And then, there was Forth Step.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
It’s the step that, according to the many rooms of AA I’ve been to, can hang you out to dry. And, not in the good, sober way.
I’ve heard it a million times: Don’t drag your feet on the Forth Step.
And, I don’t want to. Working the steps of AA is the thing that has started the forward motion in my life. A spiritual beginning, a clearing of the clutter, chemical and clinical. I’ve worked through withdrawal, emotional turmoil, extreme highs, and devastating lows. But, here I stand, sober. And, truly, better than ever. There is no horror story bad enough to stop me from completing these steps. The Promises, as outlined in ‘The Big Book’ Alcoholics Anonymous, have already started to come true for me in small measure. And, I know to continue on and complete the steps that are most daunting (yes, 4 and 9), will bring me closer to wherever this journey is supposed to take me. I trust in the process. And, I’m going to see it through.
Now that I’m here, looking out over the cliff of my incredible and humbling Third Step, I can see down into the craggy abyss of the Forth Step. Resentments looming on all sides, just waiting to be revisited and examined. Poked and prodded. Hatcheted and rehashed. Little deaths and huge hurts. All reopened. A book to reread, then, burn.
Even knowing all that, when I really think about it, the only thing that scares me about this step, is remembering it all. It worries me to go so far back in time, even before I was a drunk. To see what I’m still holding on to after all these years. To find out that maybe, this all runs a little deeper than I’d like to think or remember. It’s scary. But, I’m going there. For myself. For my own freedom.
I haven’t set down a solid plan of action with my sponsor yet, but, it’s coming. And, being home for the Christmas holiday will be a good time to revisit a lot of the old baggage with my immediate and extended family. With two, six-hour plane rides, I’ll have lots of time to think and write.
Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to get started on it, and it’s just this epic idea in my mind, but, I’m not afraid just yet. In fact, I’m kind of stoked about it. While I’ve heard it’s a scary step, I’ve also heard it is one of the most rewarding, if not the most rewarding step of the twelve. All I know is that, so far, I’ve done what I’ve been told to do in Alcoholics Anonymous. And, as a result, I am a changed woman. A healthier woman (but for the cigarettes, but, one thing at a time people!). A happier and more well balanced woman. And, all that came from wading, knee-deep, in shit.
And, a shitstorm it may be. But, I’m not going to drag my feet. Sometimes, you’ve just got to step on it.