“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
Resentments represent one of the defining characteristics of the problem drinker/drug user that must be addressed if long-term sobriety is ever to be achieved. Resentment is defined as feeling bitter indignation for having been treated unfairly. The definition of resentment can even be shortened to simply reliving.
The alcoholic/drug addict carries bitter resentments throughout life, that when left unchecked- almost certainly always provide the greatest roadblock to recovery. While most newcomers in sobriety fear these two steps more than the rest, the reward of completing these steps thoroughly is more often than not freedom from the bondage of these lifelong resentments.
The Fourth Step
The fourth step is used to begin tackling these lifelong resentments. The “searching and fearless moral inventory” begins simply with a list of names and a brief description of the resentments one has against those people. This is the easy part.
The difficult part, that gives the step its reputation for being so difficult – the newcomer then is expected to honestly attempt to find his or her own role in the situation that caused the resentment. As difficult as the task may seem, without exception, we were able to find a role or fault we had in each situation that led to resentment.
The Fifth Step
Once a thorough fourth step has been created, it is time to move on to the fifth step. The fifth step requires the newcomer to read his or her fourth step to their sponsor. This is certainly no small task. The thought of reading one’s deepest secrets to another human being is enough to scare just about anyone. But it is through this action that we first start to see the true power of the twelve steps.
First, we find that many of our deepest resentments, once brought to the light, were in fact simply petty resentments blown out of proportion after years of anger. Second, we realize that our deepest resentments typically are not all that unique – that our sponsors have usually gone through similar situations as us. Third, we see that most of these resentments resulted from our own deep-seeded fears and character defects. Thus, we also had a role in each of the situations that occurred.
While the goal of the fourth and fifth step is to deal with the resentments that have kept us sick, we, in fact, gain much more than just that. The fourth and fifth steps give us an understanding and insight into ourselves that we previously have never had. We learn our character defects, which help us to prevent catching the same resentments again in the future. While the fourth and fifth step deserve the fear that is associated with them, the reward far outweighs the difficulty in completing them.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.