M(3), 4/14: Taking Stock of Yourself
First Monday meeting back from vacation, and an awesome turnout! Fourteen people, so many attendees that we didn’t have time for everyone to share… that’s a first for us!
Today was a step meeting, we covered Step Four:
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
For a more detailed discussion on this step please read my post The Twelve Steps in Everyday Living, Part Four. Today, the consensus about step four: it is a process that is much, much scarier to anticipate than it is to actually do. My fear prior to taking this step was that I would not be able to do it perfectly, and so, like the good alcoholic I am, I would rather do nothing at all than to do something imperfectly. To which my sponsor said, “Knock it off, pick up the pen, and get writing!” (full disclosure, since my sponsor does read this blog: she probably did not say those words exactly, but definitely something to that effect, I often need a kick in the pants to get started on any new venture!).
Sitting down and taking an honest look at your life is an eye-opening experience. For me, the process of making a searching and fearless moral inventory gave me one of the greatest gifts of sobriety that I treasure to this day: the ability to understand that anything about which I worry, anything that causes me stress, anxiety, anger, anything that disrupts my peace and serenity… the ability to fix what is wrong lies within me. There is no one else to blame, no outside source that can correct it, the responsibility is mine and mine alone.
Had you spoken those words to me prior to making my 4th step inventory, I would have laughed in your face. I mean, come on! Surely there are instances where others are to blame. Well, sure, people make mistakes, people cause hurt and anger, but the bottom line is I am responsible for my feelings. If I am upset, it is my responsibility to accept that which cannot be changed, it is my responsibility to summon the courage to change the things that I can, and it is my responsibility to seek the wisdom to know the difference. Mind-blowing stuff for those of us who liked to self-righteously declare what is wrong with the world!
While the action required in step four is a finite thing (you write down your personal inventory, and you have thus completed the step), the process of self-discovery should be ongoing. As I read through the step this morning, there are a few things on my mind, even with some sober time under my belt, that I realize I could benefit from revisiting the inventory process. And I bet that if I sat down to write a new inventory, I would find some new things, and remember a few things that did not occur to me the first time around. Those in today’s meeting with decades of sobriety agree, and have thus completed the step four inventory numerous times. Self-discovery is a life-long process, and the rewards of getting to your best self are priceless.
Getting back to my Monday meeting after a hiatus: absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder!