Sunday, August 5, 2012

3 Column inventory vs. 4 column inventory

Resentful at;______________ The cause;_________________ Affects my;________________

I know full well what the book says... we got this down on paper... on black and white... yada yada.

But what do you truly get out of writing down your part?

Can the ego really let you see your part before you've read this to another human being and in the presence of God?

Have you ever done just a three column inventory? I've done 3 columns 4 columns and checklist inventories.

What's your experience with these?


  1. I've always worked with a 4 column inventory and a 12 part forgiveness prayer, listed as a written instruction, for each person i had a resentment towards b/n column 3 and 4. My experience is that this forgiveness prayer breaks the chains which held me down in my anger and let me out of the self-constructed emotional prison where i've kept my resentments. I like to think of it as the fuel that rockets us into that fourth dimension of existence.

    Prior to working the 4th/5th step, i was adamant about the fact that there were certain people on my list that i would never forgive, much less consider making ammends to for "how they had wronged me". I also balked at writing the forgiveness prayer for each person. My sponsor didn't make me, he simply said if i didn't want to i could find someone else to work with me. Thank God for my ego. Because i went home and after adding my sponsor to my resentment list, i put the pen to the paper and magic happened. Amazingly enough when i was done, not only could i clearly see my part in my resentments but somehow i had forgiven everyone. It was at that point i began to experience a shift in my thinking. Soon after completing my 5th step is when i first experienced that overwhelming God consciousness.

    Outside of fogiveness for myself and others, that freedom from the bondage of self is what i truly begin to realize after working a thorough 4th step.

    God Bless.

  2. I have had sponsors that could give a bleep how I did that 4th step. All they said to me is "How's that 4th Step coming? Get it done."

    Frank talks about not doing that 4th column and how it's like leaving a wound to fester. Only when you read that 3rd column to another does the impact of the roles we assign ourselves and others come to consciousness. I could do as the book says and answer and conclude, and I've done this in the past, but it seems contrived.

    I think the beauty of writing about those we hated is that we can let them have it in columns 1 and 2. Sometimes it really is them. Sometimes they really are the nasty sons-of-bitches we thought they were and they really do try to stick it up our ass. The real question is this; why do we let them? Why do we keep coming back for more. Fuck forgiving them. How about just leaving them the bleep alone? Sometimes.

    Sometimes I'm way off in left field here and the guy I'm 5th stepping with says, "You're sentimental." So that's it. That's my whole 4th column on that particular piece of work.

    Keep in mind that this 3-column inventory comes from that "Theater of the Lie" stuff. We spend a bit of time in those God-given instincts such as Self-esteem, security, ambition, personal relations, sex relations, and pocketbook.

    We keep the 2nd column drivel the hell out of our 3rd column and always speak from the positive... this is how I see things when I'm playing God.

    We all know that the 3rd column is a lie in the end.

    We don't try to solve anything in the 3rd column and we don't conclude. If we see a chunk of truth or a direct harm we did to another, we write that down for our amend. I think it's all about finding not only our defects of character, but especially ones that we/I find objectionable to us and remember that we are going to ask God to remove them/it.

    When I see my truth in trying to dominate and control the person I hate, why the hell do I have to forgive him? In the end, he was just being his nasty asshole self... and I tried to stick it to him. What do I have to forgive him of? Me being a stupid idiot? Leave him the eff alone and stop giving him the chance to stick it to you... that type of thing.

    A sex ideal? Great stuff. I did one of those and two years later, I was married again. Careful what you pray for. Haha, you know what I mean. I put an intent into the Universe and I'm luckier than I deserve. I've grown much in the area of being a husband. I like it. I am not perfect. But you don't get from where I came from to here without a miracle.

    Some day, I may have to do a 4 column inventory, but I will not as long as this continues to work. Seeing some chunks of truth about myself and being receptive to hearing from another some things about me that my ego fights is what it's all about.

    If I get a chance, I'll put down an example of 3 column inventory and see what y'all think. Feel free to do the same with the 4 column if you'd like... but we should keep it "general" and not specific if you know what I mean.

  3. I just do a specific, written moral inventory. It's a confession. I've done inventory lots of ways including the simple example used by the BB, but I find just being specific, sincere and completely honest works.

    I asked my first great sponsor how he wanted me to do the inventory and he said. "just write down the first 3 things that you would NEVER tell anybody and come tell them to me!" I knew immediately what those were even after having taken 2 inventories already following the book. The column approach omits a multitude of sin that we would just rather not cover.


  4. Did you tell him where you stash your happy sock or something?

    I have yet to find a "sponsor" with the balls to ask for more after my inventory.

    Resentment inventory, sex/harms done others inventory, fear inventory... that's what I do.

  5. " Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only ...thought... they had lost their egoism and fear; they only ...thought... they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else ...all... their life story."
    Bill's "example" of the columns in the BB was intended to be a start, not an end. It's important to tell all, and keep telling the new "all".

    Bill's "example" of the columns in the BB was intended to be a start, not an end. It's important to tell all, and keep telling the new "all". I think that’s why so called hard core AA’s avoid the 12 x 12, it has many more columns which they deceptively excuse themselves from having to face. In order to avoid the new columns they conclude that it's not part of the original tablets that came down from heaven on Mount Sinai, therefore unorthodox. :)


  6. Basically, we're asked to tell someone our whole life story. Have you ever wore a 5th Step recipient out? I have.

    There's only so much you can do with one inventory... 5th step. A lot of the "New" all can sometimes be taken care of in a 10th step. You ever do that?

    Anyway, the 12 x 12 is bullshit, weak, conclusive, and agenda'd drivel. This is why some hard core AAers don't use it. Bill was just trying to sell a book, add filler to his 12 traditions.

  7. Why would one NOT follow the directions and write down that tasty 4th column as the book says? Get it all down on paper? The black on the white?

    I'll tell you why. Because I've been shown otherwise. Doing the Theatre of the Lie type 3rd columns... or at very least, just taking your completed and thorough 3rd column to 5th step and reading it aloud to God and to another human being... you get to experience on center stage exactly how and why you were playing God and how it didn't work and how the line between the 2nd column and the 3rd column is a lie.

    You get to leave the wound open and to fester for just a little bit until you 5th step it. Doing it word for word like out of the book may be great. I've done those inventories before. But I'm lead to consider that when we do it that way, perhaps we conclude a bit. We enable our ego to see what we're up to. The ego is crafty and illusive and it's shifty and will have us yet again seeking relief and comfort... before we've even 5th stepped the damned thing.

    I guess I'm a lone wolf on this stuff here.

  8. FWIW, Bill Wilson didn't do the initial column type of inventory:

    "At the hospital I was separated from alcohol for the last time. Treatment seemed wise, for I showed signs of delirium tremens.

    There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then I understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since.

    My schoolmate visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment. I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability"


  9. Yup. There certainly was a time when steps had to be done without the aid of the book we have today.

    If I'm not mistaken, I believe Dr Bob did his amends by pretty much going up and down the block and approaching people face-to-face and THEN he sobered up for good and all.

    Everybody has a spiritual experience now and again. YIPPEE! They're great. But a religious experience is like our first piece of ass. It's great. It's wonderful and glorious... at the time. But a week later? Are you still climbing trees over the incident? Or are you looking for the next ... conquest?

    Spriitual experiences burn up and need to be repeated.

    This is why some of us like to do yearly steps. Yesterday's burrito was fabulous. But I need fed again. I need to go back down to the well. Just ask old W. how he felt about a week or two after the publishment of that there Big Book. He probably started into depression and started looking at some skirt.

    He should have started trying out that new-found inventory method he'd written down, be it 3 column or 4.

  10. Yearly? A daily, ongoing personal inventory is supposed to be our new way of life.


    1. Yearly. Written inventory and 5th step all the way to amends, then back to 10 11 and 12.

      During this time, I don't give up on 10 11 and 12.

      But we get done with the middle work in 2 to 3 months and have 10 or 9 months to live in 10 11 and 12.

      If you haven't tried it, you should and then we'll have something to rap about. Otherwise, I'm not interested in y'alls opinion.