The Big Deal About a Fourth Step
By: Design for Change Recovery
To become sober and stay sober, it is highly suggested that an addict or alcoholic attend 12-Step meetings. During a meeting, it is frequently heard to get a sponsor and work the steps of the program with them. It appears a simple task, but for many addicts and alcoholics it is insignificant. Why would they want to be vulnerable in front of somebody that they just met? Some would reply that working the steps with a sponsor is the difference between life and death because working the steps is learning how to live a new way of life
There are twelve steps in these recovery programs. Each step outlines a specific action to deal with the wreckage of the past. The fourth step suggests to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”. This inventory is to clean out all the skeletons in the closet that have been buried for years and contributed to our drinking and using. Addicts and alcoholics fight doing this step because of the guilt and shame that is associated with the things in the past. What they do not know is that the fourth step process will actually liberate them in a way beyond their conception. To complete an inventory, it is suggested to list out all resentments that the addict or alcoholic have had and honestly state how those resentments affected them. Next, they are challenged to find their part in these resentments. This is often the most intimidating part- nobody wants to take responsibility for what they believe they have no responsibility for. Sometimes, the only responsibility there is to take is holding onto a resentment for so long. Next there is a process of listing their fears to see where they were frightened because of the resented event. Looking at all of these components objectively, addicts in recovery are able to see where the energy and focus of their life has been and how they might start to get that focus back.
Therefore, the fourth step is an important part of recovery. It starts the process of being honest and gaining a moral compass. Everything must be laid out on this inventory, or the resentments and fears will remain with the addict or alcoholic perpetuating denial. Carrying around that extra baggage can be heavy on the emotional state of the addict or the alcoholic, which can be detrimental to recovery. Taking responsibility for their past and current behavior is vital to prevent relapse. This step helps addicts and alcoholics get to the root of many of their problems. The key to the fourth step is to be free of these unnecessary resentments that continue to plague the mind of the addict or alcoholic. Freeing up resentments from the mind of an addict or alcoholic can create more space for forgiveness and compassion. The hope of the fourth step is to gain peace of mind.
Hope exists in recovery. Design For Change offers a refuge for addicts and alcoholics to change their lives, one step at a time. For information on our 12-step based residential treatment program, student program, and other recovery services, call us today: (877) 267-3646