Joe and Charlie explain the 12 steps word for word, going through the first section of the Big Book.
They explain that resentments, fears, guilt, and remorse are what cut us off from the sunlight of the spirit, and that when we are cut off this way we are more likely to practice our addiction. The purpose of the Fourth Step Inventory is to show us how resentments, fears, guilt, and remorse appear in our lives and how to get rid of them.
They have used four charts for doing stepwork centered on Resentments, Fears, Sex, and Others We May Have Harmed.
They explain the columns on the chart on page 65 of the Big Book, and suggest filling in each section from top to bottom rather than across.
They explain the “Affects My” column as intending to identify which of the God - given basic instincts of Social Relations, Security, and Sex were threatened and/or misused. They divide Social Relations into Self-Esteem and Personal Relations. They divide Security into Financial Security and Emotional Security and add a column for future Ambitions.
They point out the prayers suggested in the Big Book for the first three parts of the inventory.
They explain that by the time this inventory is finished, you will have the list of names necessary for working the 8th step.
If we have any natural fault, it is hiding our own anger from ourselves. Here is a checklist to help you determine if you are hiding your anger from yourself. Any of these is usually a sign of hidden, unexpressed anger.
1. Procrastination in the completion of imposed tasks.
2. Perpetual habitual lateness.
3. A liking for sadistic or ironic humor.
4. Sarcasm, cynicism or flippancy in conversation.
5. Over-politeness, constant cheerfulness, attitude of "grin and bear it".
6. Frequent sighing.
7. Smiling while hurting.
8. Frequent disturbing or frightening dreams.
9. Over-controlled monotones in one's speaking voice.
10. Difficulty in getting to sleep or in sleeping throughout the night.
11. Boredom, apathy, or loss of interest in things you are usually enthusiastic about.
12. Slowing down of movements.
13. Getting tired more easily than usual.
14. Excessive irritability over trifles.
15. Getting drowsy at inappropriate times.
16. Sleeping more than usual - maybe 12 to 14 hours a day.
17. Waking up tired rather than rested and refreshed.
18. Clenched jaws- especially while sleeping.
19. Facial tics, spasmodic foot movements, habitual fist clenching and similar repeated physical acts done unintentionally or unaware.
20. Grinding of the teeth- especially while sleeping.
21. Chronically stiff or sore neck.
22. Chronic depression-extended periods of feeling down for no apparent reason.
23. Stomach ulcers.
This is not about rage. Rage is anger out of control that takes over your whole being. This is about the feelings we call irritation, annoyance, getting mad, etc. All these negative feelings share one thing in common: they are considered undesirable at best, sinful or destructive at worst. We are taught to avoid them -to avoid having them if possible (it isn't) but certainly to avoid expressing them. Unfortunately, many people go overboard in controlling negative feelings; they control not only their expression, but their awareness of them, too. Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old-fashioned wood-burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked the smoke will leak out of the stove in unintended ways-around the door, through the grates, etc. checking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal (human) expression of anger is gross physical movement and/or loud vocalization; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. Age five or so teaches us that such expressions are unacceptable to others and lead to undesirable consequences such as being beaten or having affection withheld.
We learn to "be nice", which means (among other things) hiding bad feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be "civil". Thus, expression is stifled to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed "bad" feelings which are constructive rather than destructive.
Getting rid of a lifetime accumulation of buried resentments is a major task, which is one of the goals of psychotherapy. Whether such a process is necessary for you should be decided in consultation with a qualified professional person. Our immediate concern in the paper is to provide you with some techniques which will help you stop adding to the pile already amassed, whatever its existing depth.
The process of dealing with negative feelings can be divided into three parts for purposes of discussion, although the living of it is all one piece. The parts are:
1: Recognition of the feelings.
2: Owning the feelings and acknowledging that they are yours.
3: Discharging the feelings by acting on them in some way.
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