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Old 04-15-2012, 02:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Working step 4 without a sponsor...

I've been working the steps on my own for a little over 18 months now and feel like I'm pretty solid on 1-3 and ready take my first ever stab at step 4. Trouble is, I don't currently go to face-to-face Al-Anon meetings (although I did go to 8-10 and found them helpful for a while) or have a sponsor.

I find that my recovery work is most effective when I work on it by myself, daily, and in private. Don't quite know why, but there it is. I'm not at all averse to reaching out for help if it's needed, but so far my HP has been able to keep me moving forward slowly and steadily. Has anyone here worked step 4 solo? I would love to hear any ES&H from you all as I take a deep breath and begin.

My thought was to reflect and journal on the questions for step 4 in "Paths to Recovery" as a start...
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Why do you feel the need to do this solo? You say you find it more effective doing step work alone, have you had a sponsor in the past and failed somehow?
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Veritas posted this resource in Women In Recovery. check it out. I hope this helps you.

Online Intergroup : Alcoholics Anonymous

Love, Lenina
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I just started Step 4 too!

I too do not have a sponsor. I have been going to Al Anon meetings for about one month.

I haven't asked anyone to be my sponsor because I haven't connected with anyone else's story yet. I intend for this to be a long-term relationship...so I don't want to rush it.

However, that hasn't kept me from approaching Step 4. My philosophy is: I don't have to do this once, and perfectly.

I'm going to continue working the Step but I WANT to do it with a sponsor so I'll likely revisit the Step again (and again and again with my sponsor).

I would encourage you to start going to the meetings. I also started off on a solo operation. Let me tell you...the difference between reading the literature alone...and sitting in the meetings is HUGE.

I didn't notice significant change until I sat through the meetings.
I didn't notice BIG changes until I started sharing in the meetings.

I'm sure more seasoned members will chime in...
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I was wondering why i'd seen no mention of sponsors in the Big Book.Also over here in the UK we have opposite sex sponsors too.Is that the same in the USA?I think when I get one i'd prefer a woman though
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I worked Step 4 myself, talked it over with my sponsor who happens to live in another town in my state, but I only use her as a soundboard. I used the Al-Anon resources and worked through everything myself.

I did 5 & 6 on my own, too, and then read it all to my therapist at the time. He was great helping my connect some dots and rephrase it all. Everything else I have done on my own.

I would do what feels comfortable for you, and not worry about doing what is right by the program, or any program for that matter!
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I give EVERYONE credit for doing it on their own...shows how much you are working your program...funny, i am on step 4 too...i have a sponsor but, sometimes owr times never seem to hook up...but, i am still doing it and so is she....
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't have a sponsor and I'm not working the steps as they are described. I did do the equivalent of a step four though. I did seven or eight months of very intensive journaling every day. I am a Buddhist and work much more the eightfold path. From a Buddhist perspective I see three major goals in each program. One is giving up the illusion of control. Two is letting go of the past. You can't achieve serenity if you can't let go of the anger, pain, hurt, shame and all those other emotions that you are still carrying around. Last is to accept yourself as you are and be at peace with it. Doesn't mean you can't change but that process of change is part of who you are now.

Just my two cents.

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Old 04-16-2012, 02:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That's interesting Mike.I am studying Buddhism at the moment, and go to a temple once a week.It's the only thing that makes any kind of sense to me spiritually
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks, Mike!

A great deal of Buddhist teaching resonates with my Quaker practice, and I am convinced you're right about the aims of 12-step and any other serious spiritual program. Thank you for putting it so clearly. Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness...
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't have a sponsor, and I've been doing my Step Four work once a month at an Al-Anon meeting that meets on Tuesday nights to go through the "Blueprint for Progress" book. This month's topic is anger, and I haven't started going through the questions yet, but I know I'll have a lot to talk about.
Talking about things with a group helps me a lot, especially since listening to other people's views on the meanings behind each question opens up more things that I never thought about before.

I did have a sponsor at one point, but the relationship didn't work out, and so right now I'm more comfortable not having one - I want to make sure I don't make the same mistakes choosing one this time around. In the meantime I do have a very close friend in the program, who joined around the same time I have and has many of the same morals that I do, and so I do have someone to talk to should I get stuck on something and need some outside perspective.

I also have my own therapist, who has experience with addiction, and is constantly giving me new things to think about.

In essence, I feel like I have everything I need from a sponsor, just spread around different people/groups rather than centralized into one place - I feel more comfortable that way, especially since I don't have all my eggs in one basket.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I also don't have a sponsor (there are not a lot of sponsors here in the small town I reside in).

I do have a counselor though well versed in 12 step work.

I am working the steps on my own (slowly), with Pathways, but have also found a book by Patrick Carnes called The Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps to be a big help. I am open to having a sponsor, but just have not found something that works yet. My therapist and I are comfortable with this arrangement for now.

It is nice to know others have done it in a non-traditional fashion and still gotten valuable information out of it.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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