I'm continuing my work with my sponsor on Step Four. The Al-Anon way of working this step is similar to that of AA in that the focus is on me. Thus, I'm not taking an inventory of another person or what is wrong with them. Instead I'm writing down information about my character traits that could be called "defects of character" and determining how these have become ingrained in my life and which ones need to be gotten rid of.
Because I have a very wise and kind sponsor, I feel comfortable taking a good look at myself with total honesty yet without self recrimination. The Al-Anon book that I'm using in this process is called Blueprint for Progress. It's a sixty-two page booklet that has a series of questions on topics such as fear, resentment, anger, honesty, etc. Here's an example of the ones on resentment which is a big one for both AA and Al-Anon members:
1.Are there any people or organizations from childhood that I stilll feel angry with today?
2.With the people I resent the most, what part did I play in the original events that happened?
3.How did I feel about the way my family dealt with angry situations?
4. Who are the people in my life that I resent the most?
5. What bothered me about the people I resent most?
6. How do I treat those that I resent?
Plus, many more questions about personal conduct, etc.
My findings on resentment were that I know that I have expectations of others that are unrealistic.I expect them to be mind readers and do things as I have planned.But they have a mind of their own and I can’t impose my will on others.I need to have respect for others and realize that they have their own lives to live.
So far, I've found my work on Step Four hasn't been hard for me. The inventory is supposed to be both searching and fearless. I'm not being asked, at this stage, to judge or to change anything, just to notice and record what is. I've answered the questions as honestly as I can bringing up some very painful things but also a lot of good things as well.
Although my behavioral adaptations have undoubtedly been influenced by alcoholism, I can't blame everything on that. My mother's severe depression, my own genetic makeup, my relationship with other family members, and my life experiences have all shaped me. For me, this step is about identifying what I need to work on to become a contented person who is happy within my own skin. I certainly have more than an inkling of defects that I have. I don't mind being totally honest about these things.
" Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory ur faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight." from Alcoholics Anonymous