What Good Does It Do to Dredge Up the Past With a 4th Step Inventory?

Step 4 – “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

The 12 Step recovery path unfolds in a gradual progression, from one state of awareness to the next. With Step 1, a person acknowledges drug addiction as the destructive force that it is.

Step 2 begins the acknowledgment of a Higher Power; a force that represents the best of who a person is. With Step 3, the decision to trust this Higher Power was made.

By this point, it comes time to start applying 12 Step principles to your life experience, which is where the 4th Step inventory comes in. Dredging up past wrongs and hard feelings may seem counterproductive to recovery, but it’s really not.

In effect, the only way to see the type of growth and healing that comes from doing a 4th Step inventory is to do a 4th Step inventory.

Please feel free to call toll-free at 800-781-0748 (Who Answers?) to ask about a possible 12 Step program rehab options.

Your 4th Step Inventory

4th Step Inventory

Doing a 4th step inventory can help you learn from past mistakes.

As one of the more difficult steps in the 12 Step process, the growth and insight that comes from completing a 4th Step inventory can be a real turning point in a person’s recovery path. Unless you take the time to identify the patterns and behaviors that took place before and while you were using drugs, it’s all but impossible to not repeat the same patterns in recovery, according to Mayo Clinic.

Benefits of Doing a 4th Step Inventory

Taking Responsibility

Taking responsibility for past wrongs can be hard for most anyone. In the case of the recovering addict, the pain and discomfort experienced serves an even greater good than just owning up to past mistakes.

In effect, doing a 4th Step inventory “cleans the slate” in a sense, breaking the hold addiction’s effects have had on your sense of worth and value as a person.

Aligning With Your Higher Power’s Values

While addiction may be the identified problem at this point in your life, it’s actually an outcome or symptom of underlying causes and conditions. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, feelings of resentment, pride and anger and the behaviors these feelings bred create prime conditions for addiction to take root.

By weeding out the negativity, it becomes that much easier to align with your Higher Power’s values and pave the way for a new lifestyle to emerge.

AA: An In Depth Look at Step 4

A Roadmap for Your Recovery

Once completed, the 4th Step inventory lays out the thoughts, motivations and actions that made you vulnerable to addictive impulses. Once you have this information in hand, it can serve as a roadmap for your recovery.

Knowing where the problems and danger areas lie can go a long way towards understanding your weaknesses, and also your strengths.


While the old saying, “no pain, no gain” may be a sports reference, but it applies just as well for the recovery process. For many in recovery, drugs and alcohol provided escape from painful emotions and difficult circumstances.

Likewise, overcoming the “need” for drugs means confronting the issues that fed that addiction.

If you’re considering 12 Step program treatment and need help finding a program that’s right for you, call 800-781-0748 (Who Answers?) to speak with someone.

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