Andrea’s Perspective: Step 4

Step 4 of the 12-step recovery program instructs us to make “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

To be honest, that step scared me a little bit. It forced me to think about who I was, the choices I had made, and the role other influences had played in my life.

When I sat down to do this work, I had to think really hard. I’d been in active addiction for 20 years, and for most of that time I had blamed everything – and everyone – else for the state of my life. By the time I got to Step 4, I was willing to acknowledge that I was the one who had made the decisions that got me to this place. I no longer felt I harboured resentment towards anyone else; I was ready and willing to accept that my addiction was because of me. I just didn’t understand what else there was to “unpack.”

Step 4 called on me to really think about what had happened in my life to make me the way I was. It was a long, sometimes painful reflection, and an acknowledgement that many factors had influenced my life. In this step I took a lot of time for myself, and I cried a lot. My sponsor was very encouraging and urged me to keep going. Once I got through it and told her everything I had written down, I felt that a weight was lifted. Ultimately, Step 4 helped me understand myself better. It helped me move ahead.

Today, I’ve finished my steps through Alcoholics Anonymous and I’m able to sponsor others. I currently have two sponsees and am working towards sponsorship in Narcotics Anonymous. I tell everyone starting their recovery journey that the most important thing is not to give up. It’s hard, but it is so worth it. There is truly nothing better than being in recovery and living your best possible life.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email