Apr 03 2013

Using Step Four

Published by at 7:57 am under Using the Steps

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

Welcome to Using Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps in Our Personal Lives from Al-Anon Family Groups. This is a series of podcasts to discuss how Al-Anon members use the basic principles of Al-Anon.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they used StepĀ Four to help them overcome the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

How to locate an Al-AnonĀ meeting

The following tags are aids to navigation for other podcasts in this series.


12 comments on “Using Step Four”

  1. Annonymous says:

    I am stuck on the 4th step yet. However, now a days when I find myself repeatedly becoming angry, resentful towards alcoholic, or criticizing others too much, or going into self-pity, self-criticism very often, comparing my inside with outside of others, I remind myself about taking the 4th step inventory, though I have not yet started taking it actively, but when I get this feeling that I am slowly becoming ready now to start my 4th step inventory, somewhere I get safe feeling, as I will do it under the guidance of my higher power. I also read Path to Recovery book side by side during these emotional upheavals and keep praying to my Higher Power to help me start taking my inventory serious rather than taking inventory of others or focusing on the shortcomings of others, which is my major sickness and I want to overcome it.

  2. kl says:

    I am writing on this blog for the 1st time. I have never lived with an active alcoholic, but my spouse has. Our son works a 12-Step program. I have not experienced his active alcoholism. My genealogy tells me that alcoholism is part of my heritage. I wish I could find more reading that relates to my experience.

    I do not attend meetings in my area, because it is a very small town. I do attend meetings when out of town. I am trying to learn on-line tools and phone meetings.

    I am doing the 4th Step as it relates to caregivers. Anger, hurt, fear, un-met expectations are my shortcomings. My strength is staying on an honest spiritual path. My desire is to houseclean all old fears, hurts, and un-met expectations. My humanness has limited me from this goal thus far. Old angers spew forth when a new anger happens. I hurt myself and another with my reaction.

    The above post is useful to me. I remember reading in our Conference Approved Literature about a grocer taking inventory of his store shelves — what needed to be reordered, what was in abundant supply, what was a good product and what needed to be discontinued.

    I tend to work exhaustingly on emotional work like the 4th Step. This time I am going to focus on this one shortcoming and this one strength. Without a sponsor available, I have shared this work with two others who are on a similar spiritual path.

  3. ang H says:

    When I did my AL-Anon Step 4, I was using the “Paths to Recovery,” Al-Anon literature to guide me. I read the book for about a month every day and one Saturday went to a meeting and decided to write it all down the next day. I couldn’t believe it Sunday morning I had left my book at the meeting. God is odd sometimes, but with the help of the meeting that I had remembered clearly because it had been very good and this web page, I think I did a better, maybe more personal and meaningful Step Four.

  4. Cathy B says:

    I am working Step Four for my fourth time. This time is better, since I am finally able to trust my sponsor, speak clearly, and finally able to trust my feelings. Growing up in an alcoholic home crushed my spirit. Al-Anon has helped me realze my worth, so this time through the Steps, I recognize that my good qualities are just as beneficial to my recovery and growth as correcting my flaws.

  5. J says:

    I’m on Step Four and I find that I am isolating more. I’m working with my sponsor and sitting with feelings. . .

    As “hard” as it is, what I hear is that this is not a pass-or-fail sponsor program. It’s a be-kind-to-J program and that Step Four is the if-I-delve-into-it-I-will-be-amazed. . .

    Living with active alcoholism so much of my life, I’m realizing that discomfort-with-comfort is becoming comfortable-with-comfort.

  6. Dianne says:

    The first time I did my Step Four was hard. I had to fight myself to be honest. I wanted to keep it as true as possible without exaggeration or without minimizing, but tried to avoid certain aspects of my life. I had several ah-ha moments, and several I-am-stopping-now moments. My Sponsor spurred me on.

    When I started on them the second time around, I was doing it alone. I pushed myself, and was brutally honest with myself. I never shared, but I learned to be more accepting of who I was, and worked on not beating myself up so severely.

    I am ready to work Step Four again. A lot has changed in my life. I really need to find a Sponsor to help me through it.

    Thanks! And keep coming back!

  7. Jenn S says:

    When I first entered the rooms, the last thing I wanted to hear was that I needed work. What was wrong with me? I’m not the alcoholic. I worked Steps 1, 2, and 3 really hard with my sponsor. I discovered my role in my dysfunctional relationship with the alcoholic. I became open to learning about myself. Sooner, rather than later, I began looking forward to working Step 4 with my sponsor.

    I am well underway and I have learned a lot about myself. There is still much more to be uncovered. This new understanding of myself has helped me with the way I act and react with my loved ones.

  8. Bruce says:

    Thanks to the ones who left messages before me, as I am just beginning my 4th Step, and I was inspired as well as informed by visiting this page. Wish me luck!

  9. KC says:

    I could see my big, glaring defects of character. It was those shades of grey I had trouble with–when was I excusing my anger, and when was my anger justified? Was I really reacting out of fear, or just out of habit, when my loved ones would upset me? Was my insecurity necessary or could I see my good points and restrict how often I felt paralyzed by it?

    Step 4 also brought me face-to-face with how much I avoided all conflict, and why. Then I could see my avoidance for what it really was, and start standing up for what I believed in. And now, many years and many sponsees later, I can see that these and many more such questions are core issues, and a loving sponsor/sponsee relationship is an absolute MUST to see through to the truth of how habitual my negativity, anger, fear and insecurity had become.

  10. Judy E. says:

    I remember reading in our Conference Approved Literature about a grocer taking inventory of his store shelves–what needed to be reordered, what was in abundant supply, what was a good product and what needed to be discontinued. To me that is exactly what I discovered when I worked on my Step 4. The first time I worked Step 4, my sponsor had me write a list of my defaults (that was easy) and had me write an equally long list of my assets and talents (that was hard!). I was always quick to criticize myself and others, but I rarely recognized my assets or gave compliments to others. I loved that this Step helped me find some balance–to recognize my defaults and to learn to appreciate my assets.

  11. Sandi C says:

    A lot of people say they are scared to start Step 4. I was elated when I got to it. It was long and tedious, but it helped me to continue on my path to put the past in the past and move forward in a healthier lifestyle.

  12. Rose M says:

    The first time I did the 4th Step I was with my sponsor. I was fearful. She pointed out to me that I had good qualities too. I needed to hear that. I also have done a 4th Step with other Al-Anon people once every other week using the Blue Print for Progress workbook. It was great to realize how the 4th Step brings out the honesty in each of us & gives me the courage to change.

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