Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Step 4; Instructions are in the book

4th Step: instructions are on pp 64, 65 and 66 of the BB

Unless, of course, you write a 4 column inventory. Then you can go to page 67 too. PP 67-70 for fear and sex. Yes, sex is on page 69! But not so in the 1st edition and maybe the 2nd edition. I can't remember about the 2nd Edition. Second edition too!

I write a 3 column inventory and I focus a whole bunch on the 3rd column.

I start with a Resentment inventory, then a fear inventory, then a sex-harms done to others- inventory.

Start on top of a page of a spiral notebook and I like to leave the left page for columns 1 and 2 and the right page for column 3, and I start the top of the page with "God, I pray Truth flows from this pen" or something like that. Oh, and before we write, we review steps 1, 2, and 3; maybe even get on your knees and say the 3rd Step prayer.

The 1st column is which person, institution or Principle with which we are burned up, with whom we have a grudge, or with whom hurt, threatened or interfered with us. Start heading with , "I am resentful at..."

The 2nd column is what they did to us. Be honest and be specific. Start heading with "The cause..."

The 3rd column; Start heading with "Affects my..."

  • Self Esteem- I am... start the sentence off with I am... the Engineer, etc.

  • Security- I need... start the sentence off with I need... power, respect, compensation, etc.

  • Ambition- I want... start the sentence off with I want... praise, adulation, prestige, etc.

  • Personal Relations- men (how men treat other men or how women treat other women, etc.

  • Sex Relations- women (how women treat men or how men treat women ......different than the 12 and 12, but this is how we do it [keep in mind there are 3 inventories here. Sex isn't about sex here; it's about how gender relates to the resentment]

  • Pocketbook- what is money? Often, money is about power and control, etc.

I don't write about pride. I know that Joe and Charlie did. But what do I care about how others view me? That gets taken care of in Self Esteem.

We always write the 3rd column from the positive too. We are writing from how we behave and think when we're playing God. Keep that 2nd column dribble out of the 3rd column.

This is how I write inventory and I do like the 12 and 12's description of our God-given instincts and how we need them to survive, but us alkies demand way more than our share of them and step on other's toes.

So in just writing these 3 columns, we don't conclude. When you write a 4th column, you conclude and then your ego just runs and hides. You can't fool or trick your ego this way. And we can't fight or kill our ego. I hear this is a bad mistake. We can, from time to time, smash our ego though. So what we do is let the wound lay open and fester. When we share this in our 5th step, the 4th column comes out. We see, once we talk with our mouths to another person and God, this inventory. We see, in broad daylight, how we've harmed another.

It's very fortunate if you see more than a few truths in your whole inventory. Some say it's like peeling back the layers of an onion. I agree with this. If God let us see all of our defects of character all in one shot, I think our heads would explode.

When I'm 5th stepping this and my advisor mentions things that I didn't see or identifies harm I caused, I jot that down for my 8th step list and take it to my 6th and 7th step to ask God to remove them.

Anyway, thoughts? What's your experience?

I hear a guy say taking inventory is like performing surgery on yourself or like a guided trip to Hell. The process don't seem that bad when you're in it, but there's always something in me that fights it.

Oh, when you're done writing for the day, close it up with a prayer or meditate on the line "In God's protection and care with complete abandon". Don't go out into the world raw and expect the world to tolerate your bad behavior just because you're writing inventory. Don't cause new inventory, in other words.

But it's been my experience that when I'm writing inventory, my resentments come flying at me. It's a trip.

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