I faced Step Four with some trepidation, but my sponsor did not allow time for irrational fear to take over. He had me begin “spontaneous writing” immediately after we prayed the Third Step Prayer. I was instructed to ask God to help me write down where I had been selfish, dishonest, resentful, or afraid. This process lasted about a week.
At our next meeting, we used my list to follow (read and do) the clear-cut Step Four directions from Big Book. This session took only an hour or so—there was no reason for my previous apprehension.
When finished, I was amazed by the many unsuspected “rewards” I had received! I had learned how to face and be rid of resentment and irrational fear. What great rewards! I also learned (admitted) where I had harmed others through my selfishness and how my dishonesty was more prevalent than realized. Also, I had a list of persons I had harmed for upcoming Steps Eight and Nine.
I had asked God to relieve me of the “bondage of self” in Step Three but had little knowledge of what that bondage was. Step Four provided the answer! Not only had I truthful information to share with my sponsor in Step Five, but I then possessed a list of character defects and shortcomings to ask God remove in Steps Six and Seven!
These rewards were not only helpful in my daily living but also paved the path to the many powerful AA promises. The main of which is on page 85: “The problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” The “problem” was, of course, the mental obsession, not the physical allergy. This release from desire to drink alcohol has been with me for many years, thanks to the rewards of Step Four.
By Bob S.