Step 4 - Wasn't it because self-reliance failed us?

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:37 am

Wow! I can't believe I spelled werewolf the right way! Now, I won't have to eat Aussie Spelling Crow from Geoff! :lol: :lol:

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Postby GeoffS » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:00 pm

Dallas wrote:Wow! I can't believe I spelled werewolf the right way! Now, I won't have to eat Aussie Spelling Crow from Geoff! :lol: :lol:

I had a sponsee once who was an alcoholic werewolf. He did the 12 steps and he's sober noooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!


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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:20 pm

GeoffS, are you sure you weren't one of those guys in North Hollywood, that was trying to sponsor me in my early days??? :lol: :lol:

I was hoping to spell something incorrectly... so that I could get you to log-in and post something! :lol: Been missing you lately.

Best wishes for you.


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Postby Tim » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:13 pm

Dallas wrote:Actually, I would suggest that you go back to the front of the Big Book, and to Step One.

Fourth Step problems are not 4th Step problems... just like 3rd Step problems are not 3rd Step problems... and 9th Step problems are not 9th Step problems... The only time you'll ever have a problem with the Steps or any part of the Steps (and you can take this to the Sobriety Bank)... it's a First Step Problem.

Question: When you started the work on your Steps... did you start with Chapter 5, of the Big Book?

When we get a good enough dose of the First Step, and we realize and understand what the First Step means... and we become "convinced" that we are alcoholic and we admit to being powerless over our alcoholism... and REALLY understand what that means... it will remove any blockage that we have for taking any of the remaining 11 Steps.

On the other hand, if we don't get a good enough dose of Step One... we will balk, "Oh what an order! I can't go through with this!" :lol:

Step One -- answers the entire "self-reliance" questions. A real Step One is understanding that our Self can not fix our alcoholism problem... and all along we have been "relying on our Self" to try to stay sober.

What Step One is telling us is: "Neither our own power... or any other human power... including all the human power in or out of AA... will be able to keep us from the next first drink."


This is an excellent explanation, Dallas!

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7 questions to help with the 4th step

Postby willow » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:24 pm

I have been struggling with the fourth step myself. I keep doing partials, but even with using the BB and my sponsor, I was still having problems in how to actually think about and write the inventory. I came across these 7 questions and I am going to post them here--they helped me, especially 1, 2 & 5.

Here are the Seven Questions (to help facilitate writing the 4th step):
1. In looking back over your life – what memories are still painful, guilty, dirty?
2. In what ways do you consider yourself an inadequate person?
3. Who do you resent – and why? Be specific.
4. What do you conceive to be your defects of character – as you see them today?
5. What is the nature of the ongoing problems you have with people close to you – in human relations – what seems to always happen when you have these things that blow up?
6. In what way do you believe that A.A. can help you with any of these problems?
7. In what way do you believe that A.A. can begin to change things?

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Postby Dallas » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:51 pm

Imagine you were having a heart-attack. How long would it take you to get to the doctor to get treated?

The 12 Steps is the shortest way and fastest way to the Doctor -- for the alcoholic to get their alcoholism treated.

The only problem is: Alcoholics do not understand that alcoholism is as serious as a condition of heart-attack. And, alcoholism is fatal.

A couple of thoughts that helped me was to think about these metaphors in regards to my alcoholism:

1. To imagine I was locked in one room... with my hands tied, and a big guy with a big gun had the gun held to my head. The guy decides he's going to go outside for a little while, and when he returns... if I haven't finished the 12 Steps... he's going to shoot me in the head.

2. To imagine I was all tied up and stretched out on my back on a table -- and a huge six foot blade was suspended by a threat over my head. And, I was going to be untied, but still under the blade... and I only had until the thread breaks -- to complete taking the 12 Steps.

3. To imagine that I was going to get struck by lightening -- when I least expect it. There doesn't even need to be a cloud in the sky... but when I least expect it... I get struck... Unless, I've covered myself with the protection that comes from having taken all 12 Steps.

What do I do next?

For me, that's the First Step.


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Fear Inventory

Postby Jim W » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:55 am

I was shown how to write a four column fear inventory in this fashion:

Column one is what I am afraid of.
Column two is why I have it.
Column three is where has self-reliance failed me?
Column four is what would God-reliance look like? This is from the prayer on page 68.

"Dear God, please remove this fear of____, and direct my attention to what you would have me be."

Notice is says what God would me BE not DO. We are human beings, not human doings.
Unfortunately, many of us, me included have wasted time running around doing instead being, when actually our doing springs from our being.

About ten or twelve years ago, I was at home writing fear inventory. I was coming out of a painful breakup and needed to clear some stuff up. I have always had a terrible fear of being rejected, so I was writing about that. Here is how it played out:

Column One: I fear being rejected.

Why do I have this fear?
I'll feel like a loser
Everyone else will think I'm a loser
My life will be meaningless
I'll end up alone and miserable and probably die alone

Where has self-reliance failed me?
I use people to satisfy my emotional needs.
I pretend I am someone that I am not so that people will like me.
In other words, I am selfish, self-seeking, and dishonest.

I was stuck on the fourth column. I said the prayer asking God to remove this fear and direct my attention to what He'd have me be, but nothing was coming. Then my phone rang. It was my friend Ron and he asked what I was up to. I told him that I was writing fear inventory and that I was stuck. I told that I fear being rejected and that I had seen why I have the fear and how self-reliance has failed me but I was stuck on what God would have me be. Without batting an eye, he said "God would have you be who you are no matter what."

Thus is the power of prayer.

Here is another example of a common fear, one that shows up on my inventory on a regular basis.

Column One: I fear being broke

Column Two, why do I have this fear?
I'll feel like a loser
Everyone will think I'm a loser and abandon me.
I'll lose my stuff.
My creditors will yell at me.
I'll be homeless and car-less.
All this work will have been for nothing and my life will be a sham.
I'll end up all alone and miserable.

Column Three, how has self-reliance failed me?
I use money to look good and feel good and spend it foolishly

What would God have me be?
A good steward of what passes through my hands.

Notice the root fear of both the fear of rejection and the fear of being broke is that I'll end up all alone. I believe that is the basic fear that all human beings have. When I wrote about that, it came to me that God would have me be alone with The Alone and comfortable in my on company.

The book says that we commence to outgrow fear. I'm convinced that I'll be outgrowing fear the rest of my life. I've heard it said that fear and faith can't live in the same house. Where else would they live? Faith is not the absence of fear, it is walking through the fear. To me faith is almost like a verb, not a feeling. Faith is telling the truth when it would be easier to tell a lie. Faith is is paying back the money when I don't think that there will be any left for me. Sometimes faith is simply getting up in the morning and going out the door and facing the world when I'd rather stay in bed all day.

My statement of faith is that where I AM, God is and that there is nowhere that God is not.

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Postby Dallas » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:23 pm

If Faith is a verb (and, I agree w/ you that it is)...
Then, Fear is also a verb. (I believe that it is)

Fear is a form of Faith.

Faith is a do-ing.
Fear is a do-ing.

They operate and "do" the same thing -- precisely the same way.

The difference? The direction of the do-ing.

If you change the direction of the do-ing ... Faith will be Fear -- or Fear will be Faith -- as simple as North and South on a compass.

Who says that North is North and South is South? People. People decided to agree on something. It became known as "the certain people's official opinion" .....

Just because People decided something doesn't make it right or wrong. It's simply their observation -- filtered by their perception of reality.

Fear and Faith can be observed only when defined by human perceptions of reality.

"Just to the extent that we do --- as we think --- He would have
us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity." pg 68.

"We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He (as we think He) would have us be." pg 68.

Why are we taking a separate Inventory List on Fear? It's because the entire Inventory is about "our do-ing." The Inventory, in all it's parts -- is an Inventory of our Moral Conduct.

I find this paragraph on pg 69, to be especially helpful to me in my doing of my Inventory:

"We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it." pg 69. BB.

"If we have been thorough about our personal inventory,
we have written down a lot. We have listed and analyzed
our resentments. We have begun to comprehend their
futility and their fatality. We have commenced to see
their terrible destructiveness. We have begun to learn
tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even
our enemies, for we look on them as sick people. We
have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and
are willing to straighten out the past if we can." pg 70 BB.

We can get lost in our thinking about the Inventory process and what it's for and why it is.

What we're trying to do is "get square with God, and get square with those that we have harmed."

We can get side-tracked into making it a "learning about me" process -- and fail to achieve it's objective of "getting honest with ourselves... honest w/ God and honest w/ other people -- and first and foremost -- the people that we have harmed.

The list is actually more for the purpose of "making restitution" to those we've harmed -- and making amends for our wrong do-ing.

This human do-ing will change our human be-ing. Actions are what change our be-ing. Actions determine our state of be-ing. Actions, do-ing... is what changes our thinking.

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Postby Dallas » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:35 pm

We say... "God remove my fear of _______"

God says... "Okay. I will -- if and when -- you make your amends to those you have hurt -- by your conduct -- because of this fear." :lol:

We say: "Oh God! Please direct my attention to what you would have me be!" :mrgreen:

And, God laughs... :lol: :lol: :lol: He knows what we're up to! He knows we are going to try to divert our attention away from "what actions we need to do" and instead, to "get lost in what we think." :lol:

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Postby Jim W » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:33 pm

I like your way of looking at fear and faith Dallas.

For me, the inventory process has never been about "working on myself" or self improvement. It has been about facing a being rid of what blocks me from God, from you, and from me.

"As we draw near to God, God draws near to us."

I get to see the fallacies I've built my life on. I get to see what I'm not so that we can get rid of it and the what I am shows up. As I reveal myself to me, God will be revealed to me.

It hasn't been about thinking about what the inventory is about either. I don't really think myself into insight, it gets revealed to me. There is something that happens when I put it down on paper in black & white.

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