Taking (My Own) Inventory

“Fourth Step Prayer:

Dear God,

It is I who has made my life a mess.

I have done it, but I cannot undo it.

My mistakes are mine and I will begin a

searching and fearless moral inventory.

I will write down my wrongs,

but I will also include that which is good.

I pray for the strength to complete the task.”

When I joined Al-Anon fifteen years ago, I was miserable and desperate to save my daughter from self-destructing. But I was also guilt-ridden and felt overly responsible for the mess her life was in.

Because I was inclined at that point to be overly hard on myself, I did not take this step properly. I focused exclusively on my defects and ignored my strengths. If I had had a program sponsor I would have received the proper guidance. But it took a very long time for this CSR (compulsively self-reliant) Al-Anon to admit she needed help in getting help. “My way or the highway…” Uh, huh, no wonder I was getting nowhere. Fortunately I did finally start to get it and come out of my isolation. It’s been a miraculous journey ever since.

What I love about this step is the inherent balance and demand for honesty. There are few shortcuts to telling the truth. We can hide and distort and rationalize all we want. But brown eyes are brown, no matter how much we want them to be blue.

Facing ourselves in the mirror on a regular basis takes discipline. But for me it’s been the best way to change and grow. As I continue to work on this step, I feel less vulnerable to life’s inevitable challenges. And I’m particularly less vulnerable to the manipulations of others, including my addict.

This is an honest program, and I’m grateful to have discovered the ability to look within. “Happiness (truly is) an inside job.”

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