Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”
The Recovery Elevator Podcast isn't affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but we cover the steps due to listener demand.
For easy lookup:
episode 142 was Step 1
episode 146 was Step 2
episode 152 was Step 3.
The fourth step is probably everyone's least favorite step, as it involves things we don't want to do... face our past, our mistakes, our scary thoughts, emotions and current problems. Though it can be scary, it is still one of the most important steps in recovery. Alcoholism is merely a symptom of underlying inner conflict, delusions and/or flaws in our character that need to be faced, and where possible, overcome.
The key is honesty. While working step four, we get a new perspective on the bigger picture and see ourselves and our behavior in a new way that helps us to move forward without fear and allows us to embrace a healthy self-image.
This step is all about bringing unconscious behavior to light. We gradually realize that only we can change, and not change others. This step is meant to be done with your sponsor.
Kerry, with 12 days since her last drink, shares her story...
[13:25] Paul Introduces Kerry.
Kerry lives in Los Angeles, is 47 years old, is married, has two children and four dogs. She loves reading, the movies, traveling, and book stores.
[17:40] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?
In her 40's. She started in her teens, and as an adult, she drank daily. She struggled to stay sober while she was pregnant. Her drinking ramped up after her second child, in her 40's. She thought her drinking was normal, so she found it hard to believe she had a problem.
[22:00] What were some of the rules you put in place?
She tried to only have a glass of wine with dinner, but it didn't work. She tried to insert a glass of water between each glass of wine. The rules didn't work, which only made her feel down on herself.
[25:00] When was your first attempt to quit?
2 and ½ years ago. Her friends invited her to AA meetings. She “white knuckled it” about three weeks. Relapsed. This added more shame, which leads to more drinking. She kept trying and has been in and out since then.
[27:20] Was there one moment that changed it for your or was you generally sick and tired?
She was sick and tired. She became ashamed when her daughter witnessed her really drunk.
[29:00] What are some of the things in your recovery portfolio and what will you do to make it stick this time?
She wakes up early and meditates. She reads a chapter of “Living Sober” every day. She reaches out to sober friends. She goes to meetings occasionally.
[32:49] What benefits do you see with 12 days in sobriety?
More energy. Better sleep. No hangovers. Being more aware and present for her kids. Better memory.
[34:41] How are you overcoming the internal dialogue that is trying to convince you to drink?
She knows it's her addiction talking and it helps her to compartmentalize the thought. She uses meditation techniques to let it pass.
[36:40] How has it been with your husband?
He's been supportive. He also thought she was drinking too much. He's compassionate and helpful.
[40:35] What's on your bucket list in recovery?
She loves traveling. She intends to use the money saved by not drinking to fund a trip to Amsterdam. She wishes to be more present for herself and her family.
[43:10] Rapid Fire Round
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions – A book by Russell Brand
Living Sober – an introduction to AA and recovery.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget – by Sarah Hepola
Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”