AA: An In Depth Look at Step 4

Alcoholics Anonymous is a community support group that focuses on different aspects of recovery and helping others achieve them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the goals of any substance abuse program is to help a person who is suffering from addiction find normalcy in their life. Alcoholics Anonymous breaks this return to normal life into different steps. Step four is one of the key steps to recovery in the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

What is Step Four?

According to Alcoholics Anonymous, Step Four is to make a fearless moral inventory of yourself. In the Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book, this is described almost like a business inventory, but it is not that simple.

AA: An In Depth Look at Step 4

Step four helps your realize what encouraged you to start drinking in the first place.

The point of the fourth step is to look inward and inventory your weaknesses. This is not an easy thing to do. Recognizing your own flaws is actually very hard for most people. Most descriptions of step four suggest four categories. These categories are:

  • Resentments – these are people, actions, institutions, and other things that you resent. Why your resent them depends on their relationship to you. Remember this inventory is for you and it is important to be honest with yourself about what and why you resent these things.
  • Fears – these are things that you are afraid of. It does not mean spiders or snakes, but things that you truly fear in your heart. As with resentment, you want to add why you fear these things and what causes you to fear them.
  • Sex – this is more than just the physical kind of sex, but the problems you’ve had with relationships and sexual dealings in the past. You need to know why you did it and how you harmed those involved.
  • Harm to Others – these are people who you have harmed that do not fall into the above three categories.

Each of these lists should also contain a how and why. You do this because you need to know what motivated your alcohol use in the first place. All of these things contribute to alcohol use and abuse.

How does Step Four Help?

Step four helps by identifying the behaviors that you need to change in the future. Each person is different but the four parts of step four are common to almost all alcoholics. By looking at each of these character flaws, you can begin to correct them one by one. It takes an in depth look to truly change.

Once you have this inventory, you can physically quantify what you need to change to be free of alcoholism. By being thorough and complete, you have a tangible plan of things that you need to correct. You can start slowly working through the resentments, harms, and issues that step four points out.

For more information about Alcoholics Anonymous and Step Four or to find a 12 step program that will work for you, call us at 1-800-895-1695. We can help you find the program you need to discover your path to recovery.

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