The Fourth Step is a written inventory which is designed to reveal those twists and
perversions of the mind and spirit which are the result of overwhelming fear working on the natural instincts. It will also uncover the wrongdoing and faults of the addicted person and will identify the people he has hurt by his actions. Experience has shown that, in most cases, nothing but a written inventory will suffice. The advisor needs to know that the addicted person cannot or will not fully reveal himself until he is required to reduce his self-examination to writing. Denial is the hallmark of all addictions and he has been hiding from the truth about himself for years. He has become an expert dissembler, has well-established rationalizations for his behavior and in many cases has been carefully indoctrinated with the excuses which allow him to refuse to take personal responsibility for the desperate straits into which he has fallen. This Step will also begin the process of God-reliance without which the addicted person is helpless.
While working the Fourth Step, the addicted person will take several “leaps of faith” which will demonstrate the power and trust-worthiness of God when He is called upon. When the addicted person worked his Third Step, he made a decision to turn his life and will over to the power of God, but this Step will have no permanent effect unless he immediately takes the action necessary to find and be rid of the things in himself which are blocking him off from God. He must now put his decision into action and that action begins with the Fourth Step. By working the Fourth Step, he will be enabled to identify all of the blocks, all of the insanity, all of the sin, all of the guilt, remorse and shame, and all of the twists of character which have kept him in a state of spiritual bankruptcy. For the first time in his life he will have become entirely honest with himself about all of those things he has carefully hidden from the world, even from his closest and most trusted friends, relatives and visors.
The Fourth Step has several immediate positive results for the addicted person if he follows the directions contained in this work. First, he will be relieved of his resentments. Second, he will begin to lose his fears. Third, he will have an ideal for his future relationship life. Fourth, he will have a list of all the people he has harmed by his conduct. Fifth, he will have a list of all of his defects of character (sins and mental twists) which block him from his God.
The defects of character which the Fourth Step addresses are resentment (anger), selfishness, dishonesty and fear. Included in these defects are pride, coveting, jealousy, sloth, egoism, and procrastination. The addicted person will become aware, as he writes his inventory, of all of these problem areas. The problem of resentment and anger is addressed in the first part of the inventory and the problems of dishonesty, selfishness and fear are disclosed in the following three parts. In order to accomplish all of this, the addicted person will first inventory his resentments and then use the spiritual remedy to be set free of them. He will then inventory his own faults (sins) and look at the people he has harmed. Next, he will list his fears and begin to be set free from those fears. Finally, he will inventory his relationships of a sexual nature, looking especially at his selfishness and dishonesty. He will identify the people he has harmed in those relationships and will craft an ideal for his future relationship life, paying special attention to his selfish conduct and selfish motives.