editorial on the 4th step

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editorial on the 4th step

Postby Karl R » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:31 am

A nice brief article from 1945 on the 4th step.

Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. (February 1945 vol 1 no 9 ). Reprinted with permission.

enjoy.
Karl
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Editorial:
On the 4th Step
Since I cannot speak for anyone else, I'll have to make my experience with the 4th step autobiographical. Before A.A., I tried almost daily to stop drinking. I hated myself constantly. I could not understand why such a wonderful person as I was would do the things I did. I was in a constant state of mental turmoil and misery, and I knew that I could not handle liquor.

On coming into A.A., I had already taken the 1st step, but the 2nd and 3rd steps were discouraging, as I had no faith in a Higher Power. I tried to believe, and would have gladly forced myself to do so, were that possible, because I really wanted to succeed with the A.A. program. However, I skipped over these for the moment, as I was advised to do, and went on to the 4th step. . . .

I tried to make a "searching and fearless moral inventory," and discovered that it was difficult to push my pride and egotism aside sufficiently to get a better view of myself. My first attempt was neither searching nor fearless, but it was a very important start, and I developed and revised it over many months. During this time, I began to see myself as a person who was riddled with resentments, selfishly expecting life to treat me well; a super-sensitive person always inclined to feel hurt about everything that was not to my liking, and intolerant of any opinion differing from my own. I began to see that my thinking was based on fear and vague worries. I saw more. I realized that this very special person I had imagined myself to be could do nothing directly against the power of alcohol. But I began to see how the person I was beginning to understand could outflank old John and attack the cause of the drinking.

For years, I had wanted desperately to do something about my drinking. This, I knew, was impossible. But the 4th step taught me that I could do something about the cause of my drinking. By trying to do something about myself, I found that I did not need to drink. The 4th step showed me what was needed to be done. Without this knowledge, I doubt if sobriety would have been possible for me. The 4th step is just that important.


Richard S.
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Re: editorial on the 4th step

Postby leejosepho » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:17 am

Karl R wrote:A nice brief article from 1945 on the 4th step.

Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. (February 1945 vol 1 no 9 ). Reprinted with permission.

enjoy.
Karl
___________________________
Editorial:
On the 4th Step
... the 4th step taught me that I could do something about the cause of my drinking ... showed me what was needed to be done.

Same here, and Step Four is really quite simple. First we find "the key to the future" (page 66) by learning how to get a new attitude toward others who have hurt us, and then we continue on to discover and address our own defects of character that have led to our harming others ...

... and thus can our matters of resentment and shame over which we used to drink be completely resolved!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: editorial on the 4th step

Postby KeyLimeMike » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:18 pm

Step four for me was that fact finding mission I should have taken long before I did. But how could I. For me the facts were nothing more than fiction. I had to put them on paper to see them, to see the truth. It wasn't easy. Fear was the emotion that stuck out the most, and most of my fears were not based on true facts either they were manufactured by years of built up resentments. Old resentments rarely even come close to the event that created them by the time I took a good honest look at them. WOW. Rampant reality, free flight from the truth, the truth was how I saw it, and they were based on my emotions. My emotions rarely reflected the truth. Mountains of molehills. Take step four and see the truth, it aint gotta be perfect, just has to be started and then finished to the best of my ability at the time. Step 4 means much more to me today. I do step 10 everyday, nowhere as perfectly as I would like but I am willing to look at myself to do my best to see my part and the truth. Then I discuss what i find with someone else. I just may stay sober one more day if I keep this up.
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Re: editorial on the 4th step

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:55 am

Good topic.

Seems there's an awful lot fear going into Step 4 for some, and I don't understand it at times....

If my car if not running properly, the first thing I need to do is to record the signs & symptoms... even if I am ignorant of mechanical things, I wouldn't drop it at a mechanic's shop with given them some kind of description like 'it's leaking, making this or that noise, smoking, or not doing anything'... those are the symptoms.

Taking the 4th Step with my sponsor, he reminded me that I asked for help because my life was a mess and my drinking out of control... in short, I was broken. AA helped fix him, and it could fix me, too.

The inventory was to put down on paper any thing and everything that might had led to my being 'broken'. Following the Big Book's outline, this feel into 3 categories of Resentments, Fears, and Sex.

A change came over me as I dropped the word 'blame' from my speech as suggested and resolutely looked for where I had been wrong during the Resentment part... in doing so, started to realize that I had the power to change... It was a leap from playing the Victim with situations and others always at fault, and becoming a Volunteer in my life.

Any fear I had at taking a honest look at ME dissappeared as I wrote, and the 'promise' of Step 5 that 'the feeling the drink problem had disappeared' motivated me to finish.

Fortunately, this was the beginning of the last time I would suffer that awful compulsion for a Drink... There may be an occasional thought for Alcohol is a Subtle & Insidious Foe... Or as I've heard, "I might be done with the Drink, but don't know if the Drink is done with me"...but nothing intense or scarey as what I had before working those first 5 Steps.

I'm a Free Man today as I haven't HAD to wimp out or cave in to that Fatal First One no matter what.

Grateful to AA and those who helped me get & stay sober.

Thanks... Tommy
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: editorial on the 4th step

Postby Brock » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:56 am

Tommy-S wrote:
Seems there's an awful lot fear going into Step 4 for some, and I don't understand it at times....




I myself had a good deal of fear going into #4, which caused me to delay this vital step for over one year after joining. It was not so much a fear of this step as it was of the one after, telling someone my “secrets” was not something I wanted to do. In retrospect being afraid seems silly now, the process of these two steps were far easier to do than they first appeared, and the rewards I gained were worth a million times more than the effort required, and every day brings new rewards.

As Tommy said the “subtle & insidious foe” does raise his head again on rear occasions, like a fighter who is beaten trying to get back up, I used to feel like the book says recoil as if from a hot flame, now it is more like a chuckle and wonder where that thought came from, but it is very rare these days and the thought is gone in a matter of seconds.

For me it is frustrating when you hear some folks in meetings, who have been there a year or more say they have not “completed” this step yet, because they want to be thorough. As KeyLimeMike said it does not have to be perfect, and my experience is once you start writing it just all comes out. I say in meetings and will say here, that anyone who is holding back on this step is missing out on the promises the book speaks of. I once asked someone to just write the name of the last person who pissed you off, then what they did and how it affected you, and what part you may have played or how you might have handled it differently. This was done in a few minutes and we discussed it, right away the person started smiling and said they now get the idea, within two weeks they then completed 4 & 5. I find now it can be done without paper, if someone or something is getting me upset a mental version of 4 is done, if necessary I discuss it with someone and the problem has disappeared. This is step 10, and I found it came automatically when I realized the benefits to be gained in 4 & 5. My wife commented the other day that she couldn’t remember the last time I raised my voice, and those who know me consider this a miracle. Anyone who is holding back, please do this step ASAP.

Brock.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: editorial on the 4th step

Postby harry71 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:31 pm

I think Brock is right. People get ahead of themselves and worry about Step 5. My sponsor and I did 3 and he handed me a pencil and paper with my name on it and said in two weeks we will be ready for step 5 get started. Every day he would ask how 4 was coming along. Worked for me. I was ready in a week just to shut him up.
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Re: editorial on the 4th step

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:41 pm

I was desperate to do Step 4... It was where I had relapsed in the past. My sponsor had to set a date for Step 5 to get me to admit that I was finished with it, being thorough and all.

Inventory - I used to work at an auto parts place and we had to do inventory. We had to close down and do it through the night - counting nuts and bolts and straightening it all out on paper. The paper said we had 10 of the 1/2 inch bolts, but in reality we only had 5.

The purpose is to know what you have, what you need to get and what you need to get rid of. :arrow:
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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