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Step 4: Holy $*#!

Old 12-08-2012, 02:44 PM
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Step 4: Holy $*#!

No one warned me that taking a personal inventory would be like detoxing, or what I imagine it might be like. This is so nauseating. It seems plausible that letting go would be comforting however it is quite painful so far. There is a strange comfort in acknowledging reality and becoming aware. I realize I have held on to everything and I mean everything. Mentally constipated.

I have not been able to fully let go of my ex for 2 years since his relapse. Even with the time and space and cutting it off. I had to get to this Step 4 to really do the hard work to see how there could never be a possibility for us again. Even in my letting go process, I think I have been hanging on to threads of hope he may be rehabilitated one day or for that matter- that I may be. So I have avoided my life. Granted I don't mean dating and relationships because I already decided that is no longer an option for me anymore. It's more about living the life I am meant to live doing what I love.

Now I realize that I have been fooling myself by hanging on. I see how vulnerable I am and I am going home again in a couple of weeks from overseas. I just have come to accept that alone and with my higher power is where I need to be. I accept that this may not change and that life will continue to change as will I. I just need to stay really far away from him and work through this Step and continue to move on.

Okay, still dizzy from this one. Time to get some rest. Thanks SR for your ears. It's like a private spiritual sanctuary in here. Blessings to all.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:26 PM
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That 4th step is a bugger for sure, and one many balk at due to fear.

Remember, it's a fact-finding mission. It's like a store taking stock of inventory. The bad is tossed out and the good is kept!

Every subsequent 5th step I had done, I always had to list positives too. I think that was the hardest thing to do!
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:39 PM
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I think I am one of few people who actually felt relieved at Step 4...setting it all out, taking personal inventory of myself and digging deep for stuff I may have overlooked...this was like spring housekeeping of the soul.

Sure I cried, I felt many emotions as I went through it, but by the time I got to Step 4, I had 3 strong steps behinds me and I trusted the process. I also had a wise and kind sponsor to help guide me through this step.

I found that it wasn't good to force myself to do any step before I was ready. It helped me to do some pre-work first on each step, writing out what I was hoping to find as I worked the next step and preparing myself spiritually to go through it.

Take your time, work with your sponsor. Yes, it's an emotional step but it shouldn't be frightening or overly painful.

Good luck.

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Old 12-09-2012, 01:13 AM
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Thanks Ann and Freedom!

For the most part it is definitely relieving to write it all down and I feel ready for this Step both the positives and the negatives. The painful part really only came up around my ex and my family. I wonder if I am truly ready to move on. Moving on does not feel like a choice. It feels like it is something that happens when you get over someone if you ever do. And for someone with a hard time letting go, moving on has always been a challenge. I will finish this Step and move on to the next. That's all we can do right?
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:07 AM
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Moving on is to grow and look forward to new beginnings. It doesn't mean we discard yesterday entirely...we learn from it, save the good memories and let go of the resentments.

Feeling pain at Step 4 is okay, I hope I didn't sound like it wasn't. I cried, I uncovered "stuff" I had buried for years deep down in my emotions, and yes, there was some pain, but it was the kind of pain that brings healing, the kind of pain that once walked through will hurt no more, or at least hurt less over time. But it's all good and takes us to a better place.

I re-work my steps often, as needed in my life. I try to re-work them entirely once a year because it's funny how the whole process changes as my recovery grows and my life changes. Each time I go through them I feel like I have been at a retreat, and it keeps my soul clean.

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Old 12-09-2012, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by blackandblue View Post
For the most part it is definitely relieving to write it all down and I feel ready for this Step both the positives and the negatives. The painful part really only came up around my ex and my family. I wonder if I am truly ready to move on. Moving on does not feel like a choice. It feels like it is something that happens when you get over someone if you ever do. And for someone with a hard time letting go, moving on has always been a challenge. I will finish this Step and move on to the next. That's all we can do right?
That is the best we can do dear! Those steps aren't meant to be worked just once or perfectly. Now that I practice the 10th step (continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it), it's been a long time since I've worked a 4th. That isn't to say that I won't need another 4th at some point. i am human, therefore prone to mistakes, and I need to look at those mistakes.

You are doing a wonderful job of working your recovery! Be proud of yourself; I am!
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