- "At some of these we balked" - Step 4 questions

"At some of these we balked" - Step 4 questions




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

"At some of these we balked" - Step 4 questions

Postby marie123 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:41 pm

I have 10 months of sobriety and after having worked very hard with my sponsor on the first 3 steps she feels I am ready to start the 4th.

I have the worksheets, very similar to the ones posted here, and am weary of doing the sex inventory. I know I have to and I understand that I have to go to any length to maintain my physical sobriety in addition to having an emotionally sober life. But this is embarrasing! I trust my sponsor a lot, and know that she is no gossip but she is such a pure and gentle woman and I feel that she will be shocked by some of my past.

I've been to enough meetings and heard many people say that sponsors have heard it all, but still I carry a lot of shame and I do worry about telling her.

I am unclear if I include things that happened when I wasn't an active alcoholic. I am 44 years old but didn't start drinking heavily until a later age. I asked my sponsor about this and she said to include anything that has shaped me into the person I am today. Not petty stuff like the school mate who pulled my hair in 3rd grade but anything that has impacted me.

Well, some of the stuff I did was morally wrong (at least in my opinion). But a lot of it was done when I was sober and well before my drinking got out of hand. Would you include it your inventory?

Additionally, and I don't mean to sound like a victim because today I want to be responsible for my actions and thoughts, but part of the fear and resentment inventories stem from a very dysfunctional and abusive marriage that has since ended. Obviously the ex husband is on the resentment list. My question is after I have filled out column 1, how specific do I be in column 2?

I'd appreciate some opionions and wisdom.

Thanks!
marie123
 
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Postby sunlight » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:31 pm

Hi Marie & welcome.

Your post brought me back to my 1st 5th step.

My sponsor was a big, tough biker & when I got to my 5th step she told me that she had heard it all & that there was nothing I could say that would shock her. So I proceeded to spill my guts, telling her things I never told another person. I'm rolling along & she blurts out, "You did WHAT!!!!!!" :shock:

She was shocked.

I remember being dumbfounded, after what she had said.
My feelings were suspended in confusion. I could have responded in so many ways: anger and yelling, self-pity and crying, hostility and icy silence. All of those options crossed my mind.

What did I do? I laughed! :lol: :lol: :lol:
It was hilarious. My petty BS had shocked my big bad sponsor!

And my ego-deflation had begun. I could laugh at myself and how serious and important I thought my stuff was. It was a powerful moment.

I would include everything in my inventory that is still in and on my mind.
I would be as specific as needed to be rigorously honest. Only you know what that is for yourself.

I know the things that I haven't wanted to tell were things I still secretly wanted to hold onto, meaning behavior I really didn't want to give up. I was told how dangerous this is & how I would drink again. I believed it. I did a thorough and (sort of) fearless inventory to save my butt, if nothing else. I have seen better AA's than I go down because they kept rotten inventory hidden.

We're really all the same. The specifics may differ, but they mostly boil down to self in its variations.

Go for it Marie! We are with you! :D
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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:40 pm

Welcome to the site Marie!

I went all the way back in my life to anything I could remember as a little kid on up. The book says we went back in our lives and that it should be thorough and complete.

When I take people through the Steps -- that's the way we do it together, too.

Best wishes,

Dallas
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Postby marie123 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:05 am

I have heard that I am only as sick as my secrets. There are many horrible things I have done. I think I will post my story in the section I saw called "personal stories". I warn you that some of it is very bad but I will try and leave out the very graphic details so not to offend anyone.
marie123
 
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Postby merckx » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:16 am

When I did my fourth step my sponsor gave me this instruction: "If it comes to mind, put it on paper." Deciding what to leave out and what to put it in your inventory is like going to your doctor and saying, "Well Doc these are the symptoms that pertain to my cold which I think you need to know about, the other symptoms aren't important".

By the time I got finished working Step 5, I had a completely different outlook on me. It's a good thing nothing got left out.
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Postby marie123 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:34 pm

Thank you everyone for your input.

I guess what I am really worried about is doing Step 5. I trust my sponsor so I'm not worried about her telling anyone. But I am worried about her reaction to some of the things I've done. She had a high bottom and didn't lose her kids, husband, home or job.

She's shared about her past and her bottom and while she knows a lot about me some subjects have never come up. I am scared of what she will think of me. I carry a lot of shame, guilt and regret about my past.

Some of the things that will be on my inventory are:
My abusive childhood (physical and sexual)
I had an abortion
I worked as a prostitute
I was in an abusive marriage

I know I have to get it all out and I am praying for strength but this is overwhelming me.
marie123
 
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Postby sunlight » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:47 pm

Nice to see you back, Marie.

I, too had a "high bottom", but believe me, emotionally and spiritually I was 6 floors lower than hell.

I have sponsored women who told me things in their 5th step that were incredible. My reaction was so much admiration and respect for their courage and honesty that it made me cry.
They wanted to stay sober and were willing to go to any lengths. That rates higher in my book than any attempt at candy-coating the truth.

The group I belong to is called, "Just Do It". We encourage others not to analyze the steps or jack around with them, JUST DO IT! It's a matter of life or death, happiness or misery, freedom or shackles.

And I bet I can guess what your sponsor will think of you.
She'll think you're an alcoholic! :lol: Just like all of us here. God bless us! :D
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Postby Dallas » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:06 pm

Marie,

Nearly every single one of us has experienced pitiful & incomprehendable demoralizing events in our past -- regardless of how far down the barrel it might "appear to others" that we went. That's why we're able to relate, understand and help each other.

The people I meet today are blown away -- if I reveal my past to them -- they say "no way!" So, most of the time -- I don't even mention it at an AA speaker podium or in a meeting. However, I do mention it, or parts of it only when it will be helpful to helping someoen else. Perhaps -- your sponsor could be the same way. :wink:

Later on, down the road in this deal -- most of us are able to "look back" and see -- that precisely the right people were in our life -- especially the one's we tell our story to.

My first sponsor -- who heard my 5th Step was nothing like me. The only similarity was he was alcoholic. He was a retired Post Office employee. Had always showed up for his job on time and never missed a day of work even when drinking. He had been married only once and he and his wife had been together since teens. He owned his little house and it was paid for. Raised his kids in the same house. Etcetera. Normal in every regard except for his drinking.

On the other hand -- I would have been like a character from a movie that he watched! :lol: And, what I see today is: He was the perfect guy for me when I was first starting the AA path! And, I owe my life & sobriety to his help.

Here's something to look forward to:

"We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every
twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once
we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are
delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be
alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us.
We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may
have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to
have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink
problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We
feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand
with the Spirit of the Universe." pg 75, BB

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." ~pg 83-84
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Postby merckx » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Don't forget that people's "high bottoms" are still the lowest they have sunk. They might not know what it is like to have hit your rock bottom but they have hit their rock bottom. The worst you've ever felt is the worst you've ever felt, doesn't matter how it compares to someone else.

My bottom was fairly high but I've talked with people whose bottoms were about as low as one can go. What I've shared in common with them is the same feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame, and desperation.
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Thank you

Postby marie123 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:56 am

Thanks to all who responded.

The things I mentioned happened well before I hit my bottom. But years of holding in pain and secrets have done their toll. I don't want to play victim anymore and be stuck in the "what happened" stage. I want to move on with my life. I want to see the promises come true in my life.

My sponsor tells me to include anything that has shaped me into the woman I am today.

Like Sunlight said: Just Do it! And I will.
marie123
 
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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - "At some of these we balked" - Step 4 questions