(Reflection courtesy of Bill M)
For me, Step Four (made a searching and fearless moral inventory) helped me understand the causes and conditions that kept me blocked from my spiritual life and other people. What in my life made drinking a solution? This was not therapy, although therapy is a valuable tool. This was not self knowledge. Knowledge never kept me sober. This was simply a fact finding and fact facing process that lets me proceed to the next steps. I followed the example in the big book on page 65 as my sponsor directed. This was part of turning it over from Step Three. I had become willing to follow directions.I didn’t wait until I understood step four. I did step four and then I understood it. This was the start of a life long practice.
I wrote my resentments down on paper as I felt them at the time. The act of writing made the resentments “stop moving”. They became concrete so I could see them for what they were in time for Step Five. I kept it short, but I was as thorough as I could be at the time. I didn’t wait until I was fearless. I acted as if I was fearless. Moral is derived from the Latin mores, which is habit, custom, or manner. (Sorry, but I don’t get to use my four years of high school Latin often.) This was an inventory about my habitual thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. As I wrote I started to see patterns.
When I was done I had a clear picture of my past and my present actions. I was ready for Step five.