4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby JohnElkRiver » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:38 pm

I've done two Fourth Step's in my life, both based on the Big Book. When I have a resentment that comes up I also write inventory on that as part of my 10th step in the same manner as the Big Book suggests. The 12 x 12 seems to suggest another means of taking a personal inventory. Anyone have any thoughts on why there are two ways to do the same step? I tend to prefer to work steps the way the Big Book suggests but would be curious to see what others think? What would you advise a newcomer?
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby ann2 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:15 am

Thanks for a great topic. I am someone who needed to flesh out my 4th step with the suggestions in the 12&12. I don't recommend it to all my sponsees, but if we reach the same place I reached in my inventory, I suggest looking at the ideas presented in the 4th step essay.

My problem was being able to label things. I just happened to understand the labels in the 12&12 better and in fact continue to use them in my 10th steps. But looking back I can see how the BB labels are just as applicable. At the time however I was fairly at sea and was grateful for a little breaking down.

Ann
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby kenyal » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:19 am

Hi JER, I did my 4th using the BB guidelines and good input from my sponsor. Haven't yet felt the need to cover the same ground again.
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby johnd » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:05 am

Hi John,
The Big Book is a simpler format and much more in depth, especially with the cause and effect chart.
The 12&12 however, is written by Bill W. as his own experience with the steps. He gets into the 4th step inventory very deeply because at the time he was writing he himself was going through a deep depression.
It has proven beneficial in respects as Ann eluded to giving a label. I would contend as well to use it as a 10th step inventory if any of the circumstances do apply in your past or present circumstance.
If you feel more comfortable with the Big Books rendition of the 4th step by all means continue. remember the 4th step is yours to reveal so work it the way you are most comfortable. John D.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:45 am

There is a worksheet with examples straight out of the big book that illustrates how it impacts the self-esteem, pride, Ambition, Security Personal Relationship and Pocket Book. For example in the case of Mr Browns attention towards (Bills) wife:

Self esteem: I am the best husband my wife could have. Fear of being (not good enough)
Pride: No one should challenge my wife’s love for me. Fear of being (challenged)
Ambition: I want others to respect my relationship with my wife. Fear of being (disrespected)
Security: I need others to acknowledge who I am to be okay. Fear of being (not acknowledged)
Personal Relations: Real friends never make their friends unimportant. Fear of being (unimportant)
Sex relations: - A real men stands up for himself. Fear of (confrontation)
A real man commands the respect of others. Fear of being (not respected)

Pocketbook: (I only right on pocketbook if it affects my finances or job in some way.)

You may find other examples too there. This helped me write my inventory and look at the selfish, self-centered attitude. You may visit "thejaywalker" dot com.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby Tommy-S » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:37 pm

Thanks for the topic, John

“Anyone have any thoughts on why there are two ways to do the same step?”


My first 4th Step, I used the example in the Big Book, the questions in the 12 x 12, and the Little Red Book **(Dr. Bob helped with its writing). As with my drinking, I was an over-achiever in trying to ‘get’ AA because I feared a return to King alcohol’s Mad Realm. My sponsor reined me in and kept me from constant introspection that kept me from getting on with the rest of the Steps.

The Big Book example in 'Alcoholics Anonymous', the Basic text for our fellowship (Preface) were probably intended as just that... Example & Basic (minimal)

The Big Book was written in AA’s 3rd & 4th years (May 38- Apr39), while the 12 x 12 was written in 1951-52, in AA’s 16th & 17th years. It always seemed to me the depth of detail contained in the 12 x 12 shows growth and understanding gained over an additional period of 12 -13 years sobriety.

Makes sense to me as I figure, if my understanding of the Steps is still the same at 17 years as when I first worked them, (which was very little understanding) I would wonder IF I had grown at all

Also, one of the protections our founders left AA in our Traditions was insurance against becoming stagnant:
“This means that these two or three alcoholics could try for sobriety in any way they liked. They could disagree with any or all of AA principles & still call themselves an AA group. But this ultra-liberty is not so risky as it looks... also prevents AA from becoming a frozen set of dogmatic principles.....” (AA Comes of Age, pg 105)
Tradition 4 (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10327)

I always take the new fellows through the basic inventory as listed in the Big Book using the example given to help them get a basic foundation for sobriety. Then, after they have some time and some battles with the Crap fairy of Life, we get into the more detailed 12 x 12 inventories (including Step 8 ).

Two ways??? Maybe. I would probably express that as 'basic' and 'more detailed'

The important thing is, it only works IF we take the action.

Thanks... Tommy

** The 'Little Red Book' focuses on "varioius manifestations of self-centeredness", giving the list of 8 forms: "Resentment, Dishonesty, Self-Pity, Jealousy, Criticism, Intolerance, Fear, Anger"
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby JohnElkRiver » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:14 pm

Thanks everyone. That is great food for thought. I especially like that passage you posted from AA Comes Of Age. Makes alot of sense. I think perhaps its time to do a 4th step based on the 12x12. I think it would help me gain a better understanding of Step 4 overall. I had always thought the method in the BB was the only one we should be doing but perhaps its time to take a closer look at the 12x12 and give that a go.
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby davem » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:44 pm

Hello-my name is dave m and I am an alcoholic - I was searching for- when the 12 x 12 was written and somehow ran into this discussion of step 4 - which to use? the BB or 12 x 12 and quite frankly it should be not either or but both :) When I was in a BB study group -step 4 consisted of resentments, fear and sex. (and how to overcome said defects -I might add) In the 12 x 12 - the seven deadly sins were mentioned as examples »» pride greed lust anger gluttony envy sloth and how to overcome such defects through working the rest of the steps-and I will quote from the BB on page 164 »»» We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. And I do believe that the 12 x 12 is just this - more of a disclosure as is another text on steps 6 and 7 (Drop the Rock -for an example) than the two paragraphs in the BB on page 76. So-since "Sobriety" is the quality of being sober - being openminded to all information that leads to more inner happiness is a goal that is mentioned in the BB in Appendice II»» Willingness Honesty and Openmindedness are the essentials of recovery. So in conclusion »»» everyone have a super great rest of your Today as all there ever is - is Today. :D
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby ann2 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:53 pm

Welcome, Daave! Nice to read you, glad you found us! Thanks for speaking up.

Ann
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby 3puttjimmy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:33 am

Perhaps Bill used psychology in designing the Big Book version of Step 4. Much easier to get a defiant ex-drunk to identify resentments than admit to defects. In fact, my worst defects are often obscured by those "justified" resentments. Ironically, by the time he wrote the 12&12, Bill would have probably identified personal defects he may have originally dismissed 15 years earlier. That was certainly my experience. In fact, some of my current liabilities were thought to be assets when I did the 4th Step the first time many years ago. I was originally introduced to the steps through the 12&12, but with some sponsees more recently the Big Book seems to be the better way to go. No question that the 12 Traditions, which did not exist for many years after the Big Book was written, justify the creation of the 12&12. But I'm not positive that the 12 Steps needed more "fleshing out." The Ten Commandments haven't been updated, to my knowledge. The original, in some cases, may still be the greatest. The real benefit, I believe, is to periodically review my 4th Step for new insight and discovery of previously overlooked or un-considered defects. Those can then be brought into Steps 6 and 7 for removal.
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby PaigeB » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:07 pm

Welcome Jimmy. My sponsor used a combination of both books and so I do.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: 4th Step, Big Book or 12 x 12?

Postby Db1105 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:59 pm

I did a 4th and 5th Step from the Big Book with my AA sponsor, and a 4th and 5th Step with the 12 & 12 with my NA sponsor, but that was before NA Basic Text.
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