from "Daily Reflections" by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

Posts tagged ‘Fourth Step’

“Hold Nothing Back”

The real tests of the situation are your own willingness to confide and your full confidence in the one with whom you share your first accurate self-survey. . . . Provided you hold back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. As the pain subsides, a healing tranquility takes its place. ~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 61-62

A tiny kernel of locked-in feelings began to unfold when I first attended A.A. meetings and self-knowledge then became a learning task for me. This new self-understanding brought about a change in my responses to life’s situations. I realized I had the right to make choices in my life, and the inner dictatorship of habits slowly lost its grip.

I believe that if I seek God I can find a better way to live and I ask Him daily to assist me in living a sober life. 

 

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Cleaning House

Somehow, being alone with God doesn’t seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person. Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. ~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 60

It wasn’t unusual for me to talk to God, and myself, about my character defects. But to sit down, face to face, and openly discuss these intimacies with another person was much more difficult. I recognized in the experience, however, a similar relief to the one I had experienced when I first admitted I was an alcoholic. I began to appreciate the spiritual significance of the program and that this Step was just an introduction to what was yet to come in the remaining seven Steps. 

Lighting the Dark Past

Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have—the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. ~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 124

No longer is my past an autobiography; it is a reference book to be taken down, opened and shared. Today as I report for duty, the most wonderful picture comes through. For, though this day be dark— as some days must be—the stars will shine even brighter later. My witness that they do shine will be called for in the very near future. All my past will this day be a part of me, because it is the key, not the lock. 

The Bondage of Resentments

. . . harboring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit. ~ AS BILL SEES IT, p. 5

It has been said, “Anger is a luxury I cannot afford.” Does this suggest I ignore this human emotion? I believe not. Before I learned of the A.A. program, I was a slave to the behavior patterns of alcoholism. I was chained to negativity, with no hope of cutting loose.

The Steps offered me an alternative. Step Four was the beginning of the end of my bondage. The process of “letting go” started with an inventory. I needed not be frightened, for the previous Steps assured me I was not alone. My Higher Power led me to this door and gave me the gift of choice. Today I can choose to open the door to freedom and rejoice in the sunlight of the Steps, as they cleanse the spirit within me. 

“The Number One Offender”

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. ~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 64

As I look at myself practicing the Fourth Step, it is easy to gloss over the wrong that I have done, because I can easily see it as a question of “getting even” for a wrong done to me. If I continue to relive my old hurt, it is a resentment and resentment bars the sunlight from my soul. If I continue to relive hurts and hates, I will hurt and hate myself. After years in the dark of resentments, I have found the sunlight. I must let go of resentments; I cannot afford them.