Step 4 issues

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Re: Step 4 issues

Postby desypete » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:08 pm

Patsy© wrote:
Soberguy27 wrote:So, recently I have been hearing of people who get to the 4th step then stop and end up going out. I have many people talk about why some people do this. I believe that step 4 isn't the problem. I believe if you are going out after doing step 4 it's because you haven't fully accepted step 1. I am.curious to hear from you as to what you think the reason is for some folks going out after step 4. I realize that each case is different so it would be hard to be exact but your thoughts would be appreciated. I will be meeting up with a new sponcee tomorrow night who breifly told me this was an issue for him.


Hi Soberguy,

I had no clue that I had no clue, that an obsession of the mind (a thought that overcomes all other thoughts) was absolutely running the show. This obsession of the mind for alcohol told me what I would be "thinking", what I would be saying, what I would be doing, where I would be going, with who, what time I would be coming home, or if I would be coming home at all. This obsession of the mind, insured that I would pick up that first sucker drink, and when I put that first drink into my body, I had no clue that it was the first drink that set up a physical compulsion for MORE, and that I would continue to drink until I was drunk, sick and out of control,..... again, and again and again and again...... because I had lost the ability to choose to NOT drink.

My life being unmanageable wasn't so clear in this alkie's mind.

Then this wonderful AA member who took me to my very first AA meeting, asked me one question. He asked:

"Patsy, can you predict with any certainty, on any given occasion, how much you will drink or what will happen to you after you take the first drink of alcohol?"


In my experience admitting and accepting are two entirely different things.
Acceptance doesn't mean to put up with or to just take it, it means to take a really good look at REALITY, what IS, and then make a decision about what I can do or not do about it for me. So I did what was suggested, I didn't drink, I kept coming and asked for help.

On page 63 and 64 in the Big Book there is vital information regarding the 3 steps before Step 4:

"Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four."


In my own experience, if someone goes out at or after Step 4....then they never had Step One, Step Two or Step Three and I guide them back to Step One.


excellent description pasty one i fully understand and relate with

its a simple truth that i can not predict with any certainty, on any given occasion, how much you will drink or what will happen to you after you take the first drink of alcohol?
the truth is i am very lucky i have not killed anyone once i took a drink
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:30 am

Its amazing, how many just think powerlessness is about losing control after they take that first drink. True one powerlessness is, going cookoo before that act. And then being blind sighted and ending up taking that first one, If we are not spiritually fit.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby positrac » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:31 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Its amazing, how many just think powerlessness is about losing control after they take that first drink. True one powerlessness is, going cookoo before that act. And then being blind sighted and ending up taking that first one, If we are not spiritually fit.

Agreed, and another aspect is that my self-centeredness would add another layer to that point you make because it is all about me! Seriously blinders limit everything and lack of spiritually.
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby clouds » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:03 am

My biggest blinder is ego blindness, pride is an ___.
" we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives..... probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism." page60 A.A.
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby desypete » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:13 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Its amazing, how many just think powerlessness is about losing control after they take that first drink. True one powerlessness is, going cookoo before that act. And then being blind sighted and ending up taking that first one, If we are not spiritually fit.


funny enough it amazes me that anyone has control once they take that first drink ? what is that all about ? how on earth can anyone function etc and not end up in a drunken mess ? how do they not end up in police cells ? how do they not end up destroying all around them ? how do they manage to take that first drink and control mr hyde ?
yet they seem to be experts on what powerless is all about ? as they can some how control themselves once they take the first drink
the dr jekel mr hyde side doesn't seem to be part of there alcoholism yet its there written in the book describing a real alcoholic.

maybe they just choose to ignore that part of the book as maybe its something they can not id with ?

the whole world makes plans for drinking and enjoying there drink, the whole world thinks about drinking at the weekends etc there is nothing alcoholic about that as its human nature
the difference is the effect booze has on an alcoholic as an alcoholic has NO off switch normal drinkers can stop and not end up in drunken heaps

that is just the drinking side of this illness and how it effects alcoholics like me
i know i am powerless in all things but the fact is its the drink that brought me to the rooms of aa and the mess and destruction that went with it

i know many dont come to aa in such a mess as i did so they can have no experience of it all,. i only wish i could of to but sadly that wasn't to be my journey.
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:27 pm

Nobody is disputing the part about losing control after we take that 1st drink. But the alcoholic forgets the consequences and goes back to it. Thats the part we are talking about. Page 23 thru 25 talks about mind being the problem of the alcoholic.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:03 am

Here is a classic.

Wake with a head full of guilt and shame, wondering what I said to my children
On the phone last night, finding remnants of high carb food that I didn't remember eating,
And vowing not to hit repeat and do it all over again today. I am so amazed with how much more productive, creative and even kind I am without drinking. Knowing all this and much more, I still am perplexed with why I still encounter those blind spots that try to convince me I can drink like a "normal" person. It's those blind spots I want to eradicate
From my psyche. I am headed to visit my daughter today in another part of the state.
We're always good for a couple bottles of wine. Not this time. I'm going armed with my decaf and seltzer.
Wish me strength. I've got this! I wish you all that same strength


Unfortunately this person wants to do it on their own. They will repeat this experiment until they realize they need some external help or go dying.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby desypete » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:07 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Here is a classic.

Wake with a head full of guilt and shame, wondering what I said to my children
On the phone last night, finding remnants of high carb food that I didn't remember eating,
And vowing not to hit repeat and do it all over again today. I am so amazed with how much more productive, creative and even kind I am without drinking. Knowing all this and much more, I still am perplexed with why I still encounter those blind spots that try to convince me I can drink like a "normal" person. It's those blind spots I want to eradicate
From my psyche. I am headed to visit my daughter today in another part of the state.
We're always good for a couple bottles of wine. Not this time. I'm going armed with my decaf and seltzer.
Wish me strength. I've got this! I wish you all that same strength


Unfortunately this person wants to do it on their own. They will repeat this experiment until they realize they need some external help or go dying.


sadly its true they will go on until they decide they can not do it anymore or of course die

just like i had to and you had to and everyone of us had to, we all had to carry on until we couldn't carry on anymore

the good news is when they do decide to give in aa will be there for them with the doors wide open
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby clouds » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:21 am

=biggrin
" we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives..... probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism." page60 A.A.
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Re: Step 4 issues

Postby PaigeB » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:11 am

highcostofliving wrote:As someone who is very new to sobriety, AA and the steps... I'm about to start step 4 for the first time... my struggle at first was not paying steps 1,2, and 3 lip service.... I kept telling myself I was powerless and things were unmanigable... but did i trully believe that or did I trully know what that entailed? I didn't until a few days ago... and step 3... if you're a true Agnostic or Atheist like myself... I couldn't just up and say ok, today I believe in an HP... or actually I 'said' it to myself many times.. but it wasn't in earnest, it was simply because I had to in order to be 'in the program'.... and so now that I'm about to begin this 4th step, as I think about some of the things this step and other upcoming steps will entail... I see so much added drama coming my way, that it feels less helpful to my sobriety. I mean, it's a lot of these things that got me into this mess, right? Do I really need to make amends to an ex wife I haven't spoken to in years? Or dig up old things.... for the first three steps, I kept telling myself to just say the words... and now I'm doing it with step 4, I'm trying to believe in the successes of others in AA, and I'm hoping that I can find the same..... but as I begin and look at this, and stare down the road of what's to come in the next few steps... I find myself constantly asking - how on earth can this be a good idea? and if this doesn't work, won't I be making a much larger mess for myself... if life is unmanageable right now, what'll it be like after I kick open some old doors?

This isn't meant to be about me, but thought maybe the insight of someone just about to start this step offered a glimpse into the question of why someone would step out at step 4.... I feel like I'm holding back right now... and I am having serious discussions with myself about this step (more importantly the steps beyond)... at this point, I feel like this is the true commitment stage to the program, once I open that box, especially to other people.... well, I can't really put it back in there....

Thanks for reading!

Sounds you you are right where I am! But I am at Step 3, not yet at Step 4. Perhaps you need to go back a Step? BUT DO NOT STOP! Please know that I too am an atheist/agnostic. I have been through the Steps once, had a spiritual experience such as is described in the Appendix of the BB and I have 8 years+ of continuous sobriety.

Here's what I wrote earlier today in the e-aa Daily Reflections Forum.
“So why can't you forgive yourself?”.

I am going through the Steps again, with the habit of soul searching sorta built in from my first run through the Steps. It is proving to be very enlightening and a bit painful. At 8 years, I am preparing for a Decision in the 3rd Step and I am scheduled to take the 3rd Step with my sponsor soon. I am an atheist/agnostic who did indeed have a spiritual experience as a result of taking the 12 Steps the first time through. Obviously I did them correctly to the best of my ability. Then my program stagnated and, though I was doing everything I had done before and more, I was near miserable. I had a purpose it seemed, but it was like saying the ABC's without the singing. Was this really all there was to Life?

I do not want to be a hypocrite to either my HP or to my intellect. The words, "We thought well before taking this Step..." means something different to me Now. So I am taking time to sit with the decision in many situations beyond book learning. No rush, lol. It has been a few years since I gave this Step any new thought. I am practicing being humble, honest, open-minded and willing. I am, or am I really ready to surrender to whatever this program, my HP and my Life want me to do? It is a new song for me and I am practicing. I am open to a new experience.

Sounds rough but it feels good and it seems like the next right thing. Thomas Merton reminds me that I do not know where I am going and that is ok. In fact, for an egomaniac like me, that is a pretty good place to be!

So Fear NOT! This program works if you work it - and keep working it. Like Positrac says, sometimes we get to write more inventory later... I get to redo ALL the Steps again. What we are looking for is a new experience, one that I had (just as the BB promises) as a result of working these Steps. We can only work them to the best of our ability.

Be fearless and thorough and keep Stepping.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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