Comments from Web Sites and Publications
During the first three steps I have turned my attention from my
addiction and the
wreckage that it has done to
my life to the God that I have come to realize can deliver me from
my addiction. I have
faced the truth of my
situation and turned this situation over to the God who can help me.
Now it is time to
start seeing things
as they truly are rather than through the glass of my addicted mind
and heart. The first
step in this
process of "getting real" is to take an honest inventory of my life.
Exactly where have
I been, what have I done
and how far did I go in my addictive behaviors? When and where did
they start and where
have they led me?
This is a vital step away from my addicted life filled with chaos
and insane behaviors
towards a conscious
life filled with more personal power and serenity.
- From 12Step.org
We want to find out exactly how, when and where our natural desires
have warped us. We
look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and
ourselves. By discovering
emotional deformities are, we can move towards their correction.
Without a willing and
effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for
us. Without a
and fearless moral inventory, most of us have found that the faith
which really works in
is out of reach.
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 43
In Step Four we call it a "moral" inventory because we compile a
list of traits and
behaviors that have
transgressed our highest, or moral, values. We also inventory our
"good" traits and the
represent them. In our life's moral inventory the defects or
might include some
that once worked; some dysfunctional behaviors may have saved our
lives as children, but
they are now
out-of-date, self-defeating, and cause us a great deal of trouble
when we use them as
- A Hunger for Healing, p. 61
The purpose of a searching and fearless moral inventory is to sort
through the confusion
and the contradiction
of our lives so that we can find out who we really are. We are
starting a new way of
life and need to be rid
of the burdens and traps which have controlled us and prevented our
As we approach this step, most of us are afraid that there is a
monster inside us that,
if released, will
destroy us. This fear can cause us to put off our inventory or may
even prevent us from
taking this crucial
step at all. We have found that fear is lack of faith, and we have
found a loving,
personal God to whom we
can turn. We no longer need to be afraid.
... Step Four will help us toward our recovery more than we imagine.
Most of us find
that we were neither as
terrible, nor as wonderful, as we supposed. We are surprised to find
that we have good
points in our inventory.
Anyone who has some time in the Program and has worked this step
will tell you that the
Fourth Step was a
turning point in their life. Some of us make the mistake of
approaching the Fourth Step
as if it were a confession of
how horrible we are-what a bad person we have been. In this new way
of life, a binge of
emotional sorrow can
be dangerous. This is not the purpose of the Fourth Step. We are
trying to free
ourselves of living in old,
useless patterns. We take the Fourth Step to gain the necessary
strength and insight
which enables us to grow.
We may approach the Fourth Step in a number of ways.
It is advisable that before we start, we go over the first three
steps with a sponsor.
- Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 4
A personal inventory is crucial to understanding the new direction
of our spiritual
What aspects of our character do we need to retain and emphasize,
and what should be
modified or discarded? Six components that might go into such an
inventory are described
in the following paragraphs.
First, we may need to "tell our stories." This can be accomplished
by journaling, that
by writing out our stories, and by sharing them with others in
recovery meetings or
A second component in our inventory is discovering the roots of our
codependencies. In most cases, this means we have to examine our
childhoods. What needs
were not met there? What negative experiences or messages about
ourselves did we absorb
in the dysfunctional family of origin? ...
Third, we must confront and assess the full extent of our
dependencies. Doing so, we
learn more about the severity of our primary addictions, and we may
addictions we had not previously recognized. We should inventory and
identify all of
codependent symptoms and addictions, which have manifested
themselves in our adolescent
and adult lives....
Fourth, we need to look back at our relationship history with the
people who have been
significant in our lives - parents, teachers, mentors, friends,
We need to inventory all the ways we have hurt them and hurt
ourselves by practicing our
adult addictions and codependencies...
Fifth, we must address our guilt feelings. We realize that most
and shame-propelled. To move beyond this shame-base, we need to
distinguish between two
major forms of guilt: 1) False shame, or carried shame... 2)
Sixth, we must "look for the good". An important counterbalancing
dimension is that a
inventory should include the positive, as well as the negative,
things about us...
- Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 38-42