Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
After making a decision to turn to God, as you understand him, turning your will and your life is the beginning of the path through the rest of the 12 steps. Step 4 is about complete self- examination. One important thing to remember as you move forward is that it will not work very well doing this on your own, without guidance. That is where a sponsor comes in. A sponsor is someone who has the experience of having gone through the steps so they are able to help to answer your questions.
I have heard people talking about step 4 as being very difficult and painful. Is this true?
Looking at yourself honestly, often for the first time, is not necessarily a pleasant experience. An old saying , aptly put is “The truth will set you free, but it might hurt first”. If we use the book Alcoholics Anonymous, that AA members refer to as “The Big Book”, it compares the 4th step inventory to an inventory a business might take. A business that does not take an honest inventory is in for trouble and may go broke. An honest business does not want to lie about unsalable goods. This is what the 4th step is about, going back through your life and relationships and being honest about them. After taking the 4th step many have been heard to say they wish they had not put it off for so long. There is a good chance actually writing the inventory will not be as you thought it might be.
I get so confused about this step. There are so many examples of how to do it that I am not sure how to go about it now.
This is not an uncommon problem, especially with the internet. You may do a search for how to do a 4th step and get many approaches. I did a search using Google. I asked ” How do I do the 4th step?” There were just under 4 million links to that query.
The key to the 4th step and all of the steps is to keep it simple and be as honest and thorough as you can possibly be. If you have been given a big book, and chances are, you have, Go to chapter 5 and read over the 4th step there. It is straight forward. If you write down the things as they are suggested you will be well on your way. Again sponsorship will come in handy here.
What if I am not an alcoholic will this still work for me? Do I use the AA book anyway?
If drugs are your problem, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has their own book with the same 12 steps. If gambling is your problem there is Gamblers Anonymous (GA), for debtors, Debtors Anonymous (DA). Whatever the obsession affecting your life negatively there is more than likely a 12 step support group out there for you.