Step Four

4:- “Made a searching and fearless personal inventory of ourselves.”

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A core principle behind the Fourth Step is to identify our assets and liabilities for recovery. Things that will help us in dual recovery and the things that will harm our dual recovery. It’s an opportunity to start identifying and healing the pain from the past and to stop the progression of our illnesses.

Members share their thoughts on the Fourth Step

I like DRA’s concept of writing out our Assets and Liabilities for recovery. When we get them down on paper we have a list of Strengths or Assets to build our dual recovery on and a list of Liabilities which are targets for personal growth and change. It’s really easy for some of us to get into beating ourselves up over this Fourth Step business. That’s why when I sponsor somebody and help them with their Fourth Step inventory, I tell them to list one Asset for every Liability they can think of to keep the columns balanced. I don’t think being unnecessarily hard on ourselves is working an honest program. Everyone has lots of Assets and they need to practice recognising them.Anonymous (
I was carrying around a lot of pain and shame from being abused when I was a kid. I wasn’t really ready in early recovery to deal with that. It triggered my symptoms in a big way and I kept getting stuck there. I talked to my counselor about it and he suggested that I leave the childhood stuff out of my Fourth Step. To deal with it in therapy later when I was ready. He said I needed to look fearlessly at myself though, particularly the last few years–with honesty and an attitude of self-care and love. Then he suggested that knowing about this trigger and how it affected my symptoms was an Asset to my recovery.Anonymous (
I had no idea how many resentments I really had. Doing my Fourth Step was a real eye opener. I was blaming lots of people for lots of things but never resolving any issues. Things just kept building up inside. There is a saying that says “resentments are like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” That’s exactly how I felt, poisoned by my own resentments.Anonymous (
It took all of the faith and trust I developed in the Programme by working the first three Steps, to get enough courage to be honest and really search for the truth about myself in the Fourth Step — to be able to face and walk through my fear — to be able to reach out and ask my sponsor for advice and support. I recommend to anyone that they do the Steps in order. They are numbered for a good reason.Anonymous (
I had several grudges against people who I was sure had treated me rotten in various personal relationships, but under it all when I properly inventoried my part in the situation, I had been far too demanding of them. I had driven them away by demanding that they make me feel secure and loved. Now I know that’s an area I have to keep working on.Anonymous (
I like to start with the last part of Step Two. It implies that we had lost our sanity by suggesting it needs to be restored. It says, “…could restore us to sanity.” As a person who lives with and has to manage a chronic psychiatric disorder on a daily basis, I am not entirely happy with this choice of words. But then again, I find it uncomfortably accurate and accept it as it relates to my thinking and behaviours where cocaine was concerned. Man– the things I did and said to stay on a run. I would have sold my grandmother’s teeth for one more line and I love my grandma. I really needed help to get out of that kind of lifestyle. So in my mind, Step Two is about research and planning.Anonymous (
The Fourth Step isn’t about a list of every bad thing we ever did, though it may start out that way. Mine did, but then I started looking for patterns and so I rewrote my Fourth and grouped items that were of a similar pattern. Under those groupings I tried to distill the particular pattern or defect of character I found down into a line or two. For the most part, it’s those patterns, inappropriate coping mechanisms, and mistaken beliefs that I want to discuss with my sponsor in the Fifth Step.p.Anonymous (
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