Category: 12 Step Information


“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Step four is an action Step. This Step grates on the alcoholic nature. We begin the process of reversing many of the survival behaviors necessary to sustain an active alcoholic/addict. We do no enjoy these self-destructive behaviors, but we have become accustomed to using them.

Made…This Step demands positive action.  It is not accomplished all at once, but gradually.  There are two theories about taking this step:

1.  Don’t take it until you are absolutely ready.

2.  Take it right away.

Possibly the combination of these two ideas holds more value.  Ease into it, remember to be gentle on yourself.

Searching and fearless means being as honest as you can be at the moment.  We are used to rationalizing, so sincerity is mandatory.

In doing a moral inventory we want to take advantage of our assets in order to work on our liabilities.  Our behavior indicates attitudes and personalities, but don’t get stuck in details.  Try to see through the phony behavior.

This is not an examination of conscience.  We are not only looking for sins and evil deeds we might have done in the past.  We are looking for personality traits and conflicts that cause us distress.

Inventory is from a Latin word that means to find. We are looking for character defects and shortcomings that cause us problems.

We are all endowed by nature with certain wonderful and powerful instincts; otherwise, we would not have survived.  Our problem is that in our disease we have exercised some of these instincts to the extreme, and it has become a way of life that we now see as destructive.  The Steps address these misdirected instincts.

Step Four is a vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been and are now.  By discovering what our emotional conflicts are, we can move toward their correction.  We cannot do this without taking a good look at ourselves.

The alcoholic cannot live with discomfort for great periods of time without eventually seeking relief in alcohol.

There are many ways to take Step four.  Do it in whatever way appeals to you.  Make sure it is written down, however.  You must believe no one will ever read it-not even when you do the Fifth Step.  It is the only way we can be completely honest with ourselves.

The Little Red Book Study Guide©1998 by Hazelden Foundation

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  1. Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking other members’ inventories?
  2. Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just for the sake of discussion,” plunge into argument?
  3. Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?
  4. Do I make competitive AA remarks, such as comparing one group with another or contrasting AA in one place with AA in another?
  5. Do I put down some AA activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that aspect of AA?
  6. Am I informed about AA as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can, AA as a whole, or just the parts I understand and approve of?
  7. Am I as considerate of AA members as I want them to be of me?
  8. Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behavior that bristles with hostility?
  9. Do I go to enough AA meetings or read enough AA literature to really keep in touch?
  10. Do I share with AA all of me, the bad and the good, accepting as well as giving the help of fellowship?

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We Admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.

Women may look at how the steps are worded and wrestle with the First step word, Powerlessness.

“The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. You can speak. What other animals on the planet can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is the tool of magic.” from the book “Four Agreements.”

Take the word Powerless, it is a force, a force that can assist you with recovery or hinder you, that is your choice.

“But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates a living hell. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love, and heaven on earth. Depending upon how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know. All the magic you possess is based on your word. Your word is pure magic, and misuse of your word is black magic.” (Four Agreements)

In the end, we come to believe we are powerless and in doing so, gain our power to choose. Choose whether to use chemicals, and how we hope to recover.

Hopefully the information in this blog will offer women resources and the discussion needed to go within and decide for themselves who, and what they want to be and how each woman wants her recovery journey to proceed.

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