Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand...

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

Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Stepchild » Sat May 07, 2016 8:52 am

avaneesh912 wrote:So you have no resentments? No relationship issues? No fear?


leng12 wrote: For example. I don't talk to my alcoholic Mother. I also don't talk to my siblings as they gave me no support as a child suffering with our parents alcoholic madness.


That sounds like a great place to start.
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby leng12 » Sat May 07, 2016 8:57 am

I do have the above. I know they are an issue I need to address them to get well.

What does that have to do with being selfish?
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Brock » Sat May 07, 2016 8:59 am

It seems so vital to agree with these paragraphs before moving on.

Not necessarily, I think it's more along the line of willing to believe, then as you go along in the steps these 'defects' and so on become more apparent. Even in the Joe & Charlie tapes which many use to help understand the process, when it comes to things like listing people you should make amends to, they say have three lists, those you are OK with making amends to, those you might at a latter date, and those you never will. It is said that as we progress in the program, (”it is not an overnight matter,”), we will end up picking up the never list eventually. To me the same can work here, don't think you are selfish right now, well go ahead with the other things to write down, resentments you mentioned parents and siblings already, sexual harms you might have caused and so forth.
I'm about to do this again as Step Four/Five with my Sponsor (a non - professional).

I hope by this time you understand that you are looking for a spiritual solution, unlike with the professional, once you believe in a power greater than yourself you should do fine.
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby leng12 » Sat May 07, 2016 9:14 am

Thanks, Brock. Just what I needed to read. I'll do my best with Step Four and we'll just have to disagree about 'selfishness'. I'll put the last few days behind me and will just be firm with my Sponsor we're moving on with the work.

I do believe in God. I had no problem with Step Two/Three.
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat May 07, 2016 11:25 am

What does that have to do with being selfish?

If you are renting some space in your head (what they did to you, how they didn't help you blah blah) then its being self-centered. Bill W also uses another term for it. Being Ego-centric. Basically you are not present.
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: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby ezdzit247 » Sat May 07, 2016 12:46 pm

leng12 wrote:....I'll do my best with Step Four and we'll just have to disagree about 'selfishness'. I'll put the last few days behind me and will just be firm with my Sponsor we're moving on with the work.

I do believe in God. I had no problem with Step Two/Three.


Sounds like a very assertive and healthy decision. Good for you! At some point in time, a little further down the Road of Happy Destiny, you may or may not feel the need to to try to establish some sort of a re-negotiated relationship with estranged family, but for now, speaking as a fellow ACA and alcoholic, I think you taking care of you and your own immediate needs is a very necessary and healthy decision.

Keep coming back....
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Reborn » Sat May 07, 2016 1:46 pm

I may not be responsible for all the things that happened in my life but I am responsible(selfish/self-centered) for carrying those things and making them bigger than they are. The Big Book talks about these things being fancied or real...this means that I have my ideas about what happened and then there is the reality. The 4th step helped me find that reality and showed me just how selfish, self seeking, dishonest and affraid I really was. For example I had something terrible happen to me when I was a child...I carried that all my life and took responsibility for it...you see the Ego can tell us we're the best person...or that we're the worst person to ever walk the face of the earth. Even though I didn't cause the situation I CHOSE to carry it and take it out and feed it over and over. You may not think you're selfish now but if you're doing the 4th step throughly and honestly more will be revealed.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby ezdzit247 » Sat May 07, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi leng12

I just read today's Daily Reflection and thought it seems especially relevant to this discussion topic:

MAY 7th

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

Such parts of our story we tell to someone who will understand, yet be unaffected. The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 74

Respect for others is the lesson that I take out of this passage. I must go to any lengths to free myself if I wish to find that peace of mind that I have sought for so long. However, none of this must be done at another's expense. Selfishness has no place in the A.A. way of life.

When I take the Fifth Step it's wiser to choose a person with whom I share common aims because if that person does not understand me, my spiritual progress may be delayed and I could be in danger of a relapse. So I ask for divine guidance before choosing the man or woman whom I take into my confidence.


From the book Daily Reflections
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.


From what you've described, especially your being judged as "selfish", it sounds like your present sponsor really doesn't understand you or your ACA issues. Instead of toughing it out with this person, maybe asking God for guidance, direction and a little help in finding a more appropriate sponsor seems indicated.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby clouds » Mon May 09, 2016 10:01 am

What a great thread this is. Honest, experience shared. Understanding from the heart our comman problems.
I'd like to frame it. AA at work at its best.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Noels » Mon May 09, 2016 10:22 am

Hi Leng, try to look at it from another point of view for a minute - forget about the selfish or not selfish and look at the situation " as an outsider ".
I take it that you are an alcoholic, that's why you are in AA and doing the steps. Because you are working the program you have done doctor's opinion in the big book and realize that an alcoholic can not help drinking too much - that we suffer from a craving which kicks in as soon as we've taken the first drink. Apart from the craving we also have the obsessive mind so when we're not drinking we are possibly thinking of drinking? Youre still with me?
Okay, now, from your post I take it that your parents are alcoholics also? The difference possibly being that they did not at that time when their drinking career affected your life so badly understand alcoholism as you and I understand it today. That makes me wonder - have you ever asked them WHY they were drinking like that and didn't stop, are they STILL drinking like that or are they perhaps attending AA now and have or are trying to stop?
The reason why I'm asking you to look at it from another point of view is not to establish whether you are indeed selfish or self-centred or still deeply hurt or anything like that. I'm asking you to see that your parents possibly went through the exact same hell as you have and / or are currently going through?
The other question that comes to mind is - have you hurt anyone during the time you were drinking perhaps - not because you wanted to or planned it but because it just happened when you were drinking and you didn't know better at that particular time and was unable to stop until you walked through the doors of AA? The reason why I ask this question is because if you did hurt someone you will be asking that person or persons to forgive you when you do step 9 and you would like for them to do so because you will explain to them that you didn't mean it at that time and that you were ignorant about the fact that an alcoholic can not drink or behave like a normal person when we drink. So if you would like those people to forgive you on that basis shouldn't your parents and/or family get the same benefit?
If you don't want to talk to your folks or family that's all okay but in years time you may look back, they may all be gone and you will regret that you wasted all this time whilst you could possibly now have been working on having a good relationship with them all ?
Just a thought for whatever its worth
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Larryp713 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:35 am

Hi leng, I appreciate your honesty, but I must say that if you are going into a 4th/5th step convinced you are not selfish and self-centered, as I think most people (even non-alcoholics) are, than I don't know if you are sufficiently open-minded. It might be that you have a narrow definition of these terms. You can be a very giving and wonderful person and still be selfish in some aspects. For example, your expectations of your mother and siblings sounds selfish to me. It really does not matter what their part in the resentment is - if you are closed to reaching out and supporting your family, whatever that character defect is called, will probably prevent you from recovering.

And I know without reservation that working these steps honestly and thoroughly will remove your obsession to drink because it did for me. I never thought I could have that relief. Steps 4 and 5 were crucial to my recovery, and if I had already determined what my character defects were before sharing them with another, I would have not had the same relief. I wish you the best - Larry
Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny!!!
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby leng12 » Tue May 10, 2016 2:41 pm

I don't have any expectations of my Mother and siblings. I walked away from the madness to protect myself. Seemed the best option.

Thank you all for commenting. I think that's enough for this thread. Onward!
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Re: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby PaigeB » Wed May 11, 2016 12:13 am

leng12? Do you want me to lock the thread from further comments?
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: Chapter Five...Step Four...'SELF'...Help me understand..

Postby Lali » Wed May 11, 2016 6:53 pm

Hi, leng. You are the only person I have ever known, alcoholic or non, who is not selfish, nor self-centered.

This is not said with sarcasm; but to make a point because I think you may feel that you are being "picked on" or judged. There is no way a person could live an entire lifetime without selfish and self-centered behavior. I just don't believe it is possible. With step 4, if we want to do it right, we absolutely have to be brutally honest with ourselves. It truly is for your own good.

Today's reflection made me think of you and your post where you blame your family for what went on in your childhood. There must have been a reason I felt compelled to post the DR tonight! It says, in part:

"Whatever is done is over. It cannot be changed. But my attitude about it can be changed through talking with those who have gone before and with sponsors. I can wish the past never was, but if I change my actions in regard to what I have done, my attitude will change. I won't have to wish the past away. I can change my feelings and attitudes, but only through my actions and the help of my fellow alcoholics."

This is so true and so relevant to your post! I, too, grew up in an alcoholic household with a lot of yelling and name calling. I heard the word "stupid" more than my own name which caused me to do poorly in school. I was absolutely convinced that I was too stupid to make good grades so I didn't try very hard. Today I am able to place no blame on my family and it is such a freeing feeling. Truly, if I hung on to that stuff, there is absolutely no way I would be sober today. Resentment ate me alive my whole life. You have no idea how good it feels to be rid of all that. I wish that for you. I hope you can heal and move forward. You deserve that for yourself.

I really like the saying, "Resentments are like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die". Please do some soul-searching and give a lot of thought to this and see what you come up with.
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