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A Mini Fourth Step

4thStepThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s, Amy Margolis, MSW.

Step Four states, “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” It is the daunting step that feels so overwhelming, “Uggh, I have to dig up all the wreckage of my past, look at my resentments, those I have hurt, my character defects etc.” The truth is Step Four is an emotional housecleaning and when coupled with Step Five can be the most healing step. People come away from it feeling cleansed, connected and as if they have been given a fresh start.

For many it takes weeks or months to complete Step 4. It requires time, soul searching, and a lot of writing. It is a good idea to set a schedule for completion with a sponsor. If you haven’t reached Step Four or did it a few years back and are not planning on embarking on another thorough inventory any time soon, I would like to offer a “mini fourth step.” This will give you relief quickly for the issue at hand. Say you are struggling with a resentment and just can’t let it go. If you are a good addict, you might even be in a full blown obsession with it… plotting revenge, planning conversations, and raging between your ears. Try this formula

State the resentment (ie. I am mad at John for telling my secret etc)

What does it affect in me? (ie. peace, self esteem, relationships, etc)

What do I get by hanging on to this? (ie. distraction, feeling self righteous, etc)

What would I get by Letting this go to God? (ie. forgiveness, freedom, compassion, etc)

My part (ie. obsessing, feeling like a victim again, bringing up the past etc)

Of course, my examples are brief. This writing should be thorough. You may feel relief in just doing the writing. If not, you may need to call a trusted friend and read it. If still troubled, you may also need to pray for the person you resent daily until the anger lifts. Pray for their peace and happiness. Right now you are probably cursing me out, “Pray for that $%sh#@e?” That’s okay. I am here to say resentments only hurt us and that we forgive for our own peace and freedom.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which akin to the AA Bible, states “resentments are a luxury the alcoholic cannot afford,” I believe they are a luxury none of us can afford They cause us to live like miserable victims. Why make that choice when you could live joyful and powerfully? Think about it.

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