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.


11 comments on “Using Step Four”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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