By Stacey Kennedy, Renascent Addictions Counsellor
Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
There was a lot of fear in learning about Steps 4 and 5, in that I would have to share all of the things I had done wrong with another human being. I was full of guilt and shame already and didn’t want to dredge up bad memories and possibly be judged for these behaviours. This was a barrier to even getting a sponsor because I knew I would have to share these things. I was forgetting living one day at a time, and that there were three steps ahead of this.
Each step is a process to prepare for the next, and I was putting the cart before the horse. By starting with Step 1 and meeting with my sponsor each week, I was beginning to build a relationship and build trust as we shared our experiences each time we met. By the time we reached Step 4, I was feeling more comfortable with my sponsor and felt that I would be met with love and acceptance.
Beginning to write out my fears and those I had harmed DID bring up a lot of bad memories, but it was also the beginning of the process of understanding myself. I learned why I reacted the way I did when met with certain challenges, based on my past experiences. I began to look at these old messages and core beliefs that had been playing in my head for years, and started to challenge them. I began to see how these fears had affected my relationships and behaviours, and held me back from moving forward. Throughout this process I was truly able to understand myself and have hope that there was a healthier way to manage.
My sponsor was in her 80’s, so when it came to Step 5, I was a bit worried that I was going to “blow her way” with some of the things I did and the consequences of my behaviours. I found that the process was not so one-sided and there was mutual sharing and conversation. My fear of judgment melted away when my sponsor shared some of her experiences and ended up “blowing ME away.”
I was able to begin to trust and feel love and acceptance from another human being who really “got me.” This also helped her better understand my fears and patterns so she could call me out in the future when she recognized old behaviours rearing their ugly head.
This all led me to Step 6, which gave me the ability to see hope that I could grow and improve and be free of guilt and shame of the past. I was able to see that just because I did “bad things” didn’t mean I was a bad person but a “sick” person, in my addictive addiction. I was able to separate my “addictive” self from my “real” self.
Step 6 gave me a guide to begin living my values again, which had been hijacked by my addiction. It taught me that when I begin to run the show and try to control everything because of fear, I fall back into selfish behaviours. However, if I live by the program, God’s Will for me, and my Values, I can get through anything life throws at me, and I no longer have to do it alone.