Step 4 is usually considered as the bogeyman by people who haven’t taken it. No, it is far from that. It is in this step that we start to digest large bits of truth about ourselves. This step takes courage and willingness to be successful. But we are not alone in our journey. We have the help of our sponsor and the support of the fellowship while taking this Step (and all other Steps!). We are no longer alone in that chilly isolation room of our alcoholism. The Higher Power is also supporting our earnest efforts in taking Step 4.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book states that if we omit this Step, we may not overcome drinking. For myself this is motivation enough to get on with this step and the others that follow after it. I truly wanted to stay sober in the beginning and if this Step was that important, I better get on with my due diligence in the program. I had caused a lot of havoc in my selfish and self-centered state of mind and had lots of work to do in this step. This step is to be taken in a timely manner, but not rushed as we might miss something important. If we do miss something we can always go back to our sponsor and share what it was that we missed. Step 10 also helps us to tie up some loose ends we may have missed in our first Step 4.
Step 4 as all the Steps are taken more than once in our lives and as we grow in sobriety. At around 35 years sober I had a memory pop up of some atrocious behavior I had perpetrated when drinking. I took this directly to my spiritual advisor. After sharing the situation with him he replied “you’re not that person anymore.” He was right. But still the guidelines of the Steps mandated that I share this information with him. And I was able to release the image of the event in my mind to my Higher Power. Maybe this situation can be used to help another person. Remember it’s not all about me anymore.
Step 4 deals with resentments, fears and sexual conduct. We put these things down on paper as directed by our sponsor. It may be difficult to do so but remember the Book tells us we are on a life and death errand. The Book also says that if we skip this step or half measure it, we cut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. If we harbor resentments the insanity of alcoholism will return and we will drink again. This was a great motivator for me in being thorough and honest as I could be in my first inventory.
The importance of a good sponsor who is well grounded in the Big Book is of utmost importance in taking the Steps. We want someone who has gone before us and has had a spiritual awakening as a result of all 12 Steps. This person is well equipped to handle our journey through the steps and the fellowship. Enough has been said. It is time for you to continue on in your journey through the 12 Steps. May the Higher Power bless you and your efforts to achieve sobriety.