How One Member Did Step Four and Found Enlightenment

Thought for today:

A member shares on Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

“When I was ready to take Step Four I made the list just like in the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, chapter 5), using five columns: ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Affects My’, ‘Exact Nature of My Wrongs’, and ‘Opposite’. I completed one column at a time before moving on to the next one.

“So under ‘Who’, I listed all the people I resented, and there were a lot. This surprised me, because I didn’t think I was an angry person. After I listed all the names , I went back and in the ‘What’ column next to each name, I described what happened. Abusive creditors, family members judging me for my debting, especially if I owed them money. Injuries I felt I had suffered.

“I moved on to the ‘Affects My’ column, entering each of my hurt injuries – to my self-esteem, financial security, sex relations, social standing, my pride.

“In the ‘Exact Nature of My Wrongs’ column I put down  the seven deadly sins as they applied. (I used the acronym ‘PALES-GG’ to remember them – Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony.)  I also put (Fear) next to the ones I could trace back to fear, and there were a lot of them.

“The Opposite column was easy. Behaviors I wish I had done instead went there.

“In the end, I felt enlightened. While some people had wronged me, usually I was repeating “defects of character” with different people – a case of ‘different faces, same situation’. I was the common element, and I finally knew it.”

Question to Reflect On:

Instead of being a victim, might I have actually been an active participant in my disease?  Am I willing to take action in my recovery today?

Meditation for Today:

We sometimes speak or write in ways we later regret, and we hurt ourselves as much as anyone else when that happens. “Restraint of pen and tongue” is a great motto for avoiding that hurt.

Affirmation for Today:

I can withstand the truth. I face it directly.  I honestly seek out ways to improve my character. After all, I am in this program so I can improve my life. Why not correct course when necessary?

Prayer for Today:

May the awareness I get from the fourth step help improve my life. May I never have to go back to my old ways of thinking that got me into debt, fear and despair.  May I find your way, which is surely better than mine.

Further Reading:

DA Tool Eight encourages us to read AA literature, and a great place to start is with the AA Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.  Filled with dozens of hopeful stories of recovery, it explains the Twelve Steps like no other book.

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