Step 4 AA – A Framework for Growth & Healing
The 12 Step recovery path provides a step-by-step guideline for overcoming addiction’s effects in your daily life. By the time a person reaches Step 4, he or she likely has a general idea of what it takes to live a sober lifestyle.
Step 4 AA recovery requires you to do a moral inventory of your life experiences up to this point. While this may seem cumbersome to some, your moral inventory holds the key to future growth and healing in recovery.
In essence, this step is where you build the overall framework for your recovery path.
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Alcoholism’s Role in the Addict’s Life
Step 4: ““Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
More often than not, a person turns to alcohol in attempt to cope with difficult issues and emotions in his or her daily life. While a full-blown alcohol addiction may well seem like “the problem,” at its core, alcoholism is just a symptom of deep, unresolved conflicts in a persons’ life.
According to Vanderbilt University, overcoming alcoholism requires a thorough understanding of the emotional and mental causes that drive addiction-based behaviors. With this understanding, a person gains a sense of direction in terms of what needs to be done to maintain sobriety on a day-to-day basis.
Step 4 AA – The Beginning of Healing
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, eliminating alcohol from one’s life isn’t enough to overcome the effects of an addiction problem. Long-lasting sobriety only becomes possible when a person addresses the root of the addiction.
The AA or Alcoholics Anonymous approach views recovery as a spiritual process in terms of the level of healing that takes place as a person changes for the better. With Step 4 AA, recovering addicts develop an attitude of honesty, willingness and open-mindedness, which is essential to uprooting addiction’s destructive patterns in their lives.
Uncovering the Addiction Mindset
Doing a personal moral inventory entails writing out:
- Memories about important people in your life
- Beliefs you’ve held about life and people in general
- Experiences that triggered both positive and negative feelings
- Your attitudes towards yourself, others and past experiences (both good and bad)
Once completed, a moral inventory will reveal certain patterns of thinking and behavior that feed into the addiction mindset. As certain traits, such as pride, fear, anger and self-pity may well take shape as you review your inventory, just being able to acknowledge these issues marks an important step in the healing process.
These patterns are the issues that you’ll work through in recovery.
A Framework for Recovery
While doing Step 4 AA can be a daunting endeavor in itself, the information gathered will pay off in dividends as you encounter “nuances” of the addiction mindset in your daily life. In effect, a moral inventory becomes your very own personal development guide for building a sober lifestyle.