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Step 4: The Truth Behind Taking a Moral Inventory of Yourself

You’ve taken a big step in deciding to pursue treatment for your alcohol or drug addiction. You understand the importance of working through the 12 Step Program, and even though it’s hard, you’re doing the work. Finally, you’ve reached Step 4, and it’s the one you’ve been dreading most of all because it seems as though it’s going to be the hardest one. However, in taking on Step 4, it’s important to remember the powerful truths you learned in Step 3.

A Look Back

In Step 3, you learned to surrender your life and trust to your Higher Power as you understood Him to be. That’s not easy to do, although it might have been easy to say the words. True surrender involves taking action, which is what Step 4 is all about. As an addict, you probably spent a lot of time making empty promises or saying things you didn’t really mean in an effort to achieve your addictive goals. However, now that you’re working on your recovery, it’s time to change all of that. That means it’s time to put some feet to your words.

What is Your Moral Inventory?

You may have been avoiding taking a complete moral inventory of the things you have said and done. Doing so can be downright scary. You probably feel ashamed because of some of the things you did, and although they made sense at the time, or you were desperate back then, you’d never do those things now. You might even be a little bit afraid to think about the things you’ve said and done, but Step 4 says now is the time to be fearless. Please remember, being fearless does not mean that you don’t have any fear about facing your past. It does mean that you’re going to face your past regardless of your fear. In a way, your addiction ruined your ability to reflect upon your actions and your words in a way that allowed you to take responsibility for them. Now that you’re not actively participating in your addiction, you’re free to own up to what you did, with the help of your Higher Power, of course.

Writing it Down

One of the best ways to process information is by writing it down. That’s why in Step 4, we expressly talk about the importance of writing down the actions, events, and situations you can remember that caused pain to yourself or someone else. Once you write them down, you can visually see and evaluate the problems your addiction caused in a new and different light. There’s no right way to begin, and the process is always different for everyone. However, you’ll find that once you begin writing everything down, you’re able to come to terms with how powerful your addiction really is. If you’re struggling with an addiction, you don’t have to suffer alone. Help is available and with the right support and treatment, you can break free and begin working toward recovery. Please contact us for more information.