Eliminating Limiting Beliefs in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups

- 36 Tips
for working the
12 Steps

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What About Step 4? 

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 4 - Part 2 - Getting it Done

It doesn't seem to matter if it's Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or some other 12 Step Program, the 4th Step makes for lots of questions!

The first is usually, "Do I have to do it?"

The answer is, of course, yes! If you want to let go of your addiction and have the Promises of the Program come true, a 4th Step is necessary.

Why Step 4 is important

It may help to understand a bit about why a 4th Step is so important. The key is that in doing an inventory we are starting to become honest with ourselves about our behavior.

Of course, we made a good beginning when we admitted and came to terms with our addiction, but we need to go further if we are to really change.

We need to be willing to look at how we've wronged ourselves and other - both as a result of our addiction, and as a result of the 'stinking thinking' that went along with our compulsion.

The temptation to ignore or slight this Step is strong for it is anything but pleasant to look at ourselves in what we know will be a less than favorable light. Besides, we're so well practiced at lying to ourselves - that lack of self-honesty is a major part of our addiction - that in the beginning of our recovery we hardly notice that we tell ourselves less than the truth.

We're not as bad as we think

The other temptation is to aggrandize our faults. It's as if we think that we must be worse than anyone else.

Neither position is true - we're looking for balance in our inventory as we are in the rest of our recover.

Not surprisingly, willingness is the key to writing a 4th Step, just as it is with the rest of our 12 Step Program. 

Next time we'll look at how to actually write the inventory. In the meantime, you might want to look at the article on Self-Honesty.

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