The Ultimate Goal of Step 4

The Highway

Thought for today:

We all seek prestige at times.  Everyone needs to be appreciated.

For compulsive debtors, the natural instincts run wild.  “Instincts on rampage ball at investigation,” as Bill W. wrote in Step 4.  We need to investigate these instincts, and put them back in perspective.  Otherwise, we will likely debt again.

DA Step 4:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

A member shares:

“I was always depressed.  The greatest thing I had to do with Step 4 was to realize that I was a garden variety debtor.  Although I felt more than my share of guilt, I had to be reassured.  My sponsor shared with me some of their defects of character, to reassure me that I was not alone.  They also encouraged me to write my assets as well.”

Another member shares:

“I had such a huge ego when I came into DA.  I was full of anger toward the world.

“My sponsor had me work on my grandiosity and self-justification.  They pointed out how pride of self ran my life.  My liabilities blinded me. I didn’t need comforting, I needed to have someone make me look at my denial.”

Our way back to humility:

Compulsive debtors usually fall into two categories when we come into DA: We are either depressed and guilt-ridden, feeling we have betrayed ourselves and our families, or we are full of pride and have convinced others we are not at fault.  Either way, we need to get back to a middle ground of humility.

Bill W., co-founder of AA, though of pride and guilt as extremes on a spectrum of attitudes.  He wrote an essay (Best of Bill, 1955, pg. 47)  where he called humility, “…that safe and secure stance midway between these violent extremes…It is the quiet place where I can keep enough perspective, and enough balance, to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values.”

For us to get better we need to seek humility.  We need to look at our past, and see where we could have done better.


Do I seek humility?

Meditation for today:

The road of life is not always clear.  Along the way, we may miss a turn.  But we can always turn off the road, and check directions.

When we seek an inventory, we are looking for our truth.  Humility means to know the truth about ourselves.

Affirmation for today:

“Today I will enjoy learning something useful.”

Recommended reading: 

DA’s Eighth Tool is D.A. and A.A. Literature: “We study the literature of Debtors Anonymous and of Alcoholics Anonymous to strengthen our understanding of compulsive disease and of recovery from compulsive debting.”

The Best Of Bill

Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

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