Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Nobody likes step four, in fact, more people quit the steps because of fear of step four and most people relapse because they are not doing a portion of step four that is found in a later step. Step four, like it or not, is an essential part of the recovery process. Without it, the steps just don’t work. Step four is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. It’s the step where you find out if you truly want recovery and the new life it brings. The funny part is that step four does not live up to the fear surrounding it. There are different ways to do step four, but most of them involve a chart where you list your grievance, why it bothers you, how it affects you and that column where you state your part in it. Ouch! Right? A good sponsor will give you a pre-determined amount of time to come up with a list. Note: you will most likely do many fourth steps in your life so don’t freak out and try to tackle everything in your life at once. Don’t get upset if you can’t remember everything and for crying out loud, don’t worry about forgetting something because it will not destroy your recovery. That little voice that is telling you that you can’t move forward until you have everything written down is actually your addiction trying to stall you so it can get out of this recovery thing! Don’t listen to it!
What you should do is make the list the best you can. Ask your Higher Power to bring out the important things and trust that what comes out is what you are supposed to hash over with your sponsor at this time. I can tell you that my first fourth step was definitely not all - encompassing. I left a lot of stuff off by accident. Some of it, I believe, was because I needed to deal with certain stuff before I could deal with the rest. I also believe that as we grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.. we begin to see things that we couldn’t see back at the beginning of our journey which makes it impossible to get every person, place and thing in one swoop. Whatever your Higher Power brings to mind during your fourth step time frame - write it down on the chart, work it out, hash it out and learn from it. Don’t worry about what you can’t remember and trust that what you do remember is there for a reason.
I would also like to remind you that you get out of the steps exactly what you put into them. The same is true with everything in life, whether it is your on-going recovery, a relationship or a job - you get out what you put into it so do your best with the steps, but don’t get paranoid about it. Keep contact with your Higher Power trusting He or She to guide you along your recovery journey. Step four is where it all really begins…. Steps 1 through 3 were prep work for what is to come. Stay the course and keep your why in the front of your mind. And get excited… Everyone says the magic happens somewhere between step four and step 12…