Now that I had one, admitted I was powerless over my addiction, the biggest step towards recovery I could ever take in my life, I then had two, allowed that God could restore me to sanity.
As I have discussed in my earlier Hope Diary entries, this was a journey that took a couple of years to walk down. I was constantly battling with myself, thinking that I was my own god and my pride is what kept me bound to my eating disorders during that time.
Third, I had to finally give in to God and just say, “Lord, Your Will be done, not my own.” I learned that every time I found myself in a tempting situation to give into my addiction, I would surrender to God and pray that prayer. Many times I have failed and slipped into the addiction like a bad habit, and on those times I know better that as a Child of God I do not have to listen to the lies of the devil that I am a failure. I get right back up, learn from my mistakes, and do my very best to not repeat them from that moment on. I see myself as a victorious person now, not as a broken person like I did most of my life. That victim mentality is what used to hold me back and bind me in my addictions. It doesn’t serve me anymore.
The fourth step is one that I see many people afraid to take. It is where we take “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” (Life Recovery Workbook). We go through our entire life, even our deepest, darkest secrets. We list all of the people, places and things that we have fears, resentments, angers and sadness against. We look at our own character and evaluate our defects. What about ourselves do not add up? Are we selfish? Angry? Corrupt? Do we use people? Steal? Lie? Cheat? We go by a recovery program workbook and disclose our information with a trusted sponsor, friend, pastor, or someone that we feel we can go to in total anonymity and confidence. We understand that what we share will never be revealed to anyone else and that this is to help mold us into better human beings. We also take a look at our strengths, because it is not healthy to just mark our weaknesses. We seek to become stronger and wiser as a result of this process, even if it is temporarily painful.
If you feel that you would like to get started with your Step Four Inventory, but are unsure as to where to go to begin, I have provided The Life Recovery Workbook Inventory to help get you started. There was a great quote that was shared with me from the AABB that says, “We are only as sick as our secrets”. When I heard that, I realized that a lot of the shame and guilt that I was trying to bury all of these years was dying to be set free. Once I began to share my deepest secrets with my sponsor, I received God’s forgiveness and was truly able to allow for healing to start flowing through my body, starting from the innermost parts of my soul. I had never experienced such Grace and rawness before. It was as if I was free to be the person that God had created me to be! What a glorious concept. No more hiding!
Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions:
Coming Out of Hiding
1. When and in what ways have I led a “double-life”, looking good on the outside while full of shame about my addiction inside?
2. By hiding my problems with image management, how has my shame taken root and grown in my heart? Am I fearful to admit what is there?
3. Am I ready to deal with “the dirt”, to wash the inside so I can live free? What holds me back?
Facing the Sadness
1. What painful memories keep me from going forward in writing a Fourth Step inventory? Describe them.
2; What have I been afraid of facing?
3. What role has shame from past mistakes played in keeping me from starting and completing an inventory?
4. Does pride tell me that I don’t need an inventory? Have I told myself that others who are in more dire straits than I am are the ones who really need it?
1. What behaviors over my lifetime have been offensive to God?
2. What destructive habits need to be identified and confessed to God?
3. What blocks and resistances do I have to being honest with God about my wrongdoings?
4. What consequences from past wrong choices am I living with today?
1. Are there people in my family of origin whom I have blamed for my life situations and resulting addiction? If so, who?
2. What resentments do I carry toward them, even if unrelated to addiction?
3. What truly brought me into the bondage of addiction and dependency (what is my responsibility, my part in it)?
1. Is it easier to look at the faults and shortcomings of other people in my life, past and present (such as bosses, coworkers, classmates, church members, pastors), than to recognize my own?
2. What is the “log” in my eye, the blind spot that has caused me trouble and given rise to pride, finger-pointing, and eventually to addiction?
3. Where and when have I stepped on people’s toes and invited retaliation? Have I been proud, blaming, or tearful?
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
1. In what ways have I avoided facing my sorrow about how my addiction has impacted my life and the lives of others?
2. Am I willing to set aside time to grieve and allow humility to grow in me? When? What is my commitment to myself, my growth, and my recovery?
3. Am I bent on self-condemnation? Am I now willing to let God’s mercy go with me as I examine my faults and their impact on others?
1. Taking a moral inventory of ourselves here on earth will help to prepare us for the life to come. Is anything standing in the way of my taking action, such as pride or fear?
2. As I trust God in Step Three, am I able to let go of pride and fear in Step Four and allow His Will to be expressed through me? If so, write out a prayer of trust and willingness to complete Step Four.
3. Write down a list and description of resentments, fears, wrongdoings, and character flaws such as pride, jealousy, domination of others, self-centered needs/wants, etc. (Use extra space if necessary.)
Wrongdoings (i.e., what actions have I committed which oppose my own and God’s morals and values?):
Character Flaws (remember that honesty and humility are character strengths that we are building here, so be as thorough and honest as possible to move toward long-term recovery):
Where have I acted out of pride, vanity, or a sense of superiority?
Where and when have I tried to dominate others (e.g., at work, home, marriage)?
What makes me jealous, envious, or covetous (wealth, good fortune, successful kids, functional families, jobs, and/or positions of others)?
Where and when have I demanded that my wants and/or needs come before those of others, especially those of my spouse, children, or coworkers?
4. After careful self-examination, am I more convinced than ever that I need a Savior every day, not just for salvation, but to walk in freedom from addiction and sin? If so, write out a prayer to God that expresses your complete dependence upon Him for salvation and freedom.