The beginning of humility and health is to understand that you were created by God and that you are not Him. Should any individual desire to get well, heal, grow in character and evolve spiritually, showing some deference to our Creator is not only the proper attitude to assume, it is imperative. The notion that everything good you do, that everything good you accomplish and that all of your blessings can solely be attributed to yourself and your greatness, and conversely that all failures can be attributed to something or someone other than you is what defines the mind and heart of a narcissist. Is it not pure vanity, let alone delusion, to take credit for everything good in your life?
The addict has lived a life of pathological self-centeredness. Pure logic thus dictates he or she must view self and life in precisely the opposite way. The process of written 4th Step inventory allows the addict to heal and procures for him full access to God. It is not enough just to believe. What good is it to accept Jesus and His Father only to continue living selfishly, to continue to live in sin, to continue hurting others, to continue indulging in one’s flesh at every turn? Belief itself is a commitment to change the way we think, speak and act… and if not, it is hollow and meaningless.
The following chapter from my book, “Anybody Can Take Steps” delineates in detail this process of exorcizing and expelling a lifetime of emotional and spiritual poison, accepting responsibility and becoming accountable for our entire lives. We create who we are and what we become. We are not victims and nothing outside of ourselves and our perceptions and reactions is to blame for how we feel and for the circumstances in our lives. We addicts must do one simple thing: Get over ourselves.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Why keep such a miraculous elixir in the dark, hidden from the rest of the world? Written moral inventory is a mind-opening and potentially life-changing tool that should not be exclusive to alcoholics and drugs addicts. The 4th Step has the power and wisdom to entirely shift our perception of self and others. As we reach new depths of honesty and clarity, the 4th Step combined with the 5th, 6th and 7th may even restore or dramatically alter our brain chemistry. How could it be? Because we are about to rid ourselves of a lifetime of resentment, fear, self-deception and the emotional turmoil that has fueled and maintained our patterns of thinking and behaving. Imagine exorcising years of baggage you’ve been lugging around and the effect that would have. Sure we can become ‘hard wired’ by our habits and our ways, but our brain chemistry is by no means static and can change at any time, especially when such an enormous amount of internal filth falls from you instantly. The potentially euphoric emptying out and shower of relief is something you do not want to miss.
In our 4th Step, we sit down and write resentment inventory, fear inventory and sex inventory to expel the emotional and psychological garbage that has piled up inside of us. We are human. Nobody is immune or exempt from anger, resentment, bitterness, frustration, judgment, projection, false assumptions, anxiety, fear, dishonesty, self-seeking and selfishness. Emotional or spiritual poison left unchecked can turn into a volcano just waiting to erupt… yet once dissolved, there is room to allow for something much greater and more powerful to come in and fill the void. The idea for addicts and alcoholics is to replace our addiction with something at least as powerful as the addiction itself, and the same goes for any other demon. Soft, fluffy, hollow remedies won’t work when we are powerless over something. We are going to need an engine with some real horsepower.
The problem with harboring resentment, fear and sexual misconduct is that they slowly rot us from within, eating away at our physical, mental and spiritual health. Resentment is like a psychic acid, slowly burning and corrupting the soul and eventually destroying us with jade, cynicism and self-delusion until we wind up depressed and full of self-pity. It will convince us that we are somehow victims and that something outside of us is to blame for our woes, but despite the problems we may have, whether real or imagined, to blame anything but ourselves is false. The French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, once asserted that our “existence precedes our essence”. While we are certainly born with certain proclivities, traits and personalities, the idea is that we ultimately make ourselves into who we become, regardless of external circumstances. If I become a hero, I have made myself a hero. Conversely, if I become a failure, I have made myself a failure. Inventory teaches us this truth, but only if we are willing to find it and then accept it once we do. Continue reading