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 Step Four 
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:54 pm
Posts: 55
State/Province/Country: International
4. We made a searching and fearless personal inventory of ourselves.

Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:48 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:28 pm
Posts: 550
4th Step instructions, per Dallas B. set up from AA's Big Book:

http://www.step12.com/aa-files/4th-step ... ions-x.pdf

Resentment Worksheet:
http://www.step12.com/aa-files/4th-step ... ents-x.pdf

Fears Worksheet:

Harms Worksheet:

Sex Conduct Worksheet:
http://www.step12.com/aa-files/4th-step ... duct-x.pdf

I basically followed the Big Book's instructions during my first few years in AA. I have tried all kinds of inventories, from AA's Big Book, to Hazeldon's 4th step inventories, to NA inventories. All are good, all are wonderful. Each one brings out more "about me" than the one before.

I tend to do a 4th step every year, to kind of clean up more of my past resentments and fears. I use the 10th Step inventory (continued to take inventory) daily, and especially when irked or troubled.

When I first tried the 4th Step I didn't want to do it. I was afraid if I or you found out about the real me, I would be thrown in jail or a locked ward in a mental institution, and they would throw away the key.

But it wasn't like that at all. I look at it like a "fact-finding" and a "fact-facing" set of character traits that no longer work for me.

A really good guide, too, is listening to Joe and Charlie's guides in the entire 12-step program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlL6DWloEuI

Joe and Charlie lead you through all twelve steps. I went to one of their seminars and thought it was awesome.

Here is a short list of my early resentments:

First column [Who or What]:

Second column [What They Did]:
Stepdaughter is disrespectful
Husband is angry all the time
Mother is controlling and wants all of my time
Father isn't available, he's too busy drinking and taking care of himself

Third column [How Did it Affect Me?]:
Stepdaughter's attitude makes me unhappy; self-esteem; sense of self-worth
Husband's anger makes me feel unloved and unwanted
Mother's controlling disrupts my life, disturbs my self-esteem, sense of self-worth
Father makes me feel I'm not worth talking to; self-esteem, sense of self-worth

Fourth Column [What is My Part in It?]::
I allowed my stepdaughter to define my inner-self; to create my attitude
Husband's anger is his; I'm only responsible for my behavior
I allowed my Mother to control me and to take over my thinking for me.
Same with Father. I let him define me.

Fifth Column [What is a Better Way to Handle Column Four?]:
Stepdaughter: take care of my own behavior, be honest and act with integrity
Husband: leave the room when he gets angry; talk to him when he's calmed down.
Mother: leave the nest, I'm a grown woman with a family; my new reliance is on a higher power
Father: give him to HP; Dad can't handle these affairs

These are just examples. I wish I could say I immediately zoomed to the Fifth Column and got all my attitudes right, but it took time to process all of this. Step Four is just a start, but it's a good start.

We need to inventory those items in our attitudes that no longer work for us. Many of these attitudes have been learn as children growing up in dysfunctional families. Many of these attitudes were created just to survive. However, as adults, we no longer need these attitudes to run our lives because often these elements of our psyche are out-dated.

Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!

Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:58 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:28 pm
Posts: 550
This step separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls. It also takes great courage. Luckily, it's not about how "bad" we are or how "wrong" we are. It's really about knowing ourselves and starting a lifetime of honestly looking at ourselves the way we really are, not how we think we are or how we want to project ourselves to the outside world.

It's the first real step in real spirituality.

Let your past make you better, not bitter.
Don't Lose Heart. If your efforts are greeted with indifference, don't lose heart. The sun puts on a wonderful show at daybreak when most people are sleeping. Keep shining!

Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:59 pm
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 11:37 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Rockland NY
State/Province/Country: Rockland NY
Resentment is not having had one’s will in the past. Fear is being afraid that one won’t have their will in the future. Sexual misconduct is having one’s will.

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)

Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:17 am
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:28 pm
Posts: 11
State/Province/Country: East Coast
I'm currently working on this topic and don't have an ultra long list. I was told by my sponsor that he had hundreds of things listed, which was pretty intimidating since my list is closer to about fifteen items each. I suppose my list will become longer as I remember more things and run into people places or things in the future that cause resentment, fear, or result in me inflicting harm on another. Sex conduct isn't much of a problem for me since I've only been in one relationship that ended on relatively good terms. I suppose being a social recluse like I am tends to lead to a lack of competency in relationships =P I almost feel like I should substitute another category for sex conduct since I still think it will be a while before I'm ready to pursue a relationship (I still lack dating skills and am extremely intimidated by the whole process) Any suggestions on what I might be able to substitute?

Mon May 16, 2016 9:43 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
Someone whose addiction has latched onto drinking or drugging and is constantly out among other people while drunk or high is going to be racking up a long list of harms done and resentments, while someone whose addiction has him or her isolating in front of a screen constantly is likely to be generating a smaller list. Different people will come up with different fourth step lists. The important thing is to be thorough and painstaking. And it was fine for me that I forgot things and left them off my list. When I remembered them later, I took note and told my sponsor next time I saw him.

About sex conduct, I didn't need a separate list because the harms I had done I wrote down on my "harms done" list. I think the AA Big Book suggests a separate sex conduct list because its author had a long long list that was helpful to have separate.

Tue May 17, 2016 1:16 pm

Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:28 pm
Posts: 11
State/Province/Country: East Coast
Thanks for the suggestions Scott. Adding things if they come to mind and speaking to my sponsor about them makes a lot of sense.

Tue May 17, 2016 2:36 pm

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:21 pm
Posts: 147
State/Province/Country: NC, USA
Having a stressful week this week with a lot going on at work. Been absolutely crazy, running in circles with things and getting run down with a lot of unkind mental obsession.

Thought I'd take a break from work and get some lunch, then thought I'd take my Fourth Step notebook and do some inventory work and clean some of this stuff out. Something told me I feel better after I did. Sure enough, I did it and I do.

Just wanted to put a plug in for inventory work as a form of stress relief. Feels nice when I don't have to hold onto things all the time.

Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:09 pm

Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 2:38 pm
Posts: 85
My fourth step is pretty extensive, this is because there are many people I resent for many different reasons. I even included myself on this list.

The fourth step is a list of all the things we are holding on to that keep us using. It isn't a list of 'reasons we aren't perfect' or a guide justifying beating ourselves up. Instead it's a clear analysis of why we are hurting, and what we need to work on.

Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:37 pm
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