Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an organization that seeks to help those struggling with alcohol addiction achieve and maintain sobriety. Its 12 Steps lays out a roadmap for how one can understand their alcohol usage and forge a way forward to recovery. Understanding Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous is important, as it encourages a deep reflection of oneself that can lead to future change.
What is Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous?
Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous encourages one to make, “A searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves. In effect, this step is designed to help those struggling with addiction examine their character and behaviors. Through the process of discovering the true nature of personal character, a participant learns to understand identify the weaknesses that may have helped contribute to alcohol addiction. When one identifies these weaknesses, it allows them to begin to formulate plans to overcome them and changes their habits in the future. As one might expect, searching yourself so intimately can be a deeply uncomfortable and challenging endeavor. Luckily, there are processes for practicing Step 4 of AA.
The Process of AA Step 4
Step 4 of Alcoholics Anonymous requires a very careful personal inventory of character assets. AA understands that this can be a difficult process, and many AA groups offer workbooks to help members work through this step. AA encourages individuals to write down their discoveries during Step 4, as writing them creates a concrete form and helps solidify the concepts involved in the mind of the participant. Additionally, one may also find it effective to classify certain aspects of their character, usually by connecting them with adjectives provided in AA workbooks. It can also be helpful to reach out to your AA sponsor, your alcohol addiction support group, a trusted friend or family member, or a therapist to help in completing this step. While there is not set way to get to the end point, so long as one embarks on this step with honesty, they can achieve a newfound understanding of themselves.
Challenges of Step Four in AA
Mental barriers and a lack of personal responsibility can cause major challenges at this stage. Many participants have spent a long amount of time justifying their behavior and must focus extremely hard on being completely honest with themselves to gain the benefits of step 4. Time requirements and writing ability may also hamper a participant. Time requirements may be overcome by devoting a small amount of time each day to the completion of the step 4 worksheet or by rearranging personal schedules to allow a single day or few hours to complete the process in a single attempt. Time spent leading up to this attempt should focus on identifying factors in daily life that may indicate personal character strengths or weaknesses. Writing ability may be removed as a factor by using a computer typing program or asking a friend to assist with taking dictation. If you are unable to confide in a friend, a neutral party such as an AA sponsor or other community member can assist as well.
Ties to Other Steps in AA
The information gathered in the fourth step of Alcoholics Anonymous allows the participant to gain greater insight from the next steps. This information provides a frank assessment of strengths and weaknesses, allowing a sufferer to know exactly which areas should be addressed by the subsequent parts of the entire 12-step process. Through this process, a person learns to identify shortcomings and will use these as a list of appeals to a higher power in future steps. The insight gathered here can also be shared in group sessions at meetings and discussed openly with other group members.
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
Help for alcohol addiction is easy to find, but it is not always easy to ask for. Overcoming an addiction to or a dependency on alcohol can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but if you’ve made the decision to stop drinking you’ve crossed the most important hurdle in your recovery.
However, if you or a loved one need detox support or addiction treatment, you may benefit from attending treatment at a dedicated rehab facility. American Addiction Centers (AAC) operates treatment facilities nationwide, with navigators standing by 24/7 to help you get admitted into treatment. Our addiction helpline may also be able to help connect you with rehabs near you. To speak to an admissions navigator, call .