How did Step 4 of AA go for you?
Step 4 was an interesting journey for me. The first time I did it, I really didn’t have a concept of self honesty. The line … some of us are constitutionally incapable of being honest with ourselves … burned in my brain and in my heart. In my first attempt at the 4th step, I saw myself as the little white dove always being victimized. I took no responsibility for anything. I stayed sober, but I was not at peace.
On my second go at the 4th step, I was at the other end of the pendulum swing. I took responsibility for plenty of crap that wasn’t mine … the abusive parents, the violent ex, even the mean girls in high school. I thought of myself as the scum of the Earth. When I shared this with a sympathetic sponsor, she just looked at me and asked “really?” She was right, of course. I was not the devil incarnate.
Some time later, I decided that I really needed to do a fearless and searching moral inventory.
I accepted that there was a lot I couldn’t remember. I accepted that there were times when I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time … a side effect of my drinking. As the books suggest, I did an honest balance sheet looking at the good and the bad. With that sponsor’s help, I came to see that whether the times were good or bad, I always did the best I could. Sometimes that seemed woefully lacking, but the reality was that if I could have done better, then I would have done better.
I decided to resign from the “Miserable Society” and committed myself, as much as possible, to being happy. As the Promises say, “we came to see that no matter how far down the scale we had gone, our experience could benefit others.” That promise has saved my life and made all the difference in the world to me.
By the way, I pick up my 38 year medallion in 2 weeks :)