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Old 12-10-2007, 01:14 PM
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What do I do?

What is a "moral inventory," and how do I make one? The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Blue Book (AABBB) describes a sort of detailed "grudge list," and I've also heard about a two-column list of good and bad character traits. I need some specific instructions.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:43 PM
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An inventory is about counting everything.

So write it as honestly as you can, and yes, include the good stuff too. It's hard to admit, but there is good stuff. (we not as bad or as good as we think....)

Anyway, if it's your first one, the "bad" side will likely be alot longer than the "good" side. But next time you do one, it will even out a bit.

Got a sponsor you can do this with?
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:53 PM
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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 growth.

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
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:49 PM
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I'm a newcomer an I've completed 1-3 and I was going to start my fourth but I dropped my sponsor due to principal or personality reasons. I didn't know where to start with this step. I know it's about getting truly honest with yourself and cleaning house doing the "moral inventory". But that is so difficult, and I know you don't heal until you do this step. How does one get there? I've found my HP and know that I'm not alone in my struggles when they may arise. But I find myself experiencing writiers block when I put pen to paper with this step. Facing the truth and put it on paper is difficult. Do you a suggestion that I can use?
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:19 PM
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I suggest getting a new sponsor you feel comfortable with and get their guidance.

The steps are meant to be worked with a sponsor.

I got to step 4 with 3 different sponsors. None of them could or were willing to guide me through it. When I asked them to sponsor me none of us realized it would turn out that way, certainly not me. The first one quit me for her personal reasons. The second one admitted she couldnt continue giving be the time I deserved. The third one I found out I'd chosen someone who was not qualified or suitable after going over the first three with her.

I came to realize I needed to take sponsorship more seriously and learned to interview who I was going to put my recovery in the hands of! I had to take an honest look at why I chose the sponsors I had chosen.

I managed to find a sponsor I've had for 2 years now and about to finish all the steps with.

I asked several questions to see if she was suitable and willing to commit as well as trustworthy.

If you'd like to know the questions I asked when considering her, let me know and I will share them with you.

Sincerely,
Missy
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:05 AM
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Missy,

Thanks for the advice I just would like to know those questions they'd come in handy.

Gina
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:07 PM
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A good friend of mine who is an addictions counselor helped me develop this set of questions:

I walk up to them and say
"I am looking for a sponsor and I have some questions I'd like to ask you"

1. Have you worked the 12 steps?
2. How long did it take you?
3. How much recovery time do you have?
4. How many people have you sponsored in the past?
(how many of those made it successfully through all the steps?)
5. What would it take for you to drop a sponsee?
6. What is your perception of sponsorship?
7. Do you have a sponsor
8. Would you be available 24/7?

You can do what ever you like with the answers.

I asked these questions for reasons that may not be obvious to everyone, and that's ok. After using this interview approach I got a sponsor who I've had a great relationship with for almost 3 years now.

Sincerely,
Missy
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:35 PM
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I learned a lot about getting a sponsor by trial and error. It wasn't easy that way. Maybe you won't have to do that. I picked the first one just on the spur of the moment. She suggested that she sponsor me, so I agreed with it. Then she promptly began telling my secrets. So that didn't work.

The next one I got to know a bit first. And she really did try. But she wasn't through the 4th step herself, and she'd been clean for 4 years. I should have got somebody who'd done the steps all the way through at least one time, I learned.

Some other stuff to consider, at least for me, were that this sponsor was in a very different situation than me. She got a year off from work, lived with mom and dad, and only worked on recovery for that whole year. Nice, but not possible for me. So she made suggestions to me like "you cannot miss any days of going to meetings or you will pick up." I had to miss some days, as sometimes my job requires a 16-hour double. So she made me feel guilty when this happened. She even asked me to resign my service position because I worked rotating 3-shift work and couldn't be at home group 1 out of every 3 weeks. She wanted me to quit my job for recovery. I am a single mom with a mortgage and a career that will let me retire with a nice pension in 5 years. I've put a lot of time in here. So that doesn't make sense.

So this time, I looked for a sponsor with at least a couple years clean, didn't gossip about others all the time, had something like a job and maybe kids like me, seemed to have some sense, and had done her steps a time or two with her NA sponsor. For me, I wanted someone that I felt I could easily talk with that I liked being around. I didn't want it to be a punishment every time I called her up. I also sought out a woman who didn't have a ton of other sponsees and had enough time to talk to me most days.

This has worked out great! I love my sponsor, and she recently helped me celebrate my first year clean. I am currently working my forth step, and I'm comfortable thinking about reading it to her. I know she'll be helpful and understanding when I share.

Love,
KJ
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:26 AM
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hey family, i am starting my 4th step today, i am excited to clean house and also scared. i am blessed to have a wonderful sponsor, and to have a clear understanding of what to do. i guess my fear comes in being honest and open with myself. writing is definitely a tool i have used, and do use in my recovery. its helped me through a lot of tough times and a lot of indecision. i tossed and turned last night thinking about EVERYTHING, lol. and thats what this is its everything i thought i was. the lie i lived for so long. to be able to recognize it and then to let it go.....amazing. i guess the part thats not is that question... what will be left? and i was listening to a woman last night share on it and she said something that had a profound affect on me. she said that if you rip all the stuff out to fast you are in danger of riping out some of the good. so take time and write it out re read it see if anything could be an asset and don't forget we DO have assets. and that is really hard to remember but very important to include...its and inventory not just a con list. i thought that was really important for me to hear right b4 starting my 4th step today. and i was also given a timeline to work my 4th step. my sponsor said hey guess what if you forget something you can do it the next go round you will be doing the steps forever. i have two weeks and i am not doing the step working guide she feels it might hold me back on everything i will want to write. i also have to include 5 assets which at first seemed like a lot. either way i would like to hear some experience on the subject. i am excited to know how everyone has done on there 4th. :ghug3 <<HUGS>>
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:05 AM
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grudge list

Red,
The point is to discover and uncover what is defective about my personality. The grudge list (resentment list) is one of those key things, for a couple of reasons.

1) Number one killer

2) Someone said, "Resentment is always a 'justice' issue" but it's usually about what I consider just and unjust about what has happened or is happening to ME.

3) Therefore, Resentment is a manifestation of Self, aka Self Will Run Riot, the root cause of my problem.

Resentments may not be the ONLY manifestation of Self (Ego too large) but they are a biggie.

My experience suggests you will comprehend more as you do, and then when you re-read you will comprehend more of what you have done, which will help you do it more and do it over again, ad infinitum. It's not a one-time shot.

Some people claim that everything you write after your first Step 4 is a Step 10, I think that's a bit too literalist. If it's about some minor incident today, it's Step 10, to me. If it delves into my past, where my minor incident or resentment today is reflected by my patterns in my past, same stuff, then I consider it more like Step 4. I think that's not an important point to bicker about.

My experience was that while writing I saw "oh, THIS is what they mean by 'Self Will Run Riot'" and "oh, THIS is what they mean by 'Ego'" and also "oh, so THIS is what they mean by 'God'", these distinctions were discovered in that writing process. So it became a circular and cyclical process, and not all that rigid, more flow.

Bruce Lee taught something like this. First you punch and kick. Then you learn all kinds of exotic forms ... which are necessary for practice. In the end, it's back to the simplicity of a punch and a kick. Maybe keep that in mind, develop the proficiency of the basics, and take that path where it leads you, not by abandoning the basics but by becoming more proficient and expanding your horizon. I love the basics, AND the more complicated "psycho-babble" so long as it's useful psycho-babble and makes sense in light of the basics, and not misdirection.

Starting with Resentments (and my relationship with people) (and places and things and concepts) and my fears and my sexual relations (terms that God and I feel comfortable with, not necessarily "straight pepper" nor "prude") are the basics, because they reveal "huge chunks" about me to me.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
this sponsor was in a very different situation than me. She got a year off from work, lived with mom and dad, and only worked on recovery for that whole year. Nice, but not possible for me. So she made suggestions to me like "you cannot miss any days of going to meetings or you will pick up." I had to miss some days, as sometimes my job requires a 16-hour double. So she made me feel guilty when this happened. She even asked me to resign my service position because I worked rotating 3-shift work and couldn't be at home group 1 out of every 3 weeks. She wanted me to quit my job for recovery.
KJ,
The people who wrote the (AA) Big Book stated that their involvement was an AVOCATION. That means NOT a JOB. It means like a hobby.

The Program itself is daily work on the Steps, ultimately just living the Steps, a spiritual life. Attending meetings and Twelfth Step Work is an avocation. In the beginning, for some of us, we must choose total immersion, because we are so f'ed up and we're not doing much anyhow. Abandoning our lives to do AA might be preferable to abandoning our lives to do prison, hospital, or gravesite.

However, not all of us are at that point.

I think the Founders met once or twice a week. On the other hand, Bill W was able to take a month or so off work and stay at Bob's house in Akron, before he returned to his home. He had some money and his wife was willing to support him. Bob was a fairly well-off professional, a doctor.

Other people are living on the streets and don't have a "life" to keep them too busy to go to meetings.

A friend of mine with some clean/sober time decided to kick methadone too. She spent about two months on the couch, barely able to walk to the bathroom, no sleep, etc. Her daughter was in high school, semi-self-sufficient.

I think AA/NA sponsors are in error when they try to do recovery like we're some "cult".
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:45 PM
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You guys are digging through the crates, eh? LOL

KJ posted her comments in this thread almost 2 years ago...and not long afterwards, she developed solutions to what was shared here. She hasn't posted here at SR since last December.
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