I was taught to do step 4 just like its laid out in the book with 3 columns, but then you add a 4th column but leave it blank. That's when you and your sponsor go over your list and fill in the 4th column with "My Role" but you need to do that 4th column or "My Role" with your sponsor because she will be able to help you see your role in your resentments, fears, and people we harmed (sexual and non-sexual).
One of the best ways I've heard to do this thing is to do the first column all the way down to the end first. Just write in the names of those people, places, and things you have a resentment with. Then you make another list of people, places, and things you have fears about. Then you make another list of people, places, and things you harmed while drinking. Some people include the people, places, and things you had sexual conduct with in the same list as people, places, and things you harmed. So you can have either 3 or 4 lists.
But in any case, each list should have those 3 columns like they list it in the book, then have a 4th column you leave blank.
So if you do all your lists and load them up with all the people, places, and things first, then you can come back and fill in the "Causes" and "It effects my" columns after you get all the names down. Now remember you can also list things like "institutions". Some guys or girls have a resentment against "marriage" and that's a "thing" that I would call an institution. So you might list it in your resentments like this:
I never had a good marriage with anyone but was married 3 times
need for sex
need for intimacy
They are terrorists. They could kill me or my loved ones.
Well I hope you get the picture - I couldn't make columns here so you got to use your imagination. So what you can do to get started is to list the names of the people, places, and things in the first column. Then come back to do the rest. But remember to leave a blank column for you and your sponsor to go over "Your Role" in whatever list you made.
This takes time and is pretty painful, so you need to take care of yourself as you're going on and writing this thing up. Remember to call your sponsor every day to let her know your progress, or if you start feeling bad. But limit your time on the phone and away from your writing to say 1/2 hour or an hour at the most away - then get back writing again. Try not to feel sorry for yourself because you can get stuck. Also take little breaks and treat yourself to an ice cream cone (if you're not fat and have eating problems) or a glass of ice tea. It also helps to talk to other AA's you trust. Just ask them ahead of time if you can call them as you're doing your 4th step just to have them listen and not judge.
And for God's sake, go take that 5th step as soon as you get done with 4th for crying out loud! You don't just go and do a 4th step and wait to do a 5th step. It's no wonder you went back drinking last time around. They say if you don't take the 5th you'll go drink a 5th. And I have seen that repeated time and again. Then you do the 6th and 7th all in a row. So you finish 4, then you do 5, 6, and 7 in a row following how the book says. That means NO VACATION TIME between 5 and 6! And BE SURE to take that 1 hour of time between 5 and 6 to "consider the first five propositions". Don't take more than an hour and don't take less than an hour. Do it just like the book says. One hour exactly - follow those directions to the tee, Dee. (he-he that rhymes - I couldn't resist)
When you do the 5th step, you go read what you came up with on your lists for "My Role" - you go read it in the mirror first. Look in the mirror and read your 4th step defects (My Role) to yourself. Then you take that same list and put it at the foot of your bed and read it on your knees (if you pray that way) to the God of your understanding. Then you go take your 5th with your sponsor like these out-of-Ohio folks suggest and read it to her, or if you want to do it the Akron way, you set up an appointment with a priest or clergyman or woman, or a detox counsellor who's taken 5th steps before.
OK - so don't fart around any more and take ACTION - with all the desperation of drowning women!
Good luck and God bless.