Before starting the 4th Step, I came to realize that I had new resources accessible for me to call upon in times of need. Once I surrendered to my Higher Power, I obtained the ability, knowledge, and vigor necessary to take a step forward devoid of fear. I became self-assured in my innovative, healthy decision-making skills, and my newfound spring of hope. I refused to permit myself to embark upon Step 4 with trepidation, reluctance, or dishonesty. I had already, at this point, given my Higher Power the authority to direct my life according to His Will. Now it was time to apply faith and trust that God will see me through this experience. I knew that only good would result from making a searching and intrepid moral inventory of myself. So, wearing the shield of valor, and stepping forth in confidence, I began this new journey that in due course led to a successful, fulfilling, and happy lifestyle.
The definition of moral in the dictionary says, "Of or concerned with the judgment or instruction of goodness or badness of character and behaviors." It also goes on to describe moral as: "Conforming to established standards of good behavior"; and, "Arising from conscience." I've personally come to understand in my journey that morals are habits of demeanor. Moral is an expression that means right, good, candid, respectable, and ethical. A moral person is a virtuous person, and an upright person; an individual who maintains standards of livelihood that mirror love, righteousness, and integrity. I had made it my utmost objective in recovery to be converted into a moral human being, someone who people can depict as a virtuous person of true integrity. Integrity became an immense model for me. Having integrity is to be sincere, truthful, and honorable, ultimately to be a moral person. In order for us to arrive at this position, we must follow through with our personal moral inventory, and bring to light the deficiencies of disposition that manage to survive, in order that we may get in touch with our uniqueness, and draw closer to be acquainted with ourselves, so we can better mould our lives to positively progress in our recovery.
I was instructed that before I begin the 4th Step, I would need to ensure that I was prepared, eager, and competent to be utterly straightforward, meticulous, and courageous while I write down my moral inventory. Through my newfound faith that my Higher Power supplied me with, I obtained the audacity considered necessary to follow through with this Step. Applying and utilizing the Spiritual Principles that I had learned so far in the 12 Step Fellowship, helped me to complete this Step, which totally changed my life for the better.
Honesty is the essential element of this Step. When we are honest with ourselves, with our personality flaws, our moral fiber, our depraved standards, and all the negative aspects of our recovery, we gain the capacity for positive change to transpire. An ever-abundant amount of opportunities for positive alteration, growth, and development awaits us as we are honest about our powerlessness, our addictive behaviors, and our disease of addiction or alcoholism. By being straightforward, we are equipped to make the most of all the other Spiritual Principles of the program that include: Acceptance, hope, commitment, faith, courage, willingness, meekness, unconditional love, firmness, open-mindedness, alertness, strength of mind, sharing and caring, and, of course, honesty, which is the Ultimate Spiritual Principle in which all the others derive from. Remember, before commencing Step 4, that changing is a course of action that starts with the mind, then enters the soul, and comes forth through our decisions. We are the architects of our destiny, and by living one day at a time we gain familiarity, might, and anticipation to face life on life's stipulations, to accept the things we cannot change, and the nerve to confront the ultimate actuality of existence.
In my personal moral inventory, I wrote down all the characteristics that were connected with my addiction and me. All negative aspects of my character were exposed. The primary defects that should be listed in your moral inventory are the causes of your resentments and anger. These are the vital defects that you should focus on: Arrogance, self-pity, voracity, deceitfulness, egotism, narrow-mindedness, spite, jealousy, edginess, fear, lust, remorse, indignity, failures, disgust, and pride. A searching and fearless moral inventory should also contain all of your good characteristics that you wish to keep and build on that could include love, faith, sincerity, kindheartedness, consideration, triumph, endurance, and so on. The whole idea of a moral inventory is to bring to light our character defects and personality flaws that bring us fear, resentment, or guilt, and anything that can hold us back or obstruct our forward advancement in recovery.
As my Higher Power provided me with the tools to work this Step, I was able to efficiently travel along its path. The journey was a roller coaster of feelings and emotions, but in the end, good did prevail, and I gained the awareness, knowledge and understanding that I desired. As I looked inward for the truth, I came to glimpse how my active addiction distorted my vision. I noticed that I thrived on anger and holding resentments. As I started to write down my moral inventory, a feeling of harmony and calmness filled me. After I thoroughly wrote down my inventory, I knew what would have to be done to reach the level of freedom that I needed. A new attentiveness provided me with additional strength to embark upon the positive changes that needed to take place in my recovery. I had all the resources that I needed to safely and audaciously step purposefully onward in my pursuit.
I had learned from this Step that my character defects were simply the consequence of my inability to uphold conscious contact with my Higher Power. Now that I was clean and serene, I wanted to be unconstrained from the binding grips that were destroying me, making my life totally unmanageable. I desired positive change, spiritual growth, and personal freedom, so I did what was necessary to start removing my character defects. Step 4 brings us awareness, and at later Steps we gain the aptitude, intellectual capacity, and potency to carefully eliminate these defects of temperament. Step 4 is the starting point for a total renovation of character to begin in our revitalization. Personally, I wanted my character defects detached right then and there; however, I also had learned tolerance and confidence in the 12 Step Fellowship. Recovery is a lifelong course of action. True positive change occurs when you're prepared, and can handle it. Therefore, I recommend that you gain all the awareness that you possibly can in this Step, then start preparing yourself for positive change to commence. Plain awareness is all we need some times for change to set in motion. Trust that your Higher Power will guide you and show you the way to true tranquility and gratification.
Perfection is not our objective, but progress is the key to steadfast recovery. As we honesty work Step 4, positive behavior change will occur. As we are candid and bold, we come to know the things we want to change about ourselves, and the things we wish to keep. Self-examination opens the door for true alteration to begin. We continue to hear in the meetings that maintaining stability is extremely imperative in our recovery. Achieving equilibrium is crucial for us to remain unyielding and unfaltering in our search for positive change. We equalize all parts of our lives to preserve balance. In the 12 Step Fellowship, the four levels of balance are Self, God, Society, and Service. So, as you do your personal inventory, scrutinize all areas of your life carefully and fearlessly to achieve superior results. A whole, happy person maintains poise in those few areas of his life. Doing so, he is better able to achieve victory. I hope that my description of Step 4 will help you to better understand the magnitude that this Step will have in your life, and in your recovery.