Big Book on Step Four | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 10

Big Book on Step Four

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    Why they failed 73:1-5

    Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their house cleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear: they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.

    This explains why we need to take all of the steps in order. As we work the following steps our understanding of the previous ones broadens and deepens. Picking and choosing which steps we prefer to take produces little or no results. This is a suggested program not a program of suggestions. Each subsequent step depends and builds upon our experience with each of the earlier steps. Few who have not admitted powerlessness will be willing to abandon their old ways of life and adopt a new one. Few who are unwilling to believe in a Power greater than themselves will decide to turn their will and life over to the care of God. Why do a moral inventory if we are not seeking to be rid of those aspects of ourselves that block us from God? What admission can we make to God, ourselves, and another person if we have not developed the insight to recognize the real problem? We need to take all the steps to successfully overcome alcoholism.

    The authors are being polite and trying to avoid making judgments of us. Let us not fool ourselves into believing that they are referring to someone else. Cross our the word “they” in every sentence and replace it with “I.” We need to learn the benefits of this way of life first hand. We need to have our own individual spiritual experiences. Practicing the fifth step enables us to directly experience this spiritually based way of life and to reap it’s benefits.



    Written inventory 75:3

    We have a written inventory, and we are prepared for a long talk.



    We have a list 76:13-14

    We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory.

    These are the directions for the eight step. We use the names from our fourth step lists, however, we may need to include others. We may want to examine our relationships with any additional people we add to our list in the ways we have learned in the fourth step. We have become willing to make amends to these people as we now can clearly see the harm we have caused.

    We falsely believed that by avoiding our responsibility to right our wrongs we escaped punishment for them. When we think of many of the people we have harmed, we feel the cringe of guilt and hope never to see them again. This self-imposed punishment is far worse than the humiliation or judgment from others we fear will receive when we admit our mistakes. The replacement of our fear with the feeling of release brought about by our amends is proof positive that this spiritual way of life works. This is spiritual experience that we can draw upon when faced with fear and doubt of what to do when we are in conflict with others.

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