We avoid the Fourth Step. We put it off. We’re scared of what we will find inside of us. We may find out we’re mean, angry, selfish, afraid. We might see how badly we’ve acted to others, to ourselves. We have all these things inside us. We also have love, trust, faith, and hope. We love art, music, nature, or sports. We have power to heal, and we have used it too. The Fourth Step helps us to know our inner power. As we learn about our own power, we can use it carefully, on purpose, to do good.
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?
We must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to ourselves and to others. After we making our review, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
I believe all my needs have been met. I have food, water, clothes, a home and a car. It is my desires that are not being fulfilled, and I know why. I have not defined my desires, and do not know what God has in store for me. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and living one day at a time. My journey has been planned by my Higher Power, and it is my job to remain open and accepting of the path that God puts before me. I try to focus on doing what is in front of me to do. I have not been open to new ideas lately, instead I work to remain on the path that has led me to my sobriety and recovery.
I love the diversity of the members in A.A. In any given meeting I am bound to hear someone speak about an issue that I am perhaps experiencing. We learn from each other, I listen closely to those who have “walked through” problems and issues that I can relate to. In the Program we are blessed to have the Steps as a guide to resolving challenges to our recovery. Most of us understand the basics of recovery through A.A. – go to meetings, work the Steps, get a sponsor, and find the God of your understanding. I’ve heard it said that first we come, (we walk through the doors) then we come to (we begin to hear the words which are spoken), and finally we come to believe (in a Power greater than ourselves). That’s basically known as Steps 1,2, and 3. But don’t stop there Step 4 is a powerful and revealing Step to recovery and one that will set you free – free to be blessed with all who share this wonderful program.
I honor myself when I acknowledge the gains I have made, when I look back and compare myself now to back then. I have changed, I have made some progress on this path to recovery. I am a work in progress, but there has been progress from “then” to “now.” My efforts have not been in vain, my life is better because of the changes I have made with the help of my Higher Power. Today, I try to work in concert with God and the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Together, the three of us and my efforts – have given me the focus, the courage, the strength, and the knowledge to go forth in faith that I am on the right path, that change is possible and my life can be all that I ever hoped it would be.
I have changed, and am still changing in many ways. My emotions can still take me further up and down than I want to go, but the difference now is that I am aware of myself as someone capable of change, capable of growth and capable of understanding those very same emotional levels. I can check myself. I have tools today. I have the resources of the entire Program of Alcoholics Anonymous; I have a whole community of people who are experiencing similar changes, and I have a Higher Power, a God of my understanding. All of these “essentials” are available to help me transition from being on a roller coaster to simply being on a path of gently rolling hills. I also believe that if I have found some balance in my life, that the relationships I form will also have balance. This is an ongoing process, and one that will continue for my lifetime. I work towards practicing tolerance of others, and try to remain watchful of my expectations and motives. Remaining true to myself is essential to this process, as I strive for balance in my recovery, and in my life.
I know today that getting active means trying to live the suggested Steps of The Program to the best of my ability. It means striving for some degree of honesty, first with myself, then with others. It means activity directed inward,m to enable me to see myself and my relationship with my Higher Power more clearly. As I get active, outside and inside myself, so shall I grow in The Program. Do I let others do all the work at meetings? Do I carry my share?