(week 155) 18 December 2014 12 Step Study Big Book All Addictions Workshop
Big Book from page 64: ‘Therefore we started upon a personal inventory…’ until beginning of last paragraph on page 65 ‘We went back through our lives.’
Stephanie is taking us through the BB with the Hyannis Method because that is how she did it.
There are other ways to do the process and this is one way. It is not necessarily better than other ways but it is the way Stephanie did it and so it is the way she is giving over the Fourth Step to us.
Especially if you have done Step Four before, try to keep an open mind and follow instructions to the best of your ability. If you have any questions or get stalled or stuck due to any fears, do not hesitate to call Stephanie on her cell: 617/ 774-7916,
or text her cell ( she is very text-friendly)
or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is what she is here for as our sponsor, to help us move along.
And, every time you pick up a pencil to do Fourth Step writing, first say or repeat (if you got interrupted) the Third Step prayer and the Set-Aside prayer so that you’re not going into this writing with ego but, rather, asking God to help us discover our resentments and partner with us in doing this inventory- together, not on our own. Because, if we do this alone, we will just turn in on ourselves and use our inventory list like a ‘cuddly teddy bear’ to hold onto as the go-to excuse to isolate.
Dec. 25 workshop- Step Two Summary (will be recorded) and anything we’ve been doing ’til now on Step Four.
Jan. 1 workshop- Step Three Summary
Jan. 8 workshop- continuing with Step Four: 5 ‘people resentments’, their causes (each one on a separate paper) in 6-9 words, with any feelings involved written down on back. Then ‘Affects my’ column filled in: with facts on front, also in 6-9 words ideally, and any feelings on back of same paper.
In about one month we will move on to doing turnarounds.
Writing Step Four.
Big Book page 64:
Therefore we started upon a personal inventory.
‘Personal’ means how you see it. And how you see it is distorted. And without the help and guidance of your higher power you will have a distorted fourth and fifth step. Your resentment will become a ‘poor me’ cuddly teddy bear that you go to when you are Hungry Angry Lonely Tired as a default ‘get out’ clause.
Realize it is difficult especially for those who have been physically, sexually abused, physically beaten up. However, when you will not look at your part and let it go, you imprison yourself and they hold the keys. Do you want to let yourself out of the jail of resentment to be free to live a life of peace and joy and serenity and accepting that people do really bad things? And you are going to see that you did really bad things? And if we want them to forgive us then we have to forgive those who have done bad things to us.
They did the best they could as indeed did we when we were in our addictions.
So, if I want to get on and have my higher power give me peace joy and serenity even knowing what I have done, I have to accept the people who have done bad things to me. Pray about it. Meditate on it.
It is a personal inventory. We are not going to look at other people except for the cause. Going to write their name down and then write the cause. That’s when you are going to stop looking at other people. Then, looking at the bare facts. A little bit this week and none next week. Step 2 on Christmas Day and then the following week we will do ‘affects’. That’s a very hard one, affects. It has a lot of pieces to it and it’s very important that you can see how one resentment can affect every area of your life. Holding onto one resentment affects all your relationships, the way you live your life, spiritually, emotionally, physically,
This was step four. You are going to look at your personal life, intimacy. You are going to look at all the intimacy that you have held onto that have made up your way of looking at the world. You can change how you look at the world.
Stephanie adds: ‘A lot of us grew up in alcoholic homes and we looked at the world through fear-coloured glasses and we were always defending and protecting ourselves and looking for any little thing – then the red flag would go up. And there didn’t need to be a red flag. And we were hyper-sensitive and projected onto others our deep insecurity and fears of not being loved and loveable. And that was a lie. It was a lie I told myself. I was very loveable and I was very loved. It was just that the love of my parents and relatives had didn’t fit my mold.
I had an idealized type of family life, I didn’t want life. I wanted fantasy. And when I didn’t get the fantasy to come true I copped a resentment. Were my parents perfect? No. Was I perfect as a parent? No. Is there such a thing as a perfect person? No. This process really taught me I lived in fantasy land looking for perfect people. I failed so miserably to be perfect yet expected others to be perfect.’
A business (put person) which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Addiction is about as broke as you will get. Taking a commercial (personal) inventory is a fact-finding and face-facing process. Write it on the top of each page. Stephanie adds: A lot of you come from 12-step halls and if you are anything like me you worship feelings. I feel sad. That gave me license to climb into bed and binge my brains out because I felt sad. My feelings lie. Al-Anon told me feelings are not facts. I am not discounting feelings. They cannot be trusted to tell us what is going on. I can feel insulted and nobody is insulting me. That was my problem my whole life. Nobody was insulting me but I felt insulted. Today when I feel insulted I will ask God to help and if still there will check it out.
What do I mean by that? My feelings are saying this is some sort of a put down. Today I can check it out. I don’t live in fear. Being 100 percent honest with my feelings, being kind and giving others the benefit of the doubt. Everybody gets the benefit of the doubt. And when I think or feel that somebody is treading on my toes, I check it out. That’s what you do when you give somebody the benefit of the doubt. I have got to check it out otherwise get into a lot of trouble as cannot trust my feelings.
It is an effort to discover the truth about stock in trade.
This is your character. You are learning about your character assets and defects that you’ve brought into the situation. You are not totally one or the other. We can get triggered and our feelings can bring us right into a character defect or our feelings can bring us into checking what is going on. Ask God: God, help me to ask what is going on without treading on somebody’s toes.
That is what this fact-facing and fact-finding process is: to discover the truth about how I responded to what is going on. I always responded with fear that they don’t love me. I never checked it out. I never asked: ‘What do you mean by that? Could you explain more? What you are talking about and driving at? I would really like to understand what you are saying’. Al-Anon taught me how to do that. Also being 100 percent honesty about 100 percent of our life. This beautiful fourth step will teach you how to tease out the truth about how you reacted.
If you react to everything, you either react in your character asset or character defect. And you are going to find out after you write out a resentment and the cause then it is all about you. Your truth. I could not believe how insecure I was. And how before I did this process, I lived so much on a foundation of fear, doubt and insecurity. I had done many fourth and fifth steps and they never uncovered this. I always spent all the time looking at the other person, trying to analyze them. It is hard enough figuring out my own motives let alone somebody else’s. Today I will tactfully ask somebody else: I don’t really understand what you mean. I am going to sit and listen and if you will, talk more about your request/your statement. I’d love to know what’s going on so I can meet your statement with understanding. They will stay and listen and talk it out or not. Either way I have 100 percent honesty. I am not lying to myself or them. I am not people pleasing and I could possibly walk away with no resentment.
Talk it out. No negativity and no gossip. You can gossip about somebody right to their face by saying something negative or by projecting onto them something they never thought. So we have to be very careful about projection. That is what this process will show you: how you projected your selfishness, self-centeredness and fear onto other people.
One object is to disclose damaged or unsaleable goods (our character defects) to get rid of them promptly and without regret.
How to know you have them? Claim them. Go to God in Quiet Time. Give them all to God and then go to another human being and you tell them: this is the situation and this is my character defect or situation that came up. I gave it all to God, and I am giving it to you and let you and I talk about whether or not I need to make an amend. We tend to harm others when we project and may need to make amends. You need another human being who is doing this process. Other people in 12th step really don’t understand this process.
We have the pros and the cons: our character assets and defects. Great things happened in our life, great burdens, happiness, sorrow. How do we take whatever our HP has given us and put it into fact-finding and fact-facing mission?
If the owner (that is us) of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.
We cannot fool ourselves. We were in character assets when we were living in doubt, fear and insecurity. That’s why we write our feelings on the back of the page and just do the facts on the front. How you do the cause is pivotal. It is the foundation. If you have a faulty foundation you cannot build a healthy house. If you have a faulty cause built on feelings then the whole process will be shaky and faulty. So the cause needs to be distinct without emotion and neutral so that when you work on it there isn’t an emotional pull. What do you do with all that emotion? You turn the paper over and write every single emotion in detail one last time. Know that this is it. It is not going to be your cuddly teddy bear anymore. You are not going to create a negative cave to go back to when Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired. When you are looking for an excuse to isolate to get out of something that is hard, to get out of life.
Page 65. Initially do not use the work sheets. Write out all the categories so you know how to do it without the template. After the five initial resentments you can use the template from the website.
You read everything you now write, including the back, to your buddy or buddy group. They are your witness. Hopefully it is the last time you will ever have to read all that garbage.
It is not the truth, but how you filtered it through your own dishonestly, self-centeredness and fear. You are not a bad person. You will never get well unless you can start to inventory yourself in every situation with detachment with love. This process will give you the ability to look at your part without judging yourself or the other person or the situation. It is neutral. This is why you write down your feelings on the back so you can come back to the front side with some neutrality. Write the cause in just 6-9 words: if you are over that you are probably into feelings and explaining. Explain on the back. You will thank me when doing your fifth step.
Page 1 Brown. Then write your first cause: His attention to my wife
Page 2 Brown Told my wife of my mistress.
Page 3 Brown Brown may get my job at the office.
On separate piece of paper write down:
1. These are the areas one resentment affects: Self esteem. (Definition: How you respect yourself). When somebody says you’re nothing but a liar and a cheat – that hurts. And it affects how you respect yourself. Respect of self is the most important thing for recovery. If you don’t respect yourself you are not going to have boundaries re. food, alcohol, drugs, co-dependency and are an absolute prey for everybody and every addiction. One resentment affects your self-esteem. Some of us trashed ourselves with food, alcohol, and drugs. And broke our self-respect by having indiscriminate sex just to get somebody to give us attention so we could feel loveable. One resentment affects how you esteem yourself. Look at whether or not you have dignity.
2. Pride. (Definition: How you see yourself in the world).
I saw myself as a loser and I was convinced that everybody else thought I was a loser. That is pride. ‘Good pride’ is knowing I am not a loser. When I realized God loved me no matter what, I knew I wasn’t a loser. Then I started not sleeping around. Started going to food recovery and trying to follow a food plan. My self-respect came back. There’s a good self-esteem and a good pride. Resentment erodes self-esteem and pride.
3. Personal relations. (Definition: How you get along with others).
Not respecting myself and thinking of myself as a loser. In my personal relations I bent over backwards as I did not have a sense of us being equals. You were better than me and I was less than. Or sometimes I was better than you and you were less than me. That is personal relations: how I get along with people. How I thought about other people. How I related to them. Did I relate from one-up or one down? My personal relationships with men were abysmal.
4. Personal security. This is a big one. Do I feel secure with people in my world? Do I feel safe and even more important, safe within myself. Before this process I did not respect myself and thought of myself as a loser. My relationships were people pleasing. My personal security was always insecure, based on fear that others would not love or respect me. I felt insecure whether or not I was relating from a ones up or one down position.
5. Pocket book (Definition: How this resentment affects your ability to take care of yourself in the world).
It’s not just money. ‘Pocket book’ is not the best description but the only one we’ve got from the Big Book. How I buy my groceries, pay my bills. How I conduct my spending. Do I get into debt by buying clothes that I cannot afford so I will look good and people will like and love me and I will respect myself? If I go to a party and sit in the corner – that is part of personal security too. Do I make the most of every situation? Do I do a day’s pay for a day’s work? Or do I work eight hours but spend half the time on the phone or complaining about my boss?
6. Sex relations. (Definition: How you see yourself as a sexual being in all your relationships).
Do you see yourself: as I am desperate for a man I am going to be a real tramp. Or do you see yourself as a sexual anorexic: I don’t like me. Nobody is going to like me so I am not even going to try. So sit in the corner and not talk to anyone then leave feeling resentful. Did you throw yourself at somebody because you are resentful at your mother and she told you not to have sex before marriage? Any way or anyhow you used your sexual powers and resentment will really affect how you see yourself. May have had sex with men just to get some attention.
7. Ambition (Definition: Motive to get what we want from people and the world) e.g. Get a well-paid job so I look good to my wife and the world.
ONE resentment affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
We need to claim any feelings our resentments bring up so that we can then dump them instead of letting them linger. The cleansing process occurs when we read the feelings we’ve written on to our buddy or buddy group, letting them be the witness to our personal, wounded feelings, rage, etc. before we then let them go forever.
Write as much as your Higher Power tells you to write -at home. But for the workshop, write only 5 people you have resentments towards (and the cause for each resentment towards the SAME person on a separate page, tagging each page in the upper L hand corner with the person’s name about whom you are writing and the consecutive page numbers for your enumeration of causes-of-resentment at that same one person (remember: only one to a page) if you have more than one cause.
i.e. Upper L hand corner of each separate page:
Mr. Brown p.1
Mr. Brown p.2
Mr. Brown p.3 ….etc.
This week include the ‘Affects my’ column, writing FACTS in that column in approximately no more than 6-9 words; otherwise we’re probably giving in to explaining our feelings. Write as much as we need to about our feelings concerning the facts we’ve listed in our ‘Affects my’ column on the back of the page. We should be touching on all 7 areas (mentioned above) that one resentment affects, for each cause listed.
Also, remember: part of the recovery process is just being compliant, like the Third Step prayer speaks about (‘…I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt’). So Stephanie asks that we please just do Step Four in the manner in which she is asking- even if we have done it differently before.
God, I offer myself to you completely…
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