Step by Step
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017
” …(W)e launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
“Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Ch 5 (“How It Works”), pp 64-5.
Today, the “vigorous action” of the Fourth Step cannot and should not be done in one sitting. In our impatience and zeal to get sober, we risk skirting the depth of some steps, and the Fourth is vulnerable. Without depth and absolute honesty, and neglecting to come to terms with some issues identified in our moral housecleaning, the benefit and effectiveness of subsequent steps may be less than what they could and should be. I am required to submit to Step Four and honestly assess both my character defects and attributes. But I should not expect that I can honestly compile a thorough list in one attempt, particularly when identifying the “causes and conditions” of which alcohol was “but a symptom.” After all, those defects will likely still be there tomorrow if I need a break today from the “vigorous action” that the Fourth requires. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017