Thursday, March 15, 2012

Step Work

Step Four: Make a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Yourself

When trying to decide what to write today, I kept dancing around what I really want to write about because I feel like maybe nobody wants to hear it.  Then I realized...I'm writing this blog for ME so I'll just write what I want.  This is a fatal flaw of mine - I get so focused on other people's needs that I forget about my own.  Now, I am a very kind hearted and loving person but I recognize this for what it is...avoidance.

Case in point - my daughter reads this blog.  I LOVE that she reads this blog.  I would LOVE for her to comment on this blog, but, being the wise and wonderful woman that she is, she won't comment on this blog.  Her reasoning...if she comments then I will immediately begin to nurture her instead of focusing on myself.  I love that woman.  She has a way of calling me on my bullshit and making me feel good all at the same time.

ANYWAY - the thing I'm going to write about is my 4th Step work.  Ugh!

When my sponsor first gave me the assignment, I listened (sort of) and thought, "Ah - this will be a piece of cake.  I've already worked through most of this with my husband or therapists so I'll just write it down and get it done."  Then she started talking about how I was going to feel while I was doing the work...that I might be bitchy, sad, cry, unsettled, restless.  "Nah", I thought.  I've worked through all those emotions already.  This step will be a piece of cake."

Um...not so much.

The first day I worked on my mom.  I started out very clinical by listing all the crap she put me through - you know - the usual for a dysfunctional home.  Made me grow up too fast.  Shared too many adult concepts with me.  Made me feel responsible for keeping the house together...yada yada yada.  Same old same old.  (Which is exactly how I approached it.)

But when I got to the part about how it has affected me in my life and then later my role in all of it - the floodgates opened!  I was writing so fast I'm sure if I were to go back and try to read it I wouldn't be able to decipher most of it.  My sponsor said to call her everyday during this process and, if necessary, leave a message telling her how it went.  I called and said I was exhausted and for some reason very, very sad.  So sad that any child would have had to experience a childhood like that.  I've never felt that way before...weird.

So then yesterday I was in such a great mood I was going to skip working on it all together (after all - I have two weeks right?).  I had lunch with a friend.  We sat outside in the glorious sunshine and just enjoyed each other's company and the meal.  For a change I was actually present and in the moment.  I didn't want to ruin it.

Later I had some free time and decided what the hell - I was in a good mood so it might be the best time to do this.  Oh shit was I wrong.

I started on my know...the alcoholic.  By the time I was done I was scribbling and holding my pen so hard I made holes in the paper and I got a cramp in my thumb.  I was PISSED!  ANGRY!  INFURIATED!!!  I had to step outside before one of my coworkers came into my office and I ripped off her head.  They really don't like it when employees do that you know.  People actually need their heads - no mater how screwed up we are in them.

I calmed down, but I was still a mess most of the evening.  My family could tell what was going on so I had to clue a few of them in on what was happening to me so they wouldn't assume 1) Mom's just crazy again or 2) they had done something wrong.  My stomach stayed the rest of the evening - even after taking the dogs for a very long walk.

So I guess this process is working - it's doing what it's supposed to do.  It's funny because I've tried all this before and never got this kind of result.  Guess I wasn't ready.  Plus I know that these writings are for my eyes only so it helps me to REALLY be honest with myself about what resentments I hold and why.

Now I'm at the point where I don't want to move on but my sponsor, being the brilliant woman she is, has given me two weeks because she says I have to know that there's an end to the pain.  At first I thought, "Two weeks!  What am I going to do for the other 13 days?"

Now I'm thinking two weeks may not be enough.  Wonder if she grants extensions...

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, If you are not willing to move your feet.   ~Source Unknown


  1. I haven't started Step 4 yet, though was supposed to meet with my sponsor yesterday to go over it. She canceled and I was sooo relieved. I've been putting it off and find the thought of it overwhelming. What you wrote here doesn't scare me, but it does prepare me.

    Part of my hesitance now is that I feel like I just got off the roller coaster of early recovery, and I like the way I feel now...relatively calm and stable. But I also know step 4 will help me be a better person, which will make me happier.

    I also like that your sponsor gave you 2 weeks to do all this work. That sounds like a nice amount of time, though sure it goes quickly! Good luck to you...thanks so much for sharing this open, honest post.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. You are peeling back the layers like an onion. Do the best you can. Mom and Dad are biggies. You are a sober woman of God working the 12 steps. How cool is that?

  3. Step-work is painful, challenging, humbling and oh-so worth it! Hang in there, keep pressing and taking things a day at a time... Prayers :-)


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