I was told by my sponsor that I had to put all my resentments down on paper, after all with us alcoholics 'resentment is the number one offender'. They kept us spiritually sick, therefore we cannot be of maximum use to God and to our fellows. She also gave me a list of character defects which I used to look at my part in the resentments.
When I was at college my tutor used to call me 'perfectionist personified' so how could I possibly have any flaws in my character? How wrong I was. All my life I'd blamed other people for my drinking and never once looked at myself. As far as I was concerned these people had hurt me so why should I look at my part in it?
But I had to look at my wrongs honestly and be willing to set them straight, otherwise I would live a life of unhappiness and shut myself off from growing spiritually. So the list began. I looked back through my life from when I could first remember to the present day. All of these character defects came out in the Step 4: pride, self-pity, self-centeredness, selfishness, dishonesty and intolerence to name a few. Thank God now I could see my flaws, now I could put them right.
At times it was painful to disregard the person who I resented, but if I stayed angry with them I shut myself off from the sunlight of the spirit; the insanity of alcohol would return and I would drink again and I most definitely didn't want that to happen. I didn't want to return to that dark and miserable place, ever, so I cracked on and completed the list.
Next came my fears, looking at why I had them, what was the the worst thing that could happen? When discussing them with my sponsor most of them were minimal, at times comical. All my life I've slept with the light on because I feared something or someone was coming to get me in the dark. Now at 41 years old and asking God to remove this fear I can sleep with the light off; comical I know but to me a revelation.
And finally I looked at my sexual conduct. Whom had I hurt? Where had I been selfish, dishonest and inconsiderate? Who had I made jealous? Who had I made bitter? I wrote it all down and cringed at some of the things I did in my past. I looked at my part in it again, looked at my character defects and was truely sorry for what I'd done and more than willing to make amends wherever possible. More so I cringed at the thought of reading this out to my sponsor, but it had to be done – I had to share this with her.
Reading my step four out to my sponsor – thus doing the fifth step – admitting my wrongs to her and God, was a truely uplifting and enlightening experience. So much so that at the end of it I picked my sponsor up and spun her around. All that baggage I'd been carrying for years had gone, I felt two stone lighter, I felt free and happy and looked forward to my future.
Now I continue to take personal inventory on a daily basis if need be, putting my resentments down on paper, looking at my part in it, and putting right any wrongs straight away. What a fantastic tool to have!Wherever you are, whatever your doing, it's there to use and what's more it's free.