Step Four: Being sure we have been thorough

If we have been thorough about our personal inventory…”
(“Alcoholics Anonymous“, page 70)


1) “…we have written down a lot.
2) “We have listed and analyzed our resentments.
3) “We have begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality.
4) “We have commenced to see their terrible destructiveness.
5) “We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people.
6) “We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.”

Just as while developing a desire to stop drinking because we had lost all control and alcohol had been killing us, we began Step Four in need of being freed of anger and resentment leading us back to drinking.  Having completed Step Four, we now understand why our very lives actually do depend upon “Constant thought of others and how we can help meet their needs”, and we now have a list of people who will be some of the first to experience our practice of new ways.

“In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him.” (pages 70-71)

How does Step Four help convince us that God as you understand God truly does have a better way for us than our own, and that He both can and will remove from us whatever self-will has previously blocked us from experiencing, offering and sharing His very best for all people?  If you have not already tried a bit of “the key to the future”, here it is once again:

Resentment Prayer Purpose

Resentment Prayer

“If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning.  That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.” (end of Step Four)

Many of us have heard people talk about whether we alcoholics are bad people needing to become good, or just sick people in need of getting well.  We have sometimes wondered about those kind of things ourselves, and we now believe Step Four has helped us sort all of that out.  As shared in our Basic Text: Spiritually sick people commit wrongs and harms against others, and that is bad.  So for our own bad actions to be replaced by good ones, we suffering alcoholics, and just like any other spiritually-sick humans, needed to discover and to learn to live within spiritual wellness.  Pretty simple, eh?!  And of course, and as variously described in whatever words, all of that is what all the Steps are all about:

“A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” (Forewords to “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions“)


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