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STUCK on STEP 4...

Hey y'all... Here's the thing (and I probably should have posted about it awhile ago) but I have been fighting it..
I AM SCARED TO DEATH OF STEP 4!! I KNOW that it's something I MUST do but I feel like it will take me to places mentally I swore I'd NEVER go again! Facing memories and past stuff is terrifying..
I guess my question is..
Does anyone have any tips, advice or step 4 stories they can share with me?
I'm more scared about this than.... Anything!

I'm scared to open the flood gates and what do I do with the memories that I've fought so hard to put behind me?
In my case, one memory always leads to another and I just don't wanna get stuck in a bad place. I don't know how to do this....
"We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"
30 Responses
Avatar universal
HI Rosy im glad you brought this up many people struggle with step 4 it can be plenty scary to look at are past when your like me having been a addict for over 30 yrs the best advise I can give you is be honest with yourself and your sponsor if she has been at it a wile you probably wont tell her nothing she has not already herd this step is not to fix the past but rather  to list it and put it behind you once and for all it took me a few days and 12 pages of Crap to go over mine but it was like a load was lifted from my chest then on to the rest of the steps many amends but the program works and your worth it the past haunts those that leave it hidden ones brought before the light sin no longer has the control over you. sorry if my Christianity is getting in the way but it is truly how I fell so get a not book sit down and start from your fist joint back and be brutally honest with your self this step is magical if you ever need to speak to me just p/m me I will be happy to go threw this with you...
good luck and God bless..........Gnarly.................................
Avatar universal
Thank you gnarly..
For me their is alot of shame, guilt and hurt.. Ive buried alot of it really deep.
I am starting on it tomorrow so if I get stuck I will pm you. Thank you for your support.. It means alot.
I'm Christian also so I followed you and I know what you mean..
I just hope that I can deal with myself once I let it all out.
Avatar universal
HI....Pray b/4 you start ....God protect me from my past let  me turn it over to you once and for all and threw the shed blood of Jesus let me be forgiven and forgive myself.....Amen
Avatar universal
That is a great idea gnarly and rest assured I will! I'm going to need all the help I can get to get through these next 2 steps for sure!
2083449 tn?1381354708
Sending you prayers for strength, and guidance as you go through this! You can do this girl, I know you can! Hugs!
1970885 tn?1435860428
Simply - everyone has a different approach, BUT (and this is an over-used phrase) however you do it, once it's done it really sets you free. You are able to let go of the guilt that you've carried around for years. And surprisingly some of the things -the way you remember them - are not as bad as you think. Be brave. You'll do fine.
K
3197167 tn?1348968606
Rosy girl....when I did my first 4th step....I shook like a leaf just writing everything out.....and was afraid to feel the pain of the memories and do the serioius self-examination.  I stopped A LOT during the whole process and asked God to show me and give me the strength to write down what needed to be identified w/i me.  I sat outside and just let myself "be silent"... before, during and after I completed it.  I forced myself to just do it knowing it didn't have to be perfect or all inclusive the first time around.  Just cleaning out and writing down what came to me at that particular time in my life.  Many things came out later...but remember, we're like an onion...we peel off one layer at a time.  It's a gradual uncovering of our deep hurts, resentments and shame.... all the buried emotions we masked for years with some substance or another.

I used several "4th step guides", the Big Book and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12x12) to help me as I trudged thru.
I was so fortunate to have a Chaplain help me with my 5th step....he told me, Connie, when you are ready to do Steps 6 & 7.....remember...once you are entirely ready....and you ask to have these shortcomings removed....DON'T go diggin this back up.  He said, if you choose to bury all that you have shared in a field....leave it there...(that's what he meant about not going back and diggin it up).  Know what I did?.....after I got on my knees, cried my heart out and asked....I went to my room (I was in treatment at this time)....got all my dang pages from my 4th step (a BOOK it seemed..lol), put them in the sink in my room....lit them on fire...watched them burn....letting it ALL GO....very emotional for me...cried as I released all that I had labored over and written down and shared.  Then I picked those remnants of burnt paper up and flushed them down the toilet!!!  I wanted to MAKE SURE I wouldn't be tempted to re-visit or dwell on what was then behind me.  I cannot express how cleansing and freeing it was for me.

I share all that with you only to let you know it's not worth freakin out about...just do the best you can...with other's guidance, some assistance from  your sponsor and those who have gone before you.  Your song will be so BEAUTIFUL when you're done.....you'll feel like a FREEBIRD~
Love ya Rosy girl......
Avatar universal
Hey Rosy, I'm also stuck on that step. It just seems so daunting. Steps one through three were a breeze but my fourth..... Eek! I think we can add "fear" and "procrastination" to our inventory eh? I'm using the step working guide and talking to my sponsor, who isn't rushing me at all. There are things that are being brought up that I actually forgot about. Its like I don't want to remember. But it's all crap we've been carrying around, consciously or subconsciously. I think we just need to sit down and DO it. If we keep working our program we never have to revisit it again ( until step five... But after that we can really let it go in 6 and 7!)  You can do it! Keep us posted on your progress!
Avatar universal
Thank you, a million times over for sharing that with me...
Ready or not I can't put it off any longer...
Its time to face my demons :( love ya girl!! Thank you for everything!

@Kyle thank you for the continuous support.. Its needed and appreciated!
Avatar universal
Your right!! Fear and procrastination are definitely on the list...
I've been sitting on step 4 for a couple of months now but my sponsor says I've been sitting with my toes in the water long enough and it's time to jump in...
I'm not going to lie.. My first reaction was akin to that of a two year old pitching a fit.. "NO, I DON'T WANT TO, YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" ( arms folded across my chest, scowl in my face and everything)  After my inner tantrum subsided I realized that I do need to jump in and get this done... Im doing it afraid and all..
My main concern is that I won't be able to deal with everything that gets brought up...
Avatar universal
Rosy you can handle fear in 2 ways :
F**k Everything And Run
Or
Face Everything And Recover
Let's choose the latter!! Jump in, the waters great (or so I hear!) I'm not far behind ya
Avatar universal
I like how you put that and I will remember that:)
Avatar universal
Oh lord have mercy i know whatcha mean i am there now and been here for quite awhile.  I have PTSD and many repressed memories that come to the surface when i least expect it.  What i have learned is to remember to put in in perceptive remember that we are in the adult state and not the child state, and that its just that a memory its not in the here and now.  Don't get me wrong believe me i know how hard this is and it sounds so stinking simple but it is not.  I have not shared all this on here  but i might start.  When i get a flashback or a memory that i do not want to entertain i go straight to my phone and write it down in my notes.  Sometimes i post to my journal on MH, other times i just leave it on my phone and at times i will share it with my therapist, it really just depends on how much its affecting me.  So, what i am trying to say is i would write it down, remember that a pill will not make any of it go away and that you are a stronger women now that you are clean.  Lean on your faith, ask Him for the courage to get you through this difficult time, i know that God does not give us anything we cant handle and once we get through this we will feel peace, i am waiting for that day too Rosy, and the fear of not being able to deal, you will do just fine,  go easy take it slow, crap i have been at this step for months, i cant rush it as i know my clean time is at stake, so when i feel weak or triggered i take a few steps back, whats the rush, right?  I hope you find peace Rosy, one day at a time.  XOXO Dane
271792 tn?1334979657
This is just my opinion but I think it is way to early to be approaching a 4th step. I didn't do my first 4th step until I was a little over 2 years clean. I worked the first 3 steps everyday until I understood them and still do today. It was only after 2 years of hitting at least one meetings a day and counseling once a week that I was ready to venture into 4th step land. Even then it was very hard. I don't think I would have made it if I had done it earlier. Is your sponsor suggesting this or is this your choice?
Avatar universal
I hear ya!!!!  Im only 9 months clean and the only reason why my therapist is telling me we need to tackle some of it is because its invading my everyday life between nightmares and obsessive thoughts.  And believe me we take it SLOW!!!

Rosy, please know this is a HUGE TRIGGER for me, and SLOW is the only way, and as soon as you feel like you are not in control of your emotions take a few steps back.  Its a very daunting task especially when there is trauma.  Thinking of you
Avatar universal
My sponsor is telling me to do it... I don't feel ready to do it but she said I have to in order to grow.. I like the idea of waiting but Im so confused about it. I want to be emotionally ready to handle it... Im just learning what life in recovery is all about and I fear that step 4 will push me over the edge right now.. My sponsor has been clean 20+ years and has a very strict attitude about it.. Boot camp mentality almost.. :)
271792 tn?1334979657
I'm sorry to hear that Rosy. My first sponsor was strict as well but she also was in touch with my recovery probably more than I was and she insisted that we wait. Try talking to her and tell her you feel like you are on shaky ground with this right now. Take it slow lady.
1827057 tn?1397520277
I would listen to IBK about this . From what I understand the steps should be like yoga in a way in that  If you are not ready and you are not at that level and it hurts too much then You should wait until you are at that level and ready to make that stretch ....I think  ;)    who knows really though I guess....yes I'm wishy washy
2083449 tn?1381354708
I am the first to admit that I don't have much info or experience with this, but shouldn't your progress through the steps be on your own timeline? I realize that we may, at times, need a nudge or two to move forward. Listen to your heart and mind, and don't allow yourself to proceed if you don't feel ready. I think you will know when you are.  I agree with IBK.  Take it slow, and at your own pace. Best wishes, Rosy! You are such an inspiration.
495284 tn?1333894042
COMMUNITY LEADER
I didnt do my 4th step until i was WELL into my 2nd yr.  I was all pumped to get my steps over with in the beginning.  My sponsor had other ideas.  She said i had to relearn how to live first.  If i couldnt live it, feel it, deal with it and move on then it wasnt going to happen.  She doesnt feel there is a time frame on the steps.  She is a tough old girl(i think she is IBK's sister)!!!
Avatar universal
Rosy, this does sound scary! Do you think bringing it up now is too soon and could possibly cause you to relapse or do you think it will help to get some of the stuff out, deal with it and kinda clean it out of you? I just read this post, and I guess I'm a little confused. I'm just now clean, haven't even made an na meeting yet, wished i had a sponsor but I don't even know how to go about that lol. I did go to na meetings the last time I got clean, but never figured out the whole sponsor thing even worked! I felt good to be able to talk to live people about my issues and have people that understood me, but I had a bad experience which is off topic but basically made me quit going. I live in a small town with one na meeting and its a hotspot for dealers. Its sad. Anyway I have been going to therapy once a week. When I finally came clean and honest with her that I was an addict and had been self medicating myself for a long time along with the medication I get from there for my severe depression and PTSD and anxiety, she immediately decided we needed to meet once a week instead of once a month and start right away digging through my past and bring everything to the surface while I'm not numbed and deal with it asap. So, is this kind of like the 4th step? Should I be doing this now when I'm newly clean and keep relapsing???
Avatar universal
I spoke to A (my sponsor) and she said that she wanted me to start step four so that I could start addressing issues that are holding/weighing me down. She said even if its only one thing a month that I write down its ok.. She said that YOU all are exactly right in what you are saying but she thinks that walking through this with me (issue by issue at a snails pace) I won't go into emotional overload.
I guess I misunderstood her and thought that she wanted me to DO step 4.. (she does) but broken down into several parts if that makes any sense.
She is definitely a hands on sponsor but not the warm & fluffy kind (which I've come to realize is EXACTLY what I need)
Her words to me earlier were "I don't want you to get complacent and I want you working your recovery..."
That being said, What do y'all think?
2083449 tn?1381354708
More importantly, what do you think? Do you feel comfortable with she said? If you do, then give it a go.
3197167 tn?1348968606
Wisdom.....insightful....I like her and I haven't even met her~
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