Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Wayne, my sponsor, approached me and told me it was time for step four followed closely by step five. I had heard about the difficulty some AA’ers had with these steps and for many, there was a direct correlation between doing or not doing or being honest and not being honest with slips and relapses.
About this time our close social group was at about twenty members. We had a blast and did everything together. A few were starting to go to bars, clubs, sporting events and places that alcohol was served and drugs were present.
I was warned by many in the program that we/I was not ready for that type of environment and of course, my ego got the better of me and I argued that I was perfectly okay to go to places where alcohol was served and resist all temptations.
My triggers all lurked in those establishments; alcohol, drugs, women and all the risk and dangers that go along with that deadly combination, at least potentially deadly to me.
My sponsor was warning me about my disease doing sit-ups on my shoulder just waiting for the opportunity to take me down. A little voice was calling me back to drinking and all the fun or nowadays, FOMO, fear of missing out I was missing.
Honestly, that fun left me ten years ago. My drinking was strictly misery drinking and I was never able to find that fun again. I wasn’t missing a thing and intellectually I knew that.
I listened to the advice and stayed away from places that offered potential danger to my sobriety. I loved my sobriety and what it was doing for me. Lying on the floor with the shakes, and absolutely no life didn’t look that attractive to me.
A few members didn’t heed that advice and soon after relapsed. Some came back, others disappeared forever. I heard that two guys from my high school died from alcohol related issues. One was a dry drunk, a topic for later, and committed suicide and the other made a conscience decision to drink himself to death. Addiction is so sad. One of these guys I knew fairly well. Over the past eighteen plus years, there have been a number of deaths and it never gets any easier.
Why me? How am I able to stay sober when ninety to ninety-five percent of the people trying to stay sober don’t? I did and still do question. And one day the answer came to me. I truly believe that I was chosen by God to be sober and if that is the case and that is what I believe, then it is my obligation to pass that on. Since that discovery, I have done exactly that. I will forever be indebted to my higher power for keeping my ass alive to experience this amazing world sober and whatever little bit I can do to help others with their sobriety or any other issue, I will do.
Step four points out those defects of character that eventually lead us down a very dark road. As any good sponsor will point out step four is where you will see patterns in your life that keep repeating themselves and eventually cause the majority of your problems.
That is exactly what I noticed and now I could work on those defects and maybe, more importantly, my sponsor will know them and be able to point that out when I am getting off the beam and to get back on and keep balanced.
Step four is a vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what the defects in each of us have been and are. They stem from desires; sex, material security, emotional security, and companionship. These are God given and human nature, but put too much importance and emphasis on any one and the dominos will surely start to fall.
A friend of mine, Robin, made a statement at a meeting that has stuck with me ever since. “Whatever comes between me and my God, is my new God”
Summed me up one hundred percent. I can easily let a relationship become my new God. I will do everything to protect that new relationship even to the detriment of business, health, finances, and honesty. It didn’t matter if it was an affair, wife, or girlfriend. Initially, they were my God until something better came along.
I did and can do the same thing with business, where all I think about is work. I believe they call that a workaholic. I love work because I do not have to think about anything else. I had a love affair with my business and all that comes along with a love relationship. Nobody was getting between me and my business. Work was my new God!
I could go on and on but you get the point. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it gets between me and my God, then it has power over me. I lived that life. Why not practice what I preached in the last step where I made a decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God? How remarkably easy!
When I went through my steps two things I did that I believed help me to this day is that I was one hundred percent honest, even when I didn’t want to be, and I dug deep and fearlessly into my past. I was told not only make a list of negatives but positives. That helped soften the blow but honestly, at that point, there was not a lot of positives in my past life to be proud of, so that list was extremely short compared to the lengthy negative one.
I wrote and wrote and the patterns were right in front of my eyes. I noticed that I kept repeating over and over again the same thing that got me into trouble the first, second or even third time. I was obviously a slow learner. This had to change.
Personally, I believe that the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous or any twelve-step program is actually very simple. I can sum it up in three words. It’s practicing those three words that is near impossible.
Ready, here they are: Change, change, and change. Try eating your cereal with a fork but try something new every day that you hadn’t tried before. It wasn’t working my way, why not try something different. As hard as it is, it works, it really really works!
Today, eighteen plus years later, I am not even close to the person I used to be. I am as honest as the day is long, I am responsible, accountable, hard working, and selfless.
I believe all this started when I entered the program but my life really began to change when I started on step four, made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves!
Guess what? About the time I finished this step I received my ninety-day, 3 month, coin. Ninety days of continuous sobriety! Not bad for a daily blackout drinker. I was probably fourteen or fifteen the last time I had ninety days.
Things were getting better, much better.
To be continued!