I was thinking though about the sexual inventory part of the fourth step. My sponsor had me do my fourth step using the Big Book method as well as Al-Anon's Blueprint for Progress. The fourth step as described in the Big Book lays out the inventory of sexual conduct in a thorough manner:
"We reviewed our own conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead? We got this all down on paper and looked at it.
In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test-was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.
Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem. in meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it" from How It Works, Alcoholics Anonymous.I wrote out my inventory thinking that Mr. Brown looked pretty good compared to my story. After writing out my fourth step I had planned to take it to a meeting with my sponsor so that we could discuss it. But for some strange reason that I will never fathom (God's plan not mine?), I left that inventory on the counter at home.
Later during the day, my wife was doing something in the kitchen and the inventory papers were knocked off the counter. Guess what page was on top when she picked up the papers off the floor? Yep, the sexual inventory. Right there. Laid out in great detail. Every past relationship with names and my conduct in the relationship.
I remember the look on her face when I got home that evening. I remember the feeling of regret and shame that I felt as well. I'm not going into further details here, but it was a hurtful experience.
Yet, that experience also brought with it an opportunity to heal by getting information out in the open. What was immediately hurtful became truthful. I think that my acknowledgment on paper of my part helped us both to see the healing and humility of the fourth step. We didn't retread that path, and in many ways it was an opportunity to do a living amends.