Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“This step requires self-examination that can be uncomfortable, but honesty is essential in this process. The key is to identify any areas of past regret, embarrassment, guilt or anger.”
In the first three steps of the 12-step program, you’ve admitted that you have a problem, that you cannot solve it on your own, and turned your life over to God, or a higher power than yourself. While these steps are very important, you cannot succeed without step four of the program. This step involves taking a personal inventory of your resentments and self-searching your morals and life. Embracing and working through this step will help you more than you can imagine.
1. Be Honest And Create A Visual Chart
In many cases, you have buried the reasons for your resentments. During Step 4, you must be completely honest with yourself about why you are angry with particular people. Without this honesty, you will continue to hold on to old resentments.
One of the easiest ways to make this honest inventory of resentment is to create a chart that has three columns. The first one should list the person you resent. This may be your boss, spouse, friend, or relative. The second column should list what wrong that person committed that caused your anger and/or pain. The final column should list how their wrong has affected you.
2. Take Responsibility And Some Blame
While the person you resent did wrong you, it is important to understand that all people are flawed. Just like addiction is a disease, anger is also a sickness. By remembering that those who have wronged you are sick, you can begin to pray for forgiveness for them and that God will help you treat them the way you would a sick friend or relative.
You must also realize that some of the blame lands on you and your behaviors while addicted to substances. For example, if your spouse has left you, you may resent them for leaving. Step 4 of the 12-step process requires you to also take the blame in your addiction and what ensued is the likely cause of them leaving. Taking partial blame for the wrongs committed against you can help you put these wrongs and pains behind you.
To learn more about which types of substances Serenity at Summit treats, click here.
3. Admit Fear
The third column on your list addresses how these wrongdoings have affected you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. You may notice that many of the resented behavior affected your self-esteem through fear.
For example, your neighbor flirting with your wife may cause you to fear that she will leave you for the neighbor. This fear often causes you to resent both the neighbor and your spouse. You cannot let fear control you while trying to recover from addiction. One of the best ways to resolve conflicts in your personal inventory is to overcome the fear they have caused in your life by turning your worries and resentments over to God.
Each step of the 12-step program is equally important in their own way. You cannot skip steps or fake your way through it if you wish to succeed. It is important that you admit your faults, give your problems to God, and be brutally honest with yourself about resentments you have held for a long time.
Once you are able to do these things, you will feel a weight lifted off both your shoulders and heart and not be so influenced or controlled by anger and pain.