with a moral inventory
Step Four of Alcoholics Anonymous says that we made a searching
and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Making a fearless moral inventory of ourselves can be a request
filled with fear. Isn’t it enough that we admitted to being an
alcoholic? It would have been so easy for me to move on and worry
about doing an inventory later. But the fact is that the steps were
written in the order that they needed to be taken.
With my new friendship with my Higher Power, I felt that I could do
anything, mainly because I wasn’t alone. So on to step four! Where
does a person begin when doing an inventory? The place to start
isn’t necessarily looking at how you hurt others. Doing the “outside”
steps will come in due time.
Step four is recognizing what’s going on in the “inside.” It wasn’t
about how I felt or maybe how I had been hurt. It was about me and
my personality. So naturally, I looked at my selfishness or self-
centeredness. I made a list of how this part of me affected my
relationship with others.
Looking at this list it was easy to start blaming others for the way I
behaved. Then I realized that by blaming others, I wasn’t accepting
any responsibility for my actions. This step was becoming an eye-
opener into who I really was.
My list continued to grow and how it affected my relationships with
others. There were my alibis, which always led to self-pity. With
those two I began to see how others knew I was a phony.
I understood that being a phony made it easy for my feelings to be easily hurt. And while I lived in this make believe world and
watch others around me succeed I became a very jealous person. As a jealous person there was no way I could trust anyone. Do
you see where I’m going with this?
All these defects of character feed off of each other until they become so strong – they become who you are. There are
supposedly 19 defects of character, I had them all. A perfect score on a test which I wished I failed.
But out of all these defects – one had more power then the rest. A destructive power which the others worshiped – resentment. A
pure evil defect of character. Its only purpose in my life was the destruction of others. That destruction could be physical and at
other times more mental, or even financial. That one negative personality trait of mine – resentment – was at the core of my
With what I learned through the first three steps and with my new Friendship, I realized I didn’t need to be resentful of anyone. We
are all the same in the eyes of God. We are all His children. I didn’t need to be the best at everything. Some folks can do things
better then me, but on the other side of that coin, I can do things better then others.
I don’t need to brag about it, just be thankful, that I was given the opportunity to find these gifts. By doing this inventory, not only I
was able to find the garbage, but I was able to discover the good.
I just needed to nurture these good traits and over time; the bad ones wouldn’t be so obvious. I’d always have them but now I’d be
able to recognize them before they raised their ugly heads.
Life began to rapidly change after I completed the fourth step. It was the first step where I began to concentrate on others instead
of myself. The reality was that no longer was I the center of the universe. But I was now hoping I could be a part of it.
|2019 means a quarter century of sobriety. With that in mind, we'll turn back time
and look at the writings that started it all - the 12 Steps.