Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Step 4: Just Do It

I went to a good meeting today on Step 4. We read the chapter in Paths to Recovery and it contained many methods to taking one's moral inventory, making it a bit overwhelming. But there was one line I really liked from an Alateen sponsor: "Keep It Simple!"

It occurred to me that we in Al-Anon spend an awful lot of time on Step 4, often years, when it is really just one of the twelve steps. In that way, we seem to make it more important than the other eleven steps. And because we think it is soooo important, we get stuck on it, thinking it is tooooooo hard and we'll never be able to get it done.

There are those who go way back to the beginning and write about all the resentments they've ever had. I recently heard about someone with 600 resentments! What? The most I ever wrote were 60. But even that was way too much, especially since my Step 5 took two days. What my sponsor says is correct, in my opinion, that we really only have about ten main resentments that cover everything as we tend to meet and deal with the same characters and characteristics, including our own, over and over again.

My advice to sponsees now is to begin your inventory with what is going on right now. Deal with the present first. As time goes by, you can work your way back to your early childhood where your problems began. I found that this was more like "peeling the onion" because when I got to the bitter core, it was the incident and the person whom I first reacted to negatively. By then, I'd been going to Al-Anon long enough to be able to face this squarely and ask God to remove my continual reaction to it.

So this month, as I work Step 4, I'm going to "Keep It Simple!" I'm fortunate in that I've written a lot of Step 4's, so I don't really have a lot of stuff to dig up and dispose of. Yet, I still have some grievances and behaviors, especially my own, that I need to write about and then talk to my sponsor about when it's time to move on to Step 5.

I'll give myself a month, since my meeting works one step a month. Any more time and I'm holding myself back from the good God has in store for me.

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At Saturday, May 10, 2008 9:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurkdom for this post. I've not completed my 4th step yet. My sponsor has told me that as long as I'm still enraged, it's very simply not time. Over the last couple of weeks, the rage has subsided. I'm finding that God has blessed me with His grace in removing the anger in my heart and mind. That said, step 4 IS extremely overwhelming to me. Thank you so much for your suggestion of dealing with the present first. Sometimes I can be so s-l-o-w when it comes to "getting" normal behaviors. Just hearing this makes the step seem much more simplistic and doable. I love your blog! Thank you for sharing.



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