On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a fearless and moral inventory (of themselves)…
**Cough, cough**…THIS step is where shit starts to get real and it’s time for the truth. For EVERYONE’S truth. If this is a family matter and you’re all working apart, but sharing like you’re supposed to, then this could change your family dynamic forever. I shouldn’t say “could” change, it WILL change. So, at this point your going to do self-reflection for real. We discussed it briefly in Step 3, but not entirely.
You will, if you choose as a family, talk about your resentments, fears, pride, sexual relationships, and several other subjects that are highly private. As a family member, if you choose to continue forward with these exercises, put it ALL out there. Would you want your loved one to hold back? I don’t think so. Note to family: 1) ABSOLUTELY NO JUDGMENT because you wouldn’t want to be judged on your baggage, would you? And we all have it.
Since I can’t break it all down here because I get off-track too often, I’m providing you a link to some worksheets that break down this process point by point. They come in PDF form so print and fill out to share with family members. My personal recommendation: look at it everyday for a week before you think about writing anything down. The second week, begin writing down some things, whatever comes to mind. Everything that comes to mind, because this is a serious inventory and there’s much to think about here. You have to be brutally honest with yourself. You’re bearing your soul here. The third week, build on week two and you’ll begin to see that progress, that honesty, that you need to become as a whole.
I’m going to quickly touch on that Fear Inventory Fact Sheet. Here are some of the items listed on that “Fearless Moral Inventory” that might apply to you personally: Fear of…
Those are just a few on a very long list of fears that you need to acknowledge. Think of the 12 Steps as your personally-tailored treatment plan. In this Step, you focus on the things that apply to you, elaborate, reflect, and then move on.
One of the more uncomfortable things to think about in Step 4 is the Sex Conduct part…especially if you’re sharing this with family and they are sharing theirs. Even if you’re not sharing, this can be especially difficult because 1) you might not remember some sexual encounters when you were using and 2) it’s a game of shame, blame, and guilt when you have to dig this deep into your past.
I am going to pick at this wound a bit. One of the first questions: “Who did I hurt?” and then list each thing you did to them. Did you have sex with someone who was unconscious? Did you get them high to take advantage of them? Did you lead them into thinking that you wanted sex? These are real questions you have to ask yourself and be completely honest. There will be time to make amends later, but you can’t make amends until you can admit to yourself what you have done and your emotions surrounding it.
When someone is using, they use drugs/alcohol, they use people, they justify using any means to get what they want. Sex, drugs, alcohol, free room and board, money, etc., etc. And now it’s time to lay open your vulnerabilities and take the responsibility of mistakes that you have made. Do not rush this Step because this will be one to revisit often in the future.
The Steps, in case you have noticed, are building blocks. Step 4 is quite difficult, but it is one of the most important Steps you will do and you will circle back to it later, stumbling upon these roadblocks to freedom. If you think you can run through the Steps in two weeks, you can. Anyone can. But you’ll be doing a piss-poor job of actually accomplishing the goal, getting to know who you are, and who you actually want to be. No matter how much you think you have fucked things up, redemption is never far away.
**All pics come from FreePik and title pic designed with Canva
Please leave comments about your own experiences with the 12 Steps and your placement of importance on Step 4. Which one was found to be the most helpful? The most difficult?