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 The Fourth Step of Dual Recovery Anonymous*

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Step 3 | Step 5

4. "Made a searching and fearless personal inventory of ourselves."

A core principle behind the Fourth Step is to identify our assets and liabilities for recovery. Things that will help us in dual recovery and the things that will harm our dual recovery. It's an opportunity to start identifying and healing the pain from the past and to stop the progression of our illnesses.

IN OUR OWN WORDS: Members share their thoughts on the Fourth Step

I like DRA's concept of writing out our Assets and Liabilities for recovery. When we get them down on paper we have a list of Strengths or Assets to build our dual recovery on and a list of Liabilities which are targets for personal growth and change. It's really easy for some of us to get into beating ourselves up over this Fourth Step business. That's why when I sponsor somebody and help them with their Fourth Step inventory, I tell them to list one Asset for every Liability they can think of to keep the columns balanced. I don't think being unnecessarily hard on ourselves is working an honest program. Everyone has lots of Assets and they need to practice recognizing them.

I was carrying around a lot of pain and shame from being abused when I was a kid. I wasn't really ready in early recovery to deal with that. It triggered my symptoms in a big way and I kept getting stuck there. I talked to my counselor about it and he suggested that I leave the childhood stuff out of my Fourth Step. To deal with it in therapy latter when I was ready. He said I needed to look fearlessly at myself though, particularly the last few years--with honesty and an attitude of self-care and love. Then he suggested that knowing about this trigger and how it affected my symptoms was an Asset to my recovery.

I had no idea how many resentments I really had. Doing my Fourth Step was a real eye opener. I was blaming lots of people for lots of things but never resolving any issues. Things just kept building up inside. There is a saying that says "resentments are like taking poison and expecting the other person to die." That's exactly how I felt, poisoned by my own resentments.

It took all of the faith and trust I developed in the Program by working the first three Steps, to get enough courage to be honest and really search for the truth about myself in the Fourth Step--to be able to face and walk through my fear--to be able to reach out and ask my sponsor for advice and support. I recommend to anyone that they do the Steps in order. They are numbered for a good reason.

Underneath most of the things I wrote about in my first couple of Fourth Steps was Fear. Once I began to honestly evaluate the various resentments and relationship problems I was writing about, I began to see a pattern. I was a terribly insecure person inside who tried to project the image of a strong secure stoic guy that really didn't need anybody. Inside, a little scared boy--outside, a Clint Eastwood wannabe. I had built a protective wall or facade around my self so no one could get in and hurt me. The other side of that coin was that no one could get in and help me or meet my needs for true bonding, trust, or intimacy.

I had several grudges against people who I was sure had treated me rotten in various personal relationships, but under it all when I properly inventoried my part in the situation, I had been far too demanding of them. I had driven them away by demanding that they make me feel secure and loved. Now I know that's an area I have to keep working on.

The Fourth Step isn't about a list of every bad thing we ever did, though it may start out that way. Mine did, but then I started looking for patterns and so I rewrote my Fourth and grouped items that were of a similar pattern. Under those groupings I tried to distill the particular pattern or defect of character I found down into a line or two. For the most part, it's those patterns, inappropriate coping mechanisms, and mistaken beliefs that I want to discuss with my sponsor in the Fifth Step.

Step 3 | Step 5

*Adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

*The Twelve Steps of AA are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only - use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities that are patterned after AA, but that address other problems, does not imply otherwise. THE FOURTH STEP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS* 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Fellowship Step Discussion Booklet - This is a printable booklet of this Step Discussion section of the web site in Adobe Reader (PDF) file format.

0 The 12 Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous  Introduction
1 We admitted we were powerless over our dual illness of chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2 Came to believe that a Higher Power of our understanding could restore us to sanity.
3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power, to help us to rebuild our lives in a positive and caring way.
4 Made a searching and fearless personal inventory of ourselves.

Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our liabilities and our assets.

6 Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all our liabilities.
7 Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove these liabilities and to help us to strengthen our assets for recovery.
8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10 Continued to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it, while continuing to recognize our progress in dual recovery.
11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power, praying only for knowledge of our Higher Power's will for us and the power to carry that out.
12 Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others who experience dual disorders and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Download PDF Booklet  of this entire Fellowship Discussion portion of the web site on The Twelve Steps of DRA. Adobe Acrobat required


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