Step 4 helped prepare me to "Clear away the wreckage of my past."
I use Step 10, to clear away the wreckage of my present.
For Step 4... page 65 "We went back through our lives. Nothing counted
but thoroughness and honesty." Back through my life meant more to me than today or yesterday.... or even last week.
When I was freshly sober... I was so grateful just to have 24 hours sober... that I didn't believe I had any resentments towards anyone or anything! And, I told my sponsor that!
My sponsor replied to me, "Dallas... since you don't think you have any resentments... perhaps you had better start by making a list of every person you have ever known, and start there!"
It was no joke... that when I started making a list of everyone that I could remember... starting with my mom, dad, brothers, sisters, God, church, school, teachers, class mates.... heck! I had resentments with all of them! Naturally, I didn't remember everyone I had ever known... but, I sure gave it an honest try with a lot of effort! I was willing to do anything to help me get another 24 hours sober! (And... I'm still that willing).
Once I had that information it was like a great light turned on inside me. Now, I was able to see patterns that had been with me since I was a child. And, I could see that I was still living with my childish ideas and behaviors and sensitivities.
When I made a list of people (and things) that I had harmed... pulling the wings and legs off June Bugs, and the lights off of Lightening bugs didn't bother me... but, what did show up, was an experience that I had as a child that haunted me all throughout my life... until I shared it with another person, with God, with myself, and went on to make amends for it. It was a little bird that was sitting on a wire... and when I was eight years old, I shot the bird with a BB gun, for no other reason than to watch it get shot. Some may say that's stupid... but it sure created some damage inside of me that I carried with me forever. I used to drink myself to sleep to forget what I did to that little bird. It started a pathology and pattern in my life that led me to eventually hating myself, and feeling like I was the scum of the earth. Thank God, that through the 12 Steps of A.A., I don't have to feel that way today. And, I can try to be a better person by trying to be mindfull of the little creatures and critters. I've since come to believe, for me... that those little things are just as important to God and His Universe, as the people are important to Him.
I still remember the bird... and I'm still doing everything I can to make amends to birds, to clear away the record of the little bird that I shot. I don't beat myself up about it. But, there are little things that I can do to make a difference. I'm not trying to be some kind of goody-good. But, I recognize that I've still got what some may call "hyper-sensitivities."
And, all those little things... add up to the big thing... which is me laying down in my bed... or kneeling beside my bed... and feeling that I have honestly gone to any lengths to make things right. And, that helps me to like me.
For years... I didn't like me. I didn't like me at all. I can still move into that mode of not liking me... in the blink of an eye... when I stop doing the little things that add up to the big things.