4th Step Column by column

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
Wiganman
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4th Step Column by column

Post by Wiganman »

Hello All. I was taking someone through their 4th step inventory and explaining to them that they fill it in column by column and not go across the sheet left to right.

I was then asked why that was. Other than explaining that's how we are instructed to do it I couldn't give a anymore reasoning.

Does anyone have anymore insight why it is better to do it this way?
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PaigeB
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by PaigeB »

For me it was about seeing patterns.

I was literally sick of being the victim after columns 1 & 2... and after I did 5 or 10 names in the 4th column, I began to get a better picture of my behavior. I went back to some of the 1st few names and added to "my part" when I became aware of more things I was doing.

This is about a calm and measured assessment. I have to know the Truth about what I have in stock - what can be fixed and what has to be thrown out - I need to know what I need to make my business run smoothly and correctly if I am to be effective in the future.

Just as an aside... I needed a lot of encouragement to get finished my 1st time through. I had no experience with some of the promises and the Inventory felt like a useless exercise. I was frequently morose and had no inkling that my dark past might be the key to a new life and happiness for another alcoholic. I never know WHAT is going to help another, so I will want to be searching and fearless and thorough with my Inventory... every nut and bolt needs counted and matched!
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. page 124 BB

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Spirit Flower
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Spirit Flower »

Why?
Because the Big Book does it that way.

I personally didn't do it that way the first time. I wrote out everything; partly because in the 12x12 they have good questions to answer.
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Brock
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Brock »

I am not sure the book actually says we do it that way, not criticizing or disagreeing for disagreement sake, just trying to find an answer to the original question. These are the instructions I see -
In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry…. On our grudge list we set opposite each name our injuries. Was it our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sex relations, which had been interfered with?
It doesn't specify that we put the names first, then put why we are angry, and I don’t see that instruction in the 12 & 12 either, but if I am missing something would like to know. Where it does say we list something separately is the final column, (our part), like this -
We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future. We were prepared to look at it from an entirely different angle.
Maybe some sponsors give the recommendation to list the names first, it might be easier to just list everyone we are pissed off at, without complicating it with why, then come back to the why part after. But on the other hand, if I am thinking about someone who did me wrong, I am not only thinking about his name, at the same time my mind is on what I think he did, so I might as well write it down.

This is a good question to ask, and congratulations on not taking the easy way out, many sponsors would just say ‘that’s the way my sponsor showed me, that’s how I show others,’ without questioning the why. Maybe someone else can give a better answer as to why it’s best done with just names first.
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Spirit Flower
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Spirit Flower »

The table on page 65 is what we are talking about; it shows names first.
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Brock
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Brock »

Yes it shows the name in the first column, then the cause and then how it affects us, three columns. Common sense says we write the name first, but the question is if we go down the page and write all the names, then fill out the other two columns once more going down the page. The original question mentioned this - “...and explaining to them that they fill it in column by column and not go across the sheet left to right.” I am saying that it does not say we mustn't go across left to right after we put the name.
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by tomsteve »

i started writing the resentments and cause. had no clue what it was effecting for a lot of it. if i took the time to go across for every column- beings how my resentment list was a few pages long- i would have been on the 4th for months. the lightbulbs on the effects started happening.

then theres the fear and sex inventory- when i did those it was quite easier as i had more knowledge of what i was lookin for.

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Spirit Flower
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Spirit Flower »

Brock wrote:Yes it shows the name in the first column, then the cause and then how it affects us, three columns. Common sense says we write the name first, but the question is if we go down the page and write all the names, then fill out the other two columns once more going down the page. The original question mentioned this - “...and explaining to them that they fill it in column by column and not go across the sheet left to right.” I am saying that it does not say we mustn't go across left to right after we put the name.
oh, ok, gotcha
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Blue Moon
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Blue Moon »

It doesn't matter. I would be happier to see someone writing an inventory than not writing one. Whether they do it in rows or columns, doesn't really matter.

The "my part" column is the one I would leave until the end. But if some revelation or insight comes to mind while doing the first bit, I'd say write it down.
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by rjr34036 »

I’ve heard the logic behind it is to keep the mind on one thing. So you write all the names/institutions/principles in column one, staying in the frame of mind that these are who you’re resentful with. Then in the second column you keep in the frame of mind of what they did to you...and so on.
Instead of switching from who it was, what they did, what it affected, what mistake I made...who it was, what they did, what it affected...etc.
Hope that makes sense.
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by retired baker »

rjr34036 wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:07 pm
I’ve heard the logic behind it is to keep the mind on one thing. So you write all the names/institutions/principles in column one, staying in the frame of mind that these are who you’re resentful with. Then in the second column you keep in the frame of mind of what they did to you...and so on.
Instead of switching from who it was, what they did, what it affected, what mistake I made...who it was, what they did, what it affected...etc.
Hope that makes sense.
Makes perfect sense.
List means vertical. A list isn't horizontal.
If I write horizontal I could easily rationalize away the names and omit them from inventory.

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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Layne »

What is better for one person, may not be better for another person.

Count from 1 to 10...1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10...1 3 2 5 4 7 6 9 8 10...both achieve the goal.

What numbers from 1 to 10 when multiplied equal 21...3x7...5.25x4...both equal 21.

The goal is what is important. The goal is to work the 4th step.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by retired baker »

Thoroughly have we seen them fail when they rarely follow in our path. =biggrin

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dralius
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by dralius »

I have been working on my inventory since the beginning of the month and made very little progress. I have not been able to list many people, organizations or concepts that I resent. I have spoken to other that have 15 pages of resentments.

I feel like I am doing it wrong. with 2 week remaining to complete it I still have my fears, sex conduct and harm to others lists to do.
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Brock
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Re: 4th Step Column by column

Post by Brock »

You may just be luckier than them, and had the ability to forgive others who hurt you in the past, once you forgive someone, or are hard skinned enough to brush off what others might take more personally, then you will not resent them. But anyone that crosses your mind, and thoughts like ‘that bastard’ or maybe worse enter at the same time, they go on the list.

I suggest putting on the fear list just what you said, fear of not listing many and maybe doing it wrong. In truth we really can’t do it ‘wrong,’ it’s possible your sponsor may question and ask if you are sure there are no more. Also, later in the program like in step 10, we review these things, maybe in a years time you will see somebody, and seeing him or her will remind you of the time they screwed you up, you can handle that then.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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