“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. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four.”
My goodness, this step four work is hard.
I didn’t come to A.A because I wanted to, I came because I would do anything to ensure that my son would not be removed from me. I came because I was looking for a character witness, to assure the court and magistrate that I was no longer drinking. Within a couple of weeks, it turned out that the police decided to merely give me a caution. I then realised that I was no longer in a place where I was coming to A.A to stop drinking, I started coming because I wanted to stay sober. I wanted to have what I saw in the rooms; a happiness, a contented life.
When I discovered that I no longer felt I needed to come to pay lip service but in fact, I wanted to come, something changed. I found myself a home group, I got myself a sponsor and I started doing service.
Through my meetings with my sponsor, I started doing the Joe and Charlie Big Book study. By this time I had read the Big Book cover to cover a couple of times with not much really sinking in. I had been confronted with the 12 Steps at every meeting. I still thought my drinking hadn’t harmed anyone but myself, not really.
Slowly but surely I became aware of how wrong I was.
For me, it would seem that my life has been pretty much run on fear. Fear of failure, fear of other people’s perceptions of me, fear of abandoment, fear of losing the two people most precious to me, fear of losing control (the irony of the fact I always lost control when drinking is not lost on me), fear of not meeting expectations and the list goes on. Intertwined are my defects of character; I am a control freak, I can be quick to lose my temper, I am selfish, dishonest. On the one hand I am looking forward to asking my Higher Power to remove them all (and that’s key isn’t it, I have to be willing to have them all removed) and yet I am scared. Scared because I believe that many, if not all, of these defectives protect me from hurt, from making myself vulnerable.
Yet, I am only on Step 4. For now, all I have to do is write the list but I can’t seem to stop myself from fast-forwarding, my head probably making things worse than they will be. Another defect of character of mine; imagine everything to be impossibly worse than it needs to be so that I protect myself.
Making my lists of resentments, fears and harms has been hanging over me for weeks now and I seem to have become something of an expert at procrastination. My meeting last night has inspired me and today I am determined to get down to business.