A Deeper Look at the 12 Steps: Step 4
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
The fourth step along the 12-step journey to sobriety asks us to identify our own weaknesses. Nearly every Alcoholic Anonymous participant will agree—that takes unusual courage and uncommon humility.
Confronting Our Reflection
People drink for many different reasons. A wide array of emotions—fear, guilt, anger, resentment, depression, excitement, impetuousness—egg us on. Only by understanding these emotions and recognizing our frailties can we hope to overcome them. By gazing squarely at our own reflection, we see ourselves as we are and not as we would like to imagine. As soon as we do that, we begin the painful process of reform.
Step 4… This is the moment we face reality head-on. That reality can be disturbing. It can be terrifying. It’s uncomfortable to admit that we’re not only imperfect, but deeply flawed. For some, it is humiliating. We can, of course, take comfort in the fact that we’re not alone, that everyone, particularly other recovering alcoholics, also have their fair share of shortcomings.
We can also remind ourselves of one important fact: A monster that lurks in the dark is far more frightening than one that walks around in the daytime. It is usually the threats we can’t see that pose the greatest danger. In order to correctly assess the situation and respond appropriately, we must first turn on the light. We must confront our failings.
We must ask ourselves the critical questions: What stops us from becoming sober? What character defects or emotions erect a barrier between us and success? What has contributed to our downward spiral? Which relationships are harmful? Starting with the obvious, we gradually make our way to the more obscure.
Taking Responsibility for Our Shortcomings
Unfortunately, pride often stands in the way of honest self-assessment. Self-importance and self-justification block the path forward. Ego hinders progress. Some refuse to believe they have serious character flaws. Many blame alcohol for creating their problems, rather than the other way around. Many of us accuse others of causing, or at least contributing, to our alcoholism. We look everywhere but in the mirror. We point the finger at everyone but ourselves.
Step 4… This is the moment when all excuses fall by the wayside, and we begin to take responsibility for our actions. Fortunately, no A.A. participant has to face the task alone. They have others to lean on, and sponsors to hold them accountable. By taking the first step of finding and entering a treatment center for alcohol rehab in Orange County, we surround ourselves with people who are able and willing to help us on the journey.
The truth can be unsettling, but it can also be liberating. When we begin to shed our old habits and attitudes, when we replace them with healthier ones—that is the moment we begin to untie the chains that bind us to alcohol.
If you need help confronting the burden of alcoholism, call Yellowstone Recovery at 888-941-9048 to learn more about our Orange County rehab centers.