Alcohol Anonymous Step 1- We are no longer in denial, we are able to admit that our lives were unmanageable because alcohol was controlling us, we couldn’t control it.
Alcohol Anonymous Step 2-In the second step we searched deep within ourselves and found our own higher power whom-ever or what-ever that may be to us that will give us hope, strength, and courage.
Alcohol Anonymous Step 3- With the third step we have to be completely willing to turn over the way we think (which has been negative) as well as our actions (which have been negative) over to our ‘higher power’ as we individually understand him.
The 4th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous helps us to get to the heart of who we really are. Searching deep within ourselves for the first time we are going to get a better understanding of how we think, how we feel, how we act, and what we believe. I love the philosophy of AA which is basically you can’t be happy and sober at the same time unless you’re emotionally sober. Just being physically sober isn’t enough, certainly not enough to be happy in your sobriety. This is where our Higher Power comes in. We pull strength from our Higher Power in order to honestly take moral inventory of our self.
If you think about it, being abstinent and physically sober means nothing and does nothing for us emotionally. The emotional part of us is what helps guide our actions and behaviors. Until we really understand who we are inside, what makes us tick, what our fears are and how our behavior patterns affect our life we can’t be emotionally happy, sober, and content. At this point until Step 4 is addressed and worked through we are really just going through the motions physically sober.
Step 4 takes time, a lot of honest soul searching, paper or a journal, a pen and your AA sponsor if you attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Your sponsor has already worked through the steps and can guide you through yours. If you’re not attending AA working through steps could be somewhat difficult. Alcoholics Anonymous helps you work through Step 4 by providing detailed directions for areas of your life that need to be recognized, examined and accountability taken for.
There are 4 parts to the inventory that you will be taking which are Resentments, Fears, Sex Conduct, and Harms to others. Thinking back on specific situations and people in our lives where there were anger and resentment is a way for us to recognize where our thoughts, fears, reactions, and attitudes may have caused problems in our life and kept us from succeeding. Once we recognize these personality flaws in ourselves and why we have them it’s easier to change them. You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. Our Higher Power gives us the strength to look deep inside as we take that moral inventory and take accountability for our flaws and our actions.
We can’t change others, we can only take responsibility for ourselves and change the way we think, behave and react. Letting go of resentments and finding our own accountability is definitely a step closer to healing.
Anger, hurt and resentment are deep heart felt emotions that when left un-addressed can control the way we think, believe and behave. Step 4 helps us to recognize how our reactions, behaviors and thought process has held us back and caused problems for ourselves and others. As we examine ourselves searching for times of anger, fear, and times we have harmed others in our life we also take a hard look how we reacted, why, who was hurt and what we could have done differently.
It’s important to let go of these feelings because holding on to them keeps you emotionally where you’re at right now. We can let go once we know what they are and how we ourselves could have changed them. There is no point in doing this moral inventory of yourself if you aren’t able to learn from it and let it go. That’s easier said than done though. Another thing that will hold you back is if steps 1, 2, and 3 weren’t completed. Sometimes people have to stop and go back to prior steps because there’s more work to be done than they thought and that’s ok. Alcoholics who fly through any of the 12 Steps is only cheating themselves.
There is no time-line or deadline in which the 12 Steps need to be completed. What’s important is that you attend AA meetings as often as possible and focus on the steps and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. There’s no need to hurry through a step and you’re only holding yourself back if you do. Each step is helpful and crucial to your long-term sobriety and happiness and without completely and successfully working them in your own time weakens your sobriety and can cause you to relapse.