Moral inventory comment...

For recovery discussion
Post Reply
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:38 am

Moral inventory comment...

Post by shimmer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:24 am

I was at a meeting the other day, the topic was complacency, this guy was commenting completely off-topic just ranting.

He got on the subject of moral inventory at some point, and he said that in the book it says somewhere that you only have to write like four or five of your most glaring resentments.

I got a little upset, there were a lot of newcomers there, people without a thorough knowledge of the book, people that probably have yet to have done a fourth step or are on it right now. I have kind of became a stickler for following rules/etiquette at meetings, so I didn't cross-comment even though I wanted to, I just stuck with the topic at hand.

I have a pretty decent knowledge of the book, I've read through it quite a few times and have studied it in detail, I was pretty sure the book did not say that, but wasn't 100% sure, so I didn't approach him about it. I came home and reread How it Works, I didn't see that anywhere, in fact it actually says "If we have been thorough about our personal in-
ventory, we have written down a lot.", which is quite the opposite of what he said.

Does anyone know if the book says anything remotely close to what he commented?

This comment was made by a longtimer whose word is seemingly respected by the recovery community here, pretty sure he sponsors people and stuff as well.

What would you do in this situation? Would you approach him about it? If so how would you go about it? I will see him again.

I wanted to do it after the meeting, but I didn't have all of the facts, plus I only have eight months and this guy has years and I was way overdressed in a somewhat flashy suit and stuff and didn't want to come off as arrogant or like I was trying to one-up him or anything, but it just has been kind of getting to me that he is giving potentially harmful info to newcomers.

User avatar
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5170
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:06 am

It does say, we just make a beginning. No numbers in specific. Its all upto the individual. He maybe talking about putting down the top resentments that is currently eating the individuals energy and blocking him/her from their higher power. You never can tell. Maybe you can have coffee with him and get this clarified. Maybe for some its a one time deal for me it took several rounds. But I was plugged in. My fear was that my obsession would return and I did everything my mentor requested me to do. Its all about experiencing that space where we get a glimpse of the power. After that we grow spiritually, more clarity comes in. Looking back at my life, I could now see how my HP was there in all the turning points. Early in my sobriety I couldn't have seen that.
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)

User avatar
Trusted Servant
Posts: 3963
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Brock » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:27 am

I agree with shimmer, I can't find anything in the book indicating we just write down the top few resentments. If someone is writing stuff that seems silly to hold a resentment for, Billy pulled my hair on the school bus sort of thing, yes I don't see the need to go back that far, but it should include everything within reason, and the only person to really determine that is the person writing it.

Maybe he feels like some do that we will be doing this step again, something which we have discussed before. I came down on the side which says it's a one time deal but we “continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.” Some of us also pointed to where it says... “confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation'.” Consummation meaning done and finished task complete, and for the new folks in the group that would be better news, since they are probably very nervous about this step to begin with, (at some of these we balk).

Maybe you should just in a polite way ask him to show you where it says that in the book, it's frustrating when new people are getting mixed messages in a meeting, and makes a sponsors job harder, the sponsee might say 'but so and so said this and he has many years sober,' that's why I agree to sticking to what the literature says. Thanks for the topic.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

User avatar
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:45 am
Location: France

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by clouds » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:31 am

I'm sure there is no limit on the number of resentments we may write down when doing the fourth step. I'm sure there has not been anything written in any AA aproved literature about the number of resentments we should or shouldn't write down when writing a fourth step inventory.
" 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.

Forums Long Timer
Posts: 501
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Reborn » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:33 am

Big book of. 72 and 73

Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.

This is the only place in the big book that even comes remotely close to what this guy was saying...and this is about the 5th step
I have encountered these types of 'oldtimers'...seems like they haven't looked at the book since their sponsor made them. I would do as Brock suggested...ask him to show you in the book what he is talking about...10 to 1 he can't.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132

Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1669
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Layne » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:38 am

Would approaching him, change him?

Would approaching him, change you?

Would changes be positive?

User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3676
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Blue Moon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:59 am

shimmer wrote:I was at a meeting the other day, the topic was complacency, this guy was commenting completely off-topic just ranting.
This reminds me of a meeting I once attended where someone claiming over 20 years' sobriety was banging on about never having taken the Steps. A sponsee and I were talking about this afterwards, he asked me about the comments, and I basically said "if you want what he has, do what he did". That line alone was enough to convince the newcomer... rarely have I seen someone become so keen to work the program.

Newcomers are not stupid. Misinformed, perhaps, but we generally know either what we want, or what we don't.
Does anyone know if the book says anything remotely close to what he commented?
It doesn't. The book emphasises again and again that only thoroughness and rigorous honesty will count. It just says we don't have to do it perfectly.
What would you do in this situation? Would you approach him about it? If so how would you go about it? I will see him again.
I find it a waste of time to try convincing an alcoholic of anything. I share my own experience. When I disagree with someone in a f2f meeting, I normally don't contradict them directly, but anyone paying attention will soon pick up on the differences with what action I took and the outcome I experienced. Anyone who's not paying attention probably wouldn't have heard it anyway.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

Forums Contributor
Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by tomsteve » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:05 am

We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.

what I would do is comment with what my big book says

its people that throw out information like that that convince me there is a different big book than the one I have

User avatar
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 702
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: In The High Desert of California

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Roberth » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:38 am

Hello shimmer. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. What I think I know about the big book and what I actually know are 2 different things. I spend my first 7 and a half years going to a book study and I learned just enough to be wrong.
I love people who quote the big book. When I think they are wrong it sends me straight to the book to prove them wrong. The funny part is that 9 times out of 10 we are both wrong.
I knew a guy the use to misquote the book on purpose just so people like me would go in and look up what it really states.
I am wondering if there was anything you spotted that you looking at differently when you went back and re-read chapter 5.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in pretty, well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW What a ride!!!!

Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:38 am

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by shimmer » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:48 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses.

At this time I'm not gonna do anything, if it happens to be brought up around that person again I'll say what I have to say, beyond that I'm just letting it go.

And I can't say anything in particular stuck out to me in How it Works this time as opposed to other times I've read it, I went through it pretty fast and I've read the chapter a million times before. I have a vastly different understanding of it as opposed to the first time or two I read it though.

Doddering Moron
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:41 pm

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by Doddering Moron » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:16 am

A person with less than a few years dry will have plenty to recall when taking with his sponsor or confidant. Don't write down about misdemeanors or names when your hungover. Don't be in a hurry to trust some cop who infests the Alano club. Gossip murders...

Forums Newcomer
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:04 pm

Re: Moral inventory comment...

Post by ChargerGal » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:13 pm

It seems each individual should be guided by their sponsor regarding the resentment listing and moral inventory. This is such a personal step it cannot be a one size fits all definition other than an honest and rigorous look at ourselves. I work with my sponsees in this manner following the suggestions in the Big Book.

Post Reply