Step Four…The Courage

Step four was a very taxing step for me to go through. What I was being asked to do as not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. I was told to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. Wow! I said you want me to do what? Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. Oh, you mean be honest about everything I’ve done that was underhanded, anger related, or fear based in my life and making a list.   Well I was hard pressed to want to be that honest, but I knew I had to be rigorously honest for program to work. I tell you it takes courage to be that honest. I wasn’t scared to do this step, I was shameful of most of my activities that I did and regretted. My sponsor put it best when he told me to pray to God and ask for the willingness to do this step. I saw the light. It was about the willingness, to have the courage, to dig that deep into my past, to pull out the events that shaped my current condition. As I knew from the first three steps I had to be willing to go to any length to get my sobriety. This was just a continuation of the first three steps. Building blocks for the rest of my life. I declared myself worthy of the task and dived head first into the pool of reflections. I can say after doing my fifth step that the forth step gave me a sense of healing that I had never known before and am so grateful to have done. Sure it took time; it took looking deep inside myself to pull out the “stuff” I was made up of. What a sense of wellness when I was through. God bless you all who do your forth step, a rigorously honest forth step cause you’re worth it.

10 thoughts on “Step Four…The Courage

  1. I am still firmly in step three, but as I did step one and I listed the so many things that I am powerless over and that have made my life unmanageable I have a fairly extensive starting point for my step four.

    As I read Answers in the Heart for today Sept 17th (my parents 40th) wedding anniversary I was brought to tears. Self-forgiveness and complete understanding that my higher power loves and forgives me is what is going to give me the strength to even think about step four. It has been almost a year since I sat in these SAA rooms for the first time and while I see HOW VERY FAR I have come, I see how very far I have yet to go. It gives me hope to know it is all in my Higher Powers time and not my time.

  2. In true addict fashion, I truly dreaded the fourth step. I was in AA and had nearly 8 years clean and sober before I decided to do my 4th step. I would not recommend that for ANYONE. The fourth step for me was about forgiveness of my past behaviors. Also, I was able to see where my character defects where. And boy there were a bunch. For the longest time, I just thought I could ask my higher power to take away my character defects. However, I must know what they are. I must be aware of them. I must know what to ask God for.

    Once I did my 4th step and then did my fifth step with my sponsor, I was so relieved. What a weight off my shoulders. So much of my obsession to act out was taken away.

    I know that most of us dread this step. Know that while taxing, those promises that the big book talks about begin to come true after you finish steps 5, 6 and 7. “Before we are halfway through…” Know there are great gifts and promises that we get on the other side!

  3. The fourth step is about reviewing where I have come from. It helps me to put things into perspective and see how far I have come and how I am living my life today versus three years ago. I need to do more work on this step because when I do I always feel better and right now I could use that. I thank God for this program and pray for the willingness to continue working on this step and it has been working.

  4. I want to share about courage, not necessarily Step 4. I can see a lot coming up for me where I have the potential to be afraid or am already having some fear. I have my amends that I have been making. I have my trip to NY that I am taking. I have major surgery that I am planning. Each of these is causing me some levels of fear. However, I know that as long as I approach each thing as a responsible person in recovery I should be ok. I can have the courage to move forward to do what I need to do. For each of these things is good and I will be better for having done them. So I need to summon up my courage and use the tools that I have in my tool box and go forward. I am nervous, but that is ok. A little nervous I think is ok. It should keep me on my toes. As long as I don’t let it get the best of me. I just need to stay clear headed, be smart, be humble, make good choices, take all the suggestions that are given to me, make my phone calls, and move forward with my Higher Power by my side.

    • I speak from the standpoint of still plodding through my 1st step. And courage – more than I think I want to have most days – is what it is taking – just to continue to work the step. The courage to keep on digging and digging up memories that I don’t want to unearth. Things that I feel better – at least superficially – keeping deep inside. I’d like to believe that I can get better without digging everything up, but I know inside, that this is all necessary. I need the courage to continue to go through the pain and relive the past. I don’t do go with the past. I have a very hard time even thinking about it – to the point that I can’t stand looking at pictures or movies of my past – families – etc. Anything that causes me to have to visit it I avoid like the plague. But I know that its necessary. I’m so good at compartmentalizing. And that’s how I’ve been able to have multiple affairs and still say to my wife – “I love you”. I’m one sick puppy – and I know to get well – its going to take some pain and a lot of courage on my part. So most days, I put something down. I try to muster up enough courage to visit the past for at least a few minutes. I think of it as some really nasty disgusting medicine that I can’t stand taking – but its the only thing that will cure me. Now I know that this medicine is only the first among many – the rest of the steps -but I can’t think about that. I can only muster the courage for this one step right now – and that barely. But I’ll keep taking this one day at a time and keep plugging away. And with the “promises” I love so much in the back of my mind, hoping that one day I can share how I got through my 1st step with another addict – who is struggling with the courage to keep fighting and working that step.

  5. I’ve not gotten to Step 4 yet, still finishing Step 3, but I was interested in sort of a “coming attraction” of the next step. In browsing through the step, I noticed a section entitled “Paralyzed by Fear”, and it immediately gained burned recognition into my soul.

    The pertinent questions were: “When did you need to take action but did not?”, and “Have you put off important tasks and conversations?” because of fear. In just the past month, this happened and caused a giant reaction, with my partner accusing me of lying by omission, and still acting like I had a secret life. There was a legitimate disagreement between us on whether to rent an apartment to an attractive woman, and I did so without telling her about it until she asked about it. It was avoidance behavior – I knew that it could trigger a fight so didn’t mention it (didn’t listen to my inner voice). Whatever the merits of either side of this argument (it isn’t about sex in this case), the error was not being open and honest when it was called for. The strength of the reaction was multiplied many times over by the secretiveness of the action.

    This has been one of the hallmarks of my life. Avoiding difficult conversations, open communication and hiding a secret life. It has never worked for me, and I suspect, it never will.

    I look forward to studying the fourth step.

  6. Funny how these topics just seem to follow where I am or where I have been recently. Last weekend I had to pick up a white chip and it took a lot of courage for me to do it. I did not want to humble myself and do it, but I knew that if I wanted to move on with my recovery that I needed to do it. I was scared because I always want everyone to think that I am doing great and that I am working the perfect program. But I was not and I slipped. So I had to do what I needed to do for me and that was pick up the chip and move on. And as a result I feel better and I am moving on and back on track with my program.

  7. Now that the fog of my wanting to act out at every moment has lifted—I am at about 3 months of sobriety– I am noticing at once more peace–and feeling horrible feelings. These threaten to throw me into relapse. Yet right now these feelings need solution. I can hardly stand the feelings of being overwhelmed by work and expectations (mine and others’), self-esteem around my appearance, and just pure exhaustion at the end of the week–with no end in sight for what I have to do. I feel horrible that I haven’t’ been to the gym in last 2 weeks and so angry that I was sick for 2 weeks. My character defects are so much more obvious–and I thought all I had just to be sober! My character defects I hate to see them–and I am embarrassed when they are exposed. I think this stage is causing me to be more tired too. Going to bed. Nite

  8. Initially I was motivated to do the fourth step, because I heard in the rooms that the longer I prolonged the fourth step, the chances of going back out were high. I needed to get away from my inner circle, so I dove into the fourth step. It was painful, uncomfortable, and annoying. I rehashed old parts of my life that I had repressed. I felt feelings of grief, jealousy, sadness, and anger. The whole process was as if I was going back in time and experiencing those events all over again. When it was over, I felt a relief and a weight of my shoulders.

  9. Of course every day I am reminded that everything happens for a reason. Just yesterday an intensive session with my sponsor I completed step 2&3. And today here I am on RM and the topic is step 4. I have started 4 I have my sheets and I am filling in column 1. And yes it looks like I’m going to need a lot more sheets. I never realized I held so many resentments from the past but now that I sit down and go through them it is apparent there is a lot to go through. I remember reading in the big book that if there is anything that will make an alcoholic in recovery drink again it will be not dealing and purging their resentments. So I sure do not want to ever act out again for I know in my heart if I do I will die and it won’t be pretty. So I take on step 4 with the strength I have in God and his help to get through this honestly and openly. I will get this done and release those resentments.

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