Step 4

While I’m openly not a member of A.A. and don’t explicitly follow their steps, I think part of the difficulty I’m having in feeling like my sobriety is as productive as it could be is that I never did step 4 or 5 (or anything beyond that really but I feel that step 4 is especially important for people to do regularly, even those not in recovery). While listening to a podcast episode between Russell Brand and Jordan Peterson over the last couple of days, I’ve come to find how this may have made me stuck. You can’t fix your house if you don’t know what needs to be fixed in it. Today, then, I’m going to be making my moral inventory.

This is actually hard work. I mentioned to someone yesterday that your mindset doesn’t simply change over time by itself, you need to do real work to change it. Step 4 is part of that work… a big part, probably. To showcase just how difficult this is, I was going to include a short list of my character defects that I feel comfortable sharing in this post but I can only think of one that I’m not horribly embarrassed of (telling white lies).

Of course, part of this exercise is to think about events that happened in your day that made you angry or sad and so on and examine what part you had in those events. I think the point of that is to understand that we are at least somewhat responsible for everything that we feel and we don’t have to act upon negative feelings. If you lie to or insult some people, they may get angry and attack you back but if you do that to me, I curl up into a ball mentally and think “oh my God, they’re right”. Moral inventories are a way past this.

I just wanted to put this up quickly to hold myself accountable today because I want to get a great deal of a page filled before work is out. If I find enough of these defects that I feel comfortable with sharing, that will be tomorrow’s post.

4 thoughts on “Step 4

  1. Over the years, I have found it necessary to re-examine my defects through inventory, discussion, and amends. This house cleaning has been a blessing. The first inventory was overwhelming. I had a lot of garbage, secrets, and amends. A friend said we “uncover, discover, discard.” 31 years later, I realize I really haven’t discarded my defects of character, I have managed to keep them in check with the help of Step 4, 5, 9 and the Daily Inventory suggested in Step 10.

    Liked by 1 person

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