Many people when working their 12-steps, whether it be in A.A., N.A. or any other addiction recovery program, seem to get caught up the 4th step. When this happens their recovery plateaus or even stalls. The dreaded 4th step as it’s often referred to is the first step that requires one to do quite a bit of work and can be time consuming. Some people are simply weary of conjuring up negative events and dwelling on them once again. However, if a 4th step is done properly, this should be that last time one views past events and resentments in the same light.
It’s because of the aforementioned and perceived negative light cast on the 4th step people pause for a sometimes too long. Taking time to do a thorough 4th step is one thing but pausing out of fear is simply perpetrating old behaviors that don’t typically serve us well. Addicts are driven by a hundred forms of fear. So, to allow fear to hinder us during this 12 step process to addiction recovery we are not changing. Change; we are told in addiction recovery, there is only one thing we have to change and that is everything. If we pause too long, one week turns into two and two weeks turn into a month, and before we know it we have stumbled once again. If we are lucky, we survive to start the 12 step process over again.
We all think we are unique until we come into the rooms of recovery. It’s an amazing and comforting feeling to hear another addict/alcoholic share their story in a meeting or therapy session when it feels like they are telling our own story. We are all driven by one form of fear or another, we are not unique. By witnessing the change in others that have gone before us, hopefully we can now muster up the courage to take the same steps they have already successfully taken.
Through our own brokenness and having now seen the transformation of others just like us, we are now ready to take certain steps. And the 4th step, as big, hard and scary as it may seem is one of those steps. As with all other areas of our lives, we blow things out of proportion, we turn molehills into mountains. Things are never as we perceive them to be. Contempt prior to investigation will no longer serve the sick and suffering addict/alcoholic. We have to take a leap of faith and trudge forward in seeking peace and serenity through the 12 steps of addiction recovery.
So for those who are stuck on the 4th step, grab a pen and paper and continue moving forward. We should follow our sponsors lead. As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, we will be amazed before we are half-way through. A life beyond our wildest dreams is waiting for us, we should not let the 4th step slow us down.