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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Step 4 - Getting It Done

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

Step 4 - Part 1

I really do remember how scary it was to write my first inventory. I put it off until I was afraid I was going to get drunk or use again. 

My sponsor kept bugging me, and even though there was another woman who told me it was 'too early,' I knew I had to do it. So I gathered up a yellow legal tablet and a cheap pen and when the kids were asleep sat in front of the fireplace and tried to start.

Start, somehow

Finally, I titled the blank page:

Anne's Inventory

and went to bed, knowing I hadn't done much, but had at least done something.

The next day I tried a complicated stab at it - I wrote a year at the top of every page back to, as I recall, about 3, and tried to fill up the pages. It was obvious that wasn't going anywhere and my sponsor suggested I check the Big Book.

Keep it simple

There, in Chapter 5, is the outline for an inventory - and although it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, I worked at following it.

I wrote down my fears and the resentments I was aware of at the time. As I recall, a lot of it had to do with my ex-husband and money issues. And, of course, SEX! 

After about four pages I'd run out of things to say! I read it over and added another sentence or two. I felt like I had written a lot, but I also thought I should write more, but I honestly didn't know what more to write.

Maybe you're done

Finally, I called my sponsor, sure he would tell me I hadn't done it the right way. Instead he said, "maybe you're done."

That stopped me cold and we talked about it a bit. He asked if I was aware of hiding anything and if I had been as honest as I knew how to be. I was able to answer 'yes' to both.

"Anne," he explained, "over time you'll discover more, much more, but it sounds like you've done a good job. Be grateful, go to a meeting, relax. It's done."

Of course, he was right - I had done my best at the moment. It was an honest effort. And over time I've discovered much much more - in fact, that self-discovery goes on even today.

The real point is to write it down - the best way you know how in the moments you're writing.

Far better to do a short but honest inventory than none at all.

Love, peace and abundance,


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