The Fourth Step - Going Through your Baggage

Now that you have realigned yourself with your higher power’s will for your life, it is time to review the events and catastrophes

which preceded this shift in lifestyle. The fourth step is an opportunity for you to lay all your cards on the table. Every indiscretion you ever committed, every wrong which is still weighing on your mind, every transgression which resulted in harm to yourself or someone else, all these events should find their way onto your fourth step lists. Here are a few things to remember as you begin to get your fourth step down on paper.

Many addicts in early recovery are terrified of completing a fourth step, as the guilt and shame surrounding their past behavior feels overwhelming and impossible to face. If this is how you are feeling, have a conversation with your sponsor and ask them to provide some examples of items which were on their fourth step. Explain you are feeling a great deal of guilt and shame regarding your old behaviors, and your sponsor will be more than happy to demonstrate that you are not the only person in the rooms of recovery who has committed some deplorable acts. You may even find your sponsor committed the same bad act which you are feeling most guilty about!

Another common issue among those attempting their fourth step involves getting hung up on the idea of fully and completely working this step. Our minds are complicated and fickle when it comes to memory, and you cannot possibly expect to remember everything you have done in the past while under the influence. Do not stress out about leaving anything off of your fourth step - so long as you do not do so intentionally! Anything weighing on your mind will obviously make the list, and if later on you have a sudden recollection of a bad behavior which did not make your fourth step, you have a good reason to go through your steps again!

It is common for those in early recovery to get bogged down in their fourth step, either out of a fear of confronting their shameful past or a concern about leaving items off of their inventory. Neither of these is a valid reason to avoid moving through your fourth step, and “sitting on your fourth” has led many an addict and alcoholic to regress into old behaviors and, eventually, relapse. At Evolutions, we understand the importance of getting through your fourth step in a timely manner, which is why our alumni program checks in our its members progress in their step work. If you are a graduate of Evolutions and are not currently engaged in our alumni program, reach out and get involved today so we can help hold you accountable in your step work progress!