A Fourth Step list reveals reasons for past bad behavior
FROM the day I attended my first AA meeting I knew that the key to my survival was that I had to change, both attitudes and actions.
My original home group’s format was a three-week rotation of Step, Tradition and discussion. Keeping in mind that I needed to change, I started working on the Fourth Step. I wrote my inventory with absolutely no fear; this was going to be an investigation of my behavior that would be used to keep me from repeating my pattern of being just “between drinks.”
Being Catholic, I understood the benefit of confessing my sins, so I started a laundry list of bad attitudes and bad actions. Among these was the definite example of a really bad attitude and somewhat messy action–I’d thrown a pie in my brother-in-law’s face. Thinking that examples like this were all that was necessary to complete the Fourth Step, I felt that I was making remarkable progress and was all ready to take my Fifth Step.
But before I announced to my sponsor that I was ready to sit down and tell her my list of “sins,” I had one of those “light bulb” moments. The Fifth Step wasn’t confession as I used to do it: confess, be absolved and then feel free to do it again. This was the time to analyze the “why” of the action. It’s not that I threw the pie; it’s, why did I throw the pie? Utilizing the honesty I was learning day by day, I saw clearly that I had thrown the pie because I resented my brother-in-law. He knew an alcoholic when he saw one, and I was so busy keeping it a secret that I feared he would share his opinion with the whole family (as if they didn’t know). Having this fear and resentment only brought on tremendous self-pity: “Oh, poor me, why do I have to put up with this miserable individual?” Resentment, fear and self-pity: these were “the exact nature” of my wrongs. Finally understanding the purpose of this Step allowed me to review everything on the list and examine the motive behind each action or attitude.
I had heard that if I didn’t take the Fourth and Fifth Steps I could get drunk again. Now I understood; if I didn’t take those Steps, I’d never get that personality change necessary for recovery.
BY: Carol K. | Sarasota, Florida
“Why I Threw the Pie”. www.aagrapevine.org. 2010. https://www.aagrapevine.org/magazine/1980/jun/step-month. 5 Apr 2021