I’m beginning my 4th step. It will be the third time I’ve done a complete 4th step. I think everybody should do one once every few years.
A lot of people think the 4th step is about revealing your sins. That’s a part of it, but it misses the point.
The 4th Step according to Alcoholics Anonymous is: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
An inventory includes both strengths and weaknesses, virtues and character defects. You look at yourself honestly. In the bible, in Romans 12:3, it says:
Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
In some translations it says to judge yourself using ‘sober judgment.’ I think that’s humorous as an alcoholic, but essentially it says to evaluate yourself fairly. Which is what I think a step 4 attempts to do.
I have a relatively new sponsor, and I trust her implicitly. That’s crucial for a good 4th step. Right now I’m in the ‘putting it to paper’ phase. She’s pushing me a long. I’ll admit, I haven’t put a lot of energy into getting it all down on paper. But I’m not dragging my feet because it’s too difficult.
We speak of ‘clearing the wreckage’ in AA. I think everybody has wreckage. Perhaps it’s more obvious in alcoholics. Maybe people like me need it broken down into easy steps. It gives us a place to start when the dust is starting to clear.
When I was active in my addiction, I went through periods of longing to have a confession. There was a lot of crap in me, and I had this feeling it would be a relief to get it out of me. I don’t know if that’s something other people experience, but I have found that sharing myself with someone I trust is not only very healing, but helpful in knowing how to proceed.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ro 12:3). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.