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Step Four and Step Five; A Reflection

Recovery is a process, it takes time, it takes patience, it takes everything you got.

My name is John an Alcoholic living my life in recovery for the past 3 years.

The focus of the first three steps is on the spiritual principles of openmindness, acceptance and willingness.


Step Four; A Reflection.

The Fourth Step is a method for learning about ourselves, and it is as much about finding our character assets as it is about identifying the exact nature of our wrongs. This Step is an action step which requires personal input and a focus on the spiritual principles of Honesty, Humility and Courage.

I felt fear in approaching the Step and shame over each imperfection for which I would have to take responsibility. To apply myself to Step four I had to feel my fear, change my attitude and look at the Step as a means of making peace with my past. Humility, not humiliation is the long term goal of the fourth step inventory.

Humility, as a word and as an ideal, has a very bad time of it in our world. Not only is the idea misunderstood; the word itself is often intensely disliked. Many people haven't even a nodding acquaintance with humility as a way of life. Much of the everyday talk we hear, and a great deal of what we read, highlight man's pride in his own achievements.


In the opening paragraphs of the chapter devoted to step seven in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Bill Wilson emphatically states, “the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AA’s twelve steps.” The legendary alcoholic goes on to claim that, “…without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all.”

He expanded this definition when he wrote that humility was, “the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.”

CS Lewis wrote “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less”

Honesty is the ability to match up our insides with our allows what we don’t care about go away and what we really want to appear and develop in our lives.

Taking a fearless inventory means going ahead despite our fear. It means having the courage to take this action no matter how we feel about it. It means having the courage to be honest, even when we're cringing inside and swearing that we'll take what we're writing to the grave. It means having the determination to be thorough, even when it seems that we've written enough.

It means having the faith to trust this process and trust our Higher Power to give us whatever quality we need to walk through the process. Let's face it: This step does involve a lot of work.

When I begin writing and looking at my resentments, fears, behaviour, beliefs, and secrets, I found that most of them had a connection with my addiction. The real benefit of committing this work to paper is that the page reflected back to me but it did not judge me.

Finishing a Fourth Step is many things - maybe a let-down, maybe exhilarating, and maybe uncomfortable. However we feel otherwise, we should definitely feel good about what we've accomplished. The work we've done in this step will provide the foundation for the work we'll do in Steps Five through Nine.

Step Five; A Reflection

I finished my Fourth Step with a sense of relief, thinking that the really hard part was over, only to realize that we still had the Fifth Step to do. .

Growing up in the Catholic faith I would have said the following words many times, “I confess to all mighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words” so the act of sharing my Step four did not make me feel uncomfortable.

It’s the admission we make-to God, to ourselves, and to another human being-that brings about the spiritual growth connected with this step. We've had some experience with making admissions already. We've admitted we have a disease; we've admitted we need help; we've admitted there's a Power that could help us.

Two things we need to begin working Step Five are courage and a sense of trust in the process of recovery. If we have both these things, we'll be able to work through more specific fears and go through with the admissions we need to make in this step.

One of the many benefits I got from working Step Five is a sense of self-acceptance. I clearly recognize who I am today, and accept myself without reservation. Just because I may be lacking in certain areas doesn't mean I am worthless.

Material adapted from “The Narcotics Anonymous Step Working Guide” printed by NA World Services, Inc. Chatsworth, California. The Big Book of AA 4th ed. A.A. World Services and associated publications.

If you would like more information on aftercare please contact John Murphy on 083 1916112




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