completing the fourth step will leave you more free, happy, and stronger. But if that doesn’t sell you on its own, then let’s put a magnifying glass to the poor, misunderstood step and lay it all out.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
But what does that actually mean?
The fourth step is about acknowledging the bad qualities and past missteps that kept you in your addiction. These are the things that not only hurt the addict, but they hurt loved ones as well. The step describes that the inventory should be “searching and fearless.” This means that it will be in-depth, involved, and difficult. While that may sound scary, this personal inventory is crucial to help you grow in your recovery. Think about it . . . if you don’t know what you need to grow from, how can you possibly go about growing?
Why is the fourth step hard for people in early recovery?
Looking inward at yourself leaves you vulnerable. That’s scary for anyone, let alone someone new in their recovery. An addict’s mentality is centered on their drug of choice. They’ve likely lived a life of lies and manipulation in order to get or use their drug (including alcohol). By completing a moral inventory the recovered addict is basically forcing himself to address that lifestyle and the person he was. Writing down your resentments will likely bring up feelings of hurt and anger, which isn’t fun. Admitting your part in these resentments can also be hard.
During the moral inventory you will probably discover things about yourself and your addiction that are hard to come to terms with. For example, it’s very common during this time to realize how your relationships with other people were affected by your addiction. “I lied to my family so that I could go out and drink, which has hurt them.” Essentially, you’re exposing the skeletons in your closet. It’s scary and difficult, but you can do it! And you’ll be better for it.
Tips for Performing the Fourth Step:
Contrary to popular belief (among newly recovered addicts), the fourth step isn’t a terrifying, dreadful monster. If you ask people who have completed the step before, they’ll tell you that while it was scary and difficult at times, the step was actually very freeing and beneficial to their recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol addiction, New Start is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our live chat or call us at 855-737-7363.