Searching Fearlessly To Discover The Blockages That Addiction Manifests
I used to insist that the past should stay in the past. My past has now become my greatest asset and is a conduit of God’s power within me.
Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless morale inventory of our selves.
This step has changed my life beyond belief. This is where a dramatic change of perception takes place in the life of an alcoholic. This is where I discovered that alcoholism above all is just a disease of perception. This is where I started to look at life and people differently.
I discovered at an early stage that all though I was attempting to hand over my screwed up life to God, I was still holding on to my will. In other words I was still holding on tooth and nail to my judgments and opinions of other people. It was like saying to God “here is my life and here is a list of demands of how it ought to go”. From this action I had remained in a state consumed and worried about myself and stressed about how God may not deliver in my life exactly what I expected.
I needed to dismantle the judgement machine which was my ego, the greatest blockage from God known to mankind. I still had this opinion of how my life should go, and this is what was killing me. This opinion is what had separated me from God and other people just about all my life. Untreated alcoholism is a very lonely business. Through my ego and self-will I had to always be right about everything. I liked being right. People who like being right a lot are very lonely people. I had become self-righteous and had developed an exaggerated sense of self-importance. In essence I had ended up being an awful person to be around without knowing it. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why all the good people in my life had abandoned me. This desperate need to be right about everything is what eventually chased everyone who ever cared about me out of my life and I found myself alone in the wilderness of resentment and anger towards those who had betrayed and deserted me. On top of this the alcohol I was consuming (by now in copious amounts) to remove the pain of rejection was no longer working. It was no longer delivering the effect of ease and comfort that I yearned for. In fact all alcohol was delivering to me was fear and bewilderment. That is when I came to experience the loneliness that only an alcoholic can know. And I had no idea of why or how this could of all happened. At this stage thoughts of taking my own life became as regular as changing my underpants.
So I needed to get down to the causes and conditions of where this all went wrong which is taking personal inventory. This is Step Four.
Taking inventory is taking stock of all the components that make up an entity, whether that entity is a business, a service or a person.
An entity that does not take regular stock usually goes bust including people. To be successful regular inventory is needed. Most humans have never taken personal inventory in their lives let alone regular stock take.
For a business it is taking stock of all valuable, redundant and damaged goods. In an alcoholic it is taking stock of our personal liabilities and assets. During this personal stock take, the alcoholic will discover what has been blocking him from God and the truth of his reality. Through personal inventory he will discover and uncover where his perspective on God, life and other people has been warped by his disease. To put it into simple terms our personal inventory is going to point out to us the obvious facts about ourselves that we could never see whilst existing in a state of untreated alcoholism.
Our inventory will point out to us where we have suffered from the delusion of processing our thoughts through the filter of lies and fantasy. It will expose where our thoughts are completely out of sync to our reality.
Why could we never see the truth of our reality before? Why does it require drastic action like a personal moral inventory to point out how wrong we have been about almost everything?
The Great Delusion of Addiction
Alcoholics do not suffer from denial. Denial is far too weak of a word. Alcoholics suffer from something a lot more insidious than denial. We suffer from a delusion. In the case of the alcoholic, the delusion can be any kind of lie about our reality that we build up in our minds to be the truth. The classic lie that an alcoholics mind tells him every day is that he can control his drinking. Although its plain to see to those around him that he cannot control his drinking, the mind of the alcoholic demands of him to believe he can. When eventually the alcoholic comes to know that he has a problem with his lack of control over alcohol, the next delusion he suffers from is that he can bring his drinking under control by his own means.
The delusions that the alcoholic suffers from are endless. The only way to smash these delusions is for the alcoholic to take a fearless and thorough inventory of where his thinking has become delusional versus the truth of his reality. Only his truth can set him free.
The resentment inventory
Resentment is public enemy number one! It destroys more alcoholics than alcohol itself. From resentment stems all forms of spiritual disease, above all we must get rid of resentment, if we don’t it will kill us. Even 17 years of sobriety does not guarantee immunity from me catching one or many resentments. If I stay in resentment too long I will eventually drink vodka. For some inexplicable reason, my alcoholic mind does not possess the skill or ability to process resentment in a healthy manner. I cling onto resentment like iron filings to a magnet, and as a result anger, fear, jealousy, self-pity, self-delusion and a host of other defects become a seething cauldron of toxic mass in the very annals of my soul. In this state irrational thoughts can quickly convert into a hundred angry conversations going on in my head with people who as far as I am concerned owe me apology or some kind of restitution. Before I take inventory for the first time in my life, my perspective is victim mode without me even realising it. My anger is justified no matter what. My side of the story is that I have been hurt tremendously by many others and that’s as far as I have got in life.
At this stage it is plain to see that some kind of powerful action is required to shift this painful and potentially fatal mindset to a place of serenity and peace. The Step Four resentment inventory is the first part of a divine mechanism which will provide sanctuary and restitution from our self-inflicted crisis.
Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist