Step Four Myth Buster
Myth #1 “Writing a 4th step takes a Long Time.”
I began my first 4th step with gusto, and then proceeded to ignore it for 3 months. Whenever someone would ask what step I was on I would tell them step 4 and then make a very sincere face implying, “And you know how hard that is.” I was trying to make a marriage work that had been severely damaged by my alcoholism. I was a mother to a 3 year old little spitfire. I complained of that anxiety we suffer from early in sobriety. Deep down I knew the truth, I wasn’t really writing my 4th step. When that situation became painful enough, I committed to writing for at least 20 minutes every morning, and it was done in 10 days.
Myth #2 “I already know what it’s gonna say anyway.”
The Big Book says writing an inventory is a fact finding and a fact facing process. This means I actually don’t know what it is going to say before I write it. It is an effort to discover the truth. When I wrote about my sister who is a heroin addict, I thought I knew exactly where she was wrong. It’s not hard to find fault in a junkie. However by the end, I was writing with teary eyes, because I realized I was guilty of the same stuff I had condemned her for. She approached me with her dark sunglasses and slurring words. I greeted her with arms folded across my chest and the word “No” at the tip of my tongue, just waiting for her to ask me for money. I was scared of her and she was scared of me. Had I not asked myself, “Where am I selfish, dishonest or afraid?” I would have continued to shut her out, believing it was all her fault.
Myth #3 “I am entitled to postpone writing my 4th step because I am too fragile to look at that stuff right now.”
I don’t know where this attitude comes from. Because I was serious about recovery, it was not enough for me to sit in meetings and ride the fellowship wave. I was motivated to take the steps because I was fragile, because my reality was nearly unbearable. We do each other a disservice when we cottle one another. Our unity comes from faith in a common solution. On page 64 directly after the third step prayer it says, “Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.”