We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction. Without a willing and persistent effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us. Without a searching and fearless moral inventory, most of us have found that the faith which really works in daily living is still out of reach.
I decided, for better or worse, to do an actual fourth step of sorts. I looked at this text and thought about it. I looked at my list of character defects. I got some scraps of paper and quickly wrote down much of this kind of thing:
house and car: fear, greed, lazy, self-conscious
health: fear, greed, lazy, self-conscious
pets: fear, anxiety, not good enough, guilt
work: fear, anxiety, afraid to confront, afraid to say no, fear of losing partner, resentment, guilt
politics: fear, anger, lazy, self-righteous, judgmental, despair
Of course there are details to go along with each. I’m not sure it’s a traditional fourth step, and I’m not sure it’s not. You would think that after 34 years of sobriety and 40 years in and around the program, I’d be more sure.
If I continue with this, it would be my third formal fourth step in 34 to 40 years.
Going back to the text, I think I can claim persistence and more than a little sobriety. I have had much much contentment. As for faith, I don’t know….