Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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PaigeB wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:31 am
Seva wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:46 am This 'our part' theory can be soul-destroying when we have been hurt by people by no fault of our own such as child abuse. How do you ask someone to look for their part in something horrific such as abuse.
I hear this a lot so I want to respond. Not because I think you are wrong or right, but to share my experience.

My sponsor said for me to Know that some people are just azzholes. LOL - laughing but serious. I mean, how SICK does a person have to be to hurt a child? I do not have to forgive so much as accept this is part of the psyche that now drives me. I cannot turn my head because it is ugly and to continue to actively blame them is ruinous.

My Part? I had no part - I was a child. Powerless. I am STILL powerless. I am powerless against changing the past. I cannot change it. (I have heard that a resentment is hoping we can change the outcome of an event.)BUT I DO NEED self knowledge. How do I act when I feel threatened? When I feel my life is at risk? "Well, this gal fights. I was taught and fully believe I better swing first. I will hit you with my cane! I will trip you or find another weapon" SEE? I get violent! I fight like I could not when I was a child. To ignore this is to continue hurt others. I do not want THAT I do not want to give my abuser power over me anymore. But I don't have to act like a bar brawler anymore. I am safe and protected. I can realize the Truth of the Now and Pause when agitated. I can breathe in God and act with sanity and integrity.

I hope someone finds this helpful.
I often pondered on this as well (from my own experience as a child). Is the "My part" hanging onto the resentment or anger towards this person?
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Theo50 wrote: Thu Aug 26, 2021 12:47 pm
PaigeB wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:31 am
Seva wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:46 am This 'our part' theory can be soul-destroying when we have been hurt by people by no fault of our own such as child abuse. How do you ask someone to look for their part in something horrific such as abuse.
I hear this a lot so I want to respond. Not because I think you are wrong or right, but to share my experience.

My sponsor said for me to Know that some people are just azzholes. LOL - laughing but serious. I mean, how SICK does a person have to be to hurt a child? I do not have to forgive so much as accept this is part of the psyche that now drives me. I cannot turn my head because it is ugly and to continue to actively blame them is ruinous.

My Part? I had no part - I was a child. Powerless. I am STILL powerless. I am powerless against changing the past. I cannot change it. (I have heard that a resentment is hoping we can change the outcome of an event.)BUT I DO NEED self knowledge. How do I act when I feel threatened? When I feel my life is at risk? "Well, this gal fights. I was taught and fully believe I better swing first. I will hit you with my cane! I will trip you or find another weapon" SEE? I get violent! I fight like I could not when I was a child. To ignore this is to continue hurt others. I do not want THAT I do not want to give my abuser power over me anymore. But I don't have to act like a bar brawler anymore. I am safe and protected. I can realize the Truth of the Now and Pause when agitated. I can breathe in God and act with sanity and integrity.

I hope someone finds this helpful.
I often pondered on this as well (from my own experience as a child). Is the "My part" hanging onto the resentment or anger towards this person?
In my opinion you had no part in the resentment. What any child suffers of that nature is horrific and the perpetrator is very very sick! Even holding onto the resentment is not your part, it's a natural instinct. Before you came to AA you had no other method of dealing with the resentment. Hanging onto it after taking the Steps would be your part as in not using the steps to deal with the resentment. That's not to say when you looked at your harms to others you didn't hurt this person and maybe the resentment fuelled the harms done to this person. However, as the Big Book instructs us to do we have to put out of our minds the wrongs (resentments) others have done and look for our own mistakes with that person. You may have hurt this person because of what he/she did but that is still a wrong. We are 100% responsible for our actions and reactions and other's are 100% responsible for their actions and reactions.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Related to abuse received as a child…my response is my part would be simply existing, breathing, being in the room. I played no part other than being present. This particular type of resentment requires forgiveness…not necessarily for the behavior, but for the pain that followed.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by Buckeye1988 »

Dewms,

Well, it depends on if we're resentful at the abuse. I've been abused by a few people as a child and some of them I could just see that they were sick.

But if I'm having a resentment towards that person, then I need to get the story out on paper in a three column inventory as to how they hurt me. Then I need to write a Fourth Column, by putting them out of my mind and look for my own mistakes. Not what I'm angry about. Not not what I'm angry about either but in the whole relationship, have I done things that weren't helpful for me.

I've seen some inventory sheets, Joe and Charlie for example where they put the three columns on the front, but then a fourth column on the front also.
If im trying to put out out of my mind the story what the other person did and look for my mistakes it doesn't help if im still looking at the story of how they wronged me.

It's better to just write the three columns out on a sheet of paper, and on the back of the sheet already have the questions written out: where was I selfish dishonest self seeking and frightened

That way I can physically flip the sheet over and now I'm not looking at the story of how they wronged me.

There are some great worksheets and a workshop that covers this at aabythebook dot org if you are interested.

Because the whole point of this is to put them out of my mind. Remember the book talks about how our disease centers in our minds?

Do I want compassion and forgiveness for the things I've done out of my addiction line stealing money out of granmdas purse etc.? Yeah, I do.

Then I'm going to have to give that to others, because I'm judging myself as harshly as I judge others.

When I say forgive I don't mean in the traditional sense, because then I just end up pardoning them. I'm talking about seeing them differently. By seeing my mistakes I'll be better able to see others as innocent and ultimately see myself as innocent.

This is about having a transformation of mind and if im not having a transformation of mind towards myself, and others then I'm missing something. I still have the resentment.

I used to do things like manipulate some people I was resentful at who had hurt me when I was a kid. Or I would be sarcastic to them when they were around and try to use them and I justified it. But I would always end up feeling guilty but not sure why. Well, it's because I was hurting myself. I was looking at there part.

But when when I was able to put them out of my mind entirely I could see not my part, but where I had made mistakes. Mistakes that were hurting me not them.

You know i think some abusers will let you use them because I think they temporarily feel like it's letting them off the hook.

Parents in alanon do this all the time, even if they didn't actually abuse the kid but the kid is an addict. The parent feels like it's all their fault and that they should be able to fix the kid. The kid sees this and uses it.

Although I believe that growing up in an alanon or alcoholic home affects everyone to some degree. To some degree the whole family is sick.

The way out of this? Look for our own mistakes and put out of our mind the wrongs others have done.Pg 67 3d paragraph[/u]

"The first thing ap­parent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got."
Ch. 5 Top of Pg. 66
Last edited by Buckeye1988 on Fri Aug 27, 2021 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Theo50 wrote: Thu Aug 26, 2021 12:47 pm
PaigeB wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:31 am
Seva wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:46 am This 'our part' theory can be soul-destroying when we have been hurt by people by no fault of our own such as child abuse. How do you ask someone to look for their part in something horrific such as abuse.
My Part? I had no part - I was a child. Powerless. I am STILL powerless. I am powerless against changing the past. I cannot change it. (I have heard that a resentment is hoping we can change the outcome of an event.)BUT I DO NEED self knowledge. How do I act when I feel threatened? When I feel my life is at risk? "Well, this gal fights. I was taught and fully believe I better swing first. I will hit you with my cane! I will trip you or find another weapon" SEE? I get violent! I fight like I could not when I was a child. To ignore this is to continue hurt others. I do not want THAT I do not want to give my abuser power over me anymore. But I don't have to act like a bar brawler anymore. I am safe and protected. I can realize the Truth of the Now and Pause when agitated. I can breathe in God and act with sanity and integrity.

I hope someone finds this helpful.
I often pondered on this as well (from my own experience as a child). Is the "My part" hanging onto the resentment or anger towards this person?
Yes - my part is hanging onto the resentment. I am safe and protected now and certain in the knowledge that I played NO PART in the abuse - I can go directly to HOW DO I ACT NOW when I feel powerless and/or threatened? How do I act when I am in fear of anything? Do I need to look at how this affected my current sex life? Will this AA 4th Step activity (and the subsequent Steps) heal the CURRENT BEHAVIORS? DO I need outside for some things? I came to the point where I blamed the other - but I need to go further. I can pray & meditate for an inspirational thought or can I dive right into activity helping others?

Soon after getting through my 1st 4th & 5th, I signed up to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care. We were all assigned one family. I helped for as long as I could, but did end up dropping out when the troubled child turned 18. The case would have likely closed very soon after that. But I left because my resentments were FULL ON in my face and I was to the point of no longer being helpful. In fact, I might have caused harm to myself or others (legally). Turns out that the child services were much as they had always been - even though a generation of people had changed. I hadn't changed though. I had homicidal fantasy thinking, I thought I was better than, I thought I SHOULD be something I am not among other things - many things - thoughts raged constantly again. My behavior was the same too - passive aggression spotted my whole life, I was prey to misery and depression and angry outbursts. I was very very close to drinking and one time RAN off to a noon meeting because I thought I might just go ahead and go get drunk. I was powerless and hopeless again.

I survived the events without a drink. I wished I would NOT have taken on the service I was SOO sure I would be good at. But I did - and I did not fail because I learned somethings. Somethings about MYSELF. I already knew that there were flaws in the system and that I was powerless to change it. I was also currently powerless to change the system and because of resentments I COULD NOT act in a manner that might have changed what I could. I was cut off from the Sunlight of the Spirit. In the end, I learned the difference between what I could change and what I could not change. ME was all I could change and all I would ever be able to change. And oh boy! Did I NEED HELP!?!!!
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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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Buckeye1988 wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 10:08 am It's better to just write the three columns out on a sheet of paper, and on the back of the sheet already have the questions written out: where was I selfish dishonest self seeking and frightened

That way I can physically flip the sheet over and now I'm not looking at the story of how they wronged me.

There are some great worksheets and a workshop that covers this at aabythebook dot org if you are interested.

Because the whole point of this is to put them out of my mind. Remember the book talks about how our disease centers in our minds?

Do I want compassion and forgiveness for the things I've done out of my addiction line stealing money out of granmdas purse etc.? Yeah, I do.

"The first thing ap­parent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got."
Ch. 5 Top of Pg. 66
This thread has been so helpful to me. I am sure it has helped others as well.
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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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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We're not looking for parts. And hanging on to a resentment isn't a part.

Oh jeezus.

We're looking to see where have we been selfish, not in the thing we are angry at, not not in the thing we are angry at either but in the whole relationship.

What are you going to do, go to your abuser and make amends for having a resentment towards them for abusing you??

Hi, you raped me and I got angry about it so Im here to apologize for being angry?. :lol: that's the most absurd thing I've heard in my life!

Look, a resentment is born out of selfishness and self seeking and fearful behavior.

I'm resentful at
My dad
The cause
He tried to sexually assault me
He destroyed all trust I had
I repressed the memory and it altered my life negatively
This affects
Every area of my life.

Puting out of my minds the wrongs others have done I looked for my own mistakes
Where had I been selfish dishonest self seeking and frightened?

I had a girlfriend at the time, (I was 12) my dad didn't want me to have a girlfriend, but my mom said it was OK. I didn't live with my mom only visited her. She tried to play me against my dad by undermining his rules. He didn't want to have to discuss the facts of life with me but I was becoming physically involved with my gal.

I continued to have her as a girlfriend disobeying my dad.

Forced by my mom to discuss the facts of life with me he got drunk and he tried to sexually assault me while discussing it.

This affected my life but look, where had I made mistakes??

I played my Mom against my dad in order to date girls.

This theme of playing my mom against my dad or using my mom to get what i wanted followed me a lot through life but it was damaging. My Mom let me drink my dad didn't. Etc.

So forgetting what my dad did to me. Forget that right now. During the inventory find some useful information ABOUT MY LIFE AND BEHAVIOR AND I STOPPED DOING IT. Not because it was right or wrong, it just wasn't useful.(Playing people against each other to get what I want)

Also I see that had my mom and I never put my dad in that position perhaps he wouldn't have done anything. Maybe he would have I don't know. He's a sick man. It doesn't matter to me anymore.

Having written this I see I have a resentment towards my mom. I write that out.

It doesn't make what my dad did right. But it no longer has the power over me. I see the exact nature of my wrongs; I see a character defect too that isn't serving me, playing not just my mom but other people against each other in life is not helpful but I would never have seen that in a million years or that it was adversely affecting me.

People don't like that in life when they are being used and manipulated against each other for my gain.

Now you might say that's common sense but not when your an alcoholic like me it isn't.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Buckeye1988 wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 10:08 am I've seen some inventory sheets, Joe and Charlie for example where they put the three columns on the front, but then a fourth column on the front also.
If im trying to put out out of my mind the story what the other person did and look for my mistakes it doesn't help if im still looking at the story of how they wronged me.
The Joe & Charlie sheets are very popular. I think everyone in my home group including myself used these sheets. However, I always had this doubt in the back of my mind that they were not 100% correct. But because I was relatively knew to AA I just trusted them & my sponsor. Last year I cam across a Youtube video by Jim B who was quite adamant that the J&C worksheets were wrong. I then came across an audio by Rick B & Bob J who we have already discussed who also made me question the J&C worksheets. Specifically the 'my part' that J&C talked about. I always wondered if looking for 'my part' was correct as the BB was clear that we put out of our minds the wrongs others had done & looked for OUR OWN MISTAKES not 'my part'. J&C lump the part in the BB where it says "but did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling' with the resentments but as far as I am concerned this sentence is part of the fear inventory.

I have found a transcript of the very popular J&C audio which describes how many people including myself were instructed to do the resentment inventory & the 4th 'my part' colummn:
Transcripts of Journey to Recovery with Joe M. and Charlie P.
The Big Book Comes Alive
Recorded in Laughlin, Nevada,
August 1988

We went back to the resentment sheet and we looked at it from an
entirely different angle now. We begin to look at it to see what had we done to set that thing in motion or what did we do, we had
never looked at before. And in our fourth column we found that in almost all cases whatever the resentment was we ourselves did
something to set it in motion. And we hurt other people, the retaliated, we resented, we played the resentment over and over and over,
distorted the picture, finally transferred all blame to other people. A good practicing alcoholic has to be able to do that. We just
couldn’t live if we didn’t have that ability. So we really in the fourth column really did begin to look at the truth of the resentment to
see the part that we had played
. And in most cases we ourselves set the ball rolling.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by Buckeye1988 »

Wow. That's interesting. Thanks!

I wonder why couldn't they just stick with the original wording of Ch. 5 which says, "So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making."pg. 62

Our own making HOW? Through our mistakes made through selfishness, dishonesty self-seeking and being fearful that lead to a resentment.

Because it's a subtle difference, but we can have fears with no resentment in connection with them. So there is a separate fear inventory. Because, "fear was an evil and corriding thread. The fabric of our existence was shot through with it " Resentment or not.

There are similarities here, but subtle differences.
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But there is a precise process here, no?

What's interesting to me, on the back of the Rick and Bob sheet for Resentment where it asks "where had we been self-seeking and frightened?", they state in parentheses (Afraid I'll lose what I have or not get what I want, so I did something to them.)

But in the Fear worksheet they are just asking us to look at our fears
We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them on paper even though we had no resentment in connection with them
What am I afraid of losing?

What am I afraid of not getting?

We asked ourselves Why We Had Them.

Wasn't it because Self-reliance failed us?

In the Fear Inventory we're looking at our fears but the difference is that we have fears to inventory that didnt involve us hurting others. Those fears are covered in the Resentments portion.

I like how Rick explains it in the talk on Fear on aabythebook dot org, how his fear of losing his wife brought about the very thing he feared; the destruction of the relationship. She took the kids and left him.

Here, he wasn't doing something to someone out of fear. He was actually working two jobs etc out of fear, trying to get her to stay.

So, in context of the two inventories "We set the ball rolling" is a little different than "our troubles our of our own making"

Very similar, but very different especially if I have a problem with fear but no resentment in connection with it. I have to understand the spiritual dynamic that fear involves.

It's interesting to me that J&C released this in 1988. I wonder how long before that they had been preaching that because I came in to AA on 1988, and I clearly remember people, mostly women being driven to tears and running out of AA meetings prior to the meeting starting, because you know we showed up early in Akron back then(today you show up early to a meeting and it's an empty parking lot)

But this was all over Akron, this looking for our part, and it destroys people. I also wonder how much of this crap got introduced to Akron or originated from Akron but was spread through Founders Day in Akron every year?

I'm quite sure it was breeding ground for it.

But should I even care where it came from? I mean, if im living one day at a time, shouldn't I be forgetting yesterday and not worrying about tomorrow?

As far as I'm concerned, I should think about the 24 hours ahead upon awakening asking God to direct my thinking, going out from there grounding myself throughout the day, pausing when agitated.

On the other hand studying the history of AA has been very helpful.

I think this info you provided is very helpful.

I also never liked the my part thing. When I came back to AA this last time 5 years ago I was living in Phoenix AZ and the same thing happened. The entire home group was obsessed with J&C. In my desperation I combed through hours and hours of online material until I discovered Rick and Bob. There was another 4th Step talk I found, a guy out of Cleveland giving a talk in San Diego a workshop back in the 90s. The recording was hard to hear but he was trying strenuously to point out that we're not looking for our part.

Something that Rick points out about J&C though that is extremely helpful is the service J&C did for us by pointing out what Bill actually meant by the word Moral in Moral inventory. Here is another error AA as a Fellowship has fell into along with treatment centers; probably because of treatment centers, where the inventory has become a 'Sin List" and somehow I'm supposed to write out a sin list and feel better?

Rick again is spot-on here. And his example of how the treatments centers would have you write out a fourth step sin list and return it to them, then have your family come in on family day and then produce the list for you to read to them was one of the most damaging things they could do.

I had the same thing happen to me. I was actually reading my fourth step sin list to a family member who tried to sexually assault me and I couldn't do it. It was so horrible that I just couldn't do it but the director of the treatment center would sit there and say your not leaving here til you read it.

It must be like how a rape victim feels who is surrounded by police and parents who don't believe them. That's how I felt.

Well sir, I'm exhausted and have a long day tomorrow so I'm going to call it a night soon. But look forward to anything you have to say.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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PaigeB wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 9:31 am I hope someone finds this helpful.
The above quote excerpt is from the bottom of page 2.

Yes, it is very helpful, Thanks. :D
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by Buckeye1988 »

PaigeB, what is The Truth of the Now? I'm unfamiliar with that term in AA. Could you please elaborate?


I can realize the Truth of the Now
--Paigb

(The above quote excerpt is also from the bottom of page 2.)
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

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Buckeye1988 wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:50 am PaigeB, what is The Truth of the Now? I'm unfamiliar with that term in AA. Could you please elaborate?


I can realize the Truth of the Now
--Paigb

(The above quote excerpt is also from the bottom of page 2.)
When I get down to facts and realize that I am "safe and protected" I am in much less fear. I am learning to stay out of the past and the future - what I call the Truth of the Now. Truth and Now are capitalized to show that I Honor them.
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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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by Buckeye1988 »

Ok. I hear what your saying. So, facts about what? And how do you get down to them?

Something else you said about changing the past; it is absolutely possible to change the past as we see it today.
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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by PaigeB »

I agree Buck - this whole process is about changing my thoughts and actions. First I have to get real with myself - on paper - alone. This is something I am not prone to blowing up on the internet, LOL. Suffice it to say, I have a sponsor who calls my bullsheet. She helps me get down to the facts about what is really going on. She encourages me to surrender to the idea that I need Help. Remember, these resentments "must be Mastered". Then I do the footwork (paperwork) to the best of my ability. I dig deep to find where my misconceptions (not facts) led me off track. I see the offensive situation as it truly happened. I take this humbly to find out how my attitudes and actions have been offense to my gods, my self and others. I talk with my sponsor about the exact nature of my wrongs and again, she helps me get to the facts (if necessary) and gives her input on if this person needs to be on my 8th Step list. Then I take an hour to get in conscious contact and see if my HP sends any intuitive thoughts and to settle with my Spirit.

Then I keep Steppin'.

Keep in mind this is a recap - when I go to my Spirit and get to my innermost self, it gets REAL, aka Facts.
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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Re: Step 4 'Where were we to blame' 4th column

Post by Buckeye1988 »

PaigerB wrote,
...do the footwork to the best of my ability.
Couldn't have said that any better. 8)
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