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Step 4 method-duration

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    Alcoholics Anonymous (first edition)
    Page 71
    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.

    This part here brings to some extent a “division” when talking about Step 4 at coffee, ( meeting after the meeting)

    First I’ll share what happened to me after several attempts at Step 4, between 1 week to 18 months sober.

    In the first week in AA, I simply had a meetings list and went to meetings, whatever was in time order.
    I was not told by anyone to do this, I just did it. No one told me about 90 days, I heard about it by going to meetings. I went to AA in blind faith during my first 3 months of being sober.

    There was a “Steps workshop”, each week they did the steps.

    When I saw these sheet the first time, it meant nothing. ( 3 weeks sober) but like hearing what was being said and read.

    Second round, about 6 weeks sober, I tried to do Step 4. Nothing, meaning I could not make a start.

    4 months sober, asked someone to my sponsor. His method was not like the workshop method, I thought it would be.
    12 months later I had to let that sponsor go, we were still on step 1.
    But I “got” the first half of Step 1, Powerless over alcohol…..,
    I asked a old timer how can I get a sponsor to take me through the steps?
    My sobriety at the time was waning, much frustration, arrogant etc etc etc.

    The old timer simply said, “Pray”.
    “How ludicrous”, I thought, but to be honest, that was the only option considering my personal circumstances.
    So, I reluctantly, Prayed.

    3 weeks later a friend in AA, we were taking the steps on a 1 on 1, new BB, first 3 steps in 1 week, a break and on with the 4th, and at some point during the process, hints of the 5th.
    I was resistant of doing all the 5th. Some of my 4th he knows not of it.
    14 months later we got to an end of this tedious journey.
    I had lost all hope of ever taking someone through the steps the way he did, and we both knew that the method he was shown might work for him, it worked for me, what did not work was duplicating what I was taken through.

    Although the compulsion to drink was removed. My BB, 12 & 12 was high-lighted at the the “key” sections, and I had stacks of folders with blank step 4 sheets of various types.
    I thought, there is no way I can do this and show another this mess also.

    By a quirk of fate, I was went to a BB weekend and was shown the early methods of the Step 4 inventory.

    Question is…..,

    Do some of you do the entire Step 4 inventory, even if it takes 2 years to complete before you move on to the remaining steps, or do you do it like it says, “grosser handicaps”, continue on to Steps 10, 11 and 12, but
    still do the minor handicaps forever?

    I AM aware Step 4 is before AA, and Step 10 is daily, during sobriety after arriving to AA.
    So in essence, if one lives long enough, Step 4 inventory,
    technically speaking , would some day end?



    Hey Pete!
    Step 4 … well, this is how it happened for me. I did the first one. Then I did another one. And about every 8 months or so, I do the worksheets/columns again, just to see if something else has occurred to me. One of the cool things I’ve learned is that I keep remembering stuff that I haven’t dealt with yet, and doing another 4th step with this “new” stuff – actually remembering “old” stuff – gets me cleared up again. And, just like the first time, I get that “oh yeah, that’s what that was about” feeling, and it inevitably gives me some insight to stuff that’s bothering me now. God is good like that – “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.




    good question

    yes I did step 4 before I moved on to step 5
    I did not do it piece meal intentionally

    on another related thought

    Pete,I got sober in 1988
    I did the best I could on step 4 and moved on(example 90 + names on my resentment/anger list)

    life got good and sobriety was fine…and then yrs later I realized I wanted to go back thru the steps at the deepest level I could find
    so I did
    now I see much more than I ever had seen before.( example 500 + names on my resentment/anger list)

    I have ran across quite a few AA`S who felt the same after various yrs of sobriety,asking themselves the question,is this all there is to sobriety?

    I asked myself that during and after 18 yrs of sobriety,and during those 18 yrs I had done many inventories and had actually been thru the steps many times but not at a very deep level.
    the way you described would probably be fine until you find yourself asking yourself…is this all there is to sobriety?

    many people come to AA and get into the steps and get better,and still cannot see down the road ahead.By what some people post on the internet,and say in meetings,they may seem to think they have arrived somewhere…..simply because they have took the steps and have “recovered” or whatever

    sure we have taken the steps
    we`re sober
    sure we have gotten “some better”
    had a spiritual experience or awakening cause of it
    but as the book says,we have only cleared the ground a bit

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