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Twelve Steps to Sobriety Meeting
Alcoholics Anonymous and  "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"copyrighted by AA World Services, Inc. and  reprinted with permission. 

April 23rd

http://www.e-aa.org/chat/eaa_chat_reading.php?ID=46

Step Four

“Made a searching and fearless moral in­ventory of ourselves.”


Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their de­structive drinking. We have drunk to drown feelings of fear, frustration, and depression. We have drunk to escape the guilt of passions, and then have drunk again to make more passions possible. We have drunk for vainglory—that we might the more enjoy foolish dreams of pomp and power. This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon. In­stincts on rampage balk at investigation. The minute we make a serious attempt to probe them, we are liable to suffer severe reactions.

If temperamentally we are on the depressive side, we are apt to be swamped with guilt and self-loathing. We wallow in this messy bog, often getting a misshapen and painful pleasure out of it. As we morbidly pursue this melancholy activity, we may sink to such a point of despair that nothing but oblivion looks possible as a solution. Here, of course, we have lost all perspective, and therefore all genuine hu­mility. For this is pride in reverse. This is not a moral inven­tory at all; it is the very process by which the depressive has so often been led to the bottle and extinction.

If, however, our natural disposition is inclined to self-righteousness or grandiosity, our reaction will be just the opposite. We will be offended at A.A.’s suggested inven­tory. No doubt we shall point with pride to the good lives we thought we led before the bottle cut us down. We shall claim that our serious character defects, if we think we have any at all, have been caused chiefly by excessive drinking. This being so, we think it logically follows that sobriety— first, last, and all the time—is the only thing we need to work for. We believe that our one-time good characters will be revived the moment we quit alcohol. If we were pretty nice people all along, except for our drinking, what need is there for a moral inventory now that we are sober?

We also clutch at another wonderful excuse for avoiding an inventory. Our present anxieties and troubles, we cry, are caused by the behavior of other people—people who really need a moral inventory. We firmly believe that if only they’d treat us better, we’d be all right. Therefore we think our indignation is justified and reasonable—that our resent­ments are the “right kind.” We aren’t the guilty ones. They are!

At this stage of the inventory proceedings, our sponsors come to the rescue. They can do this, for they are the car­riers of A.A.’s tested experience with Step Four. They com­fort the melancholy one by first showing him that his case is not strange or different, that his character defects are probably not more numerous or worse than those of anyone else in A.A. This the sponsor promptly proves by talking freely and easily, and without exhibitionism, about his own defects, past and present. This calm, yet realistic, stock­taking is immensely reassuring. The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with his liabilities. This tends to clear away morbidity and encourage balance. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defects.







.

End of Reading


Updated 04/18/2014
I.A


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