This is a letter about radical awareness and acceptance. I have decided to continue with the steps because, as I said before I do truly believe that, alcoholic or not, they could benefit anyone who feels drawn to undertake them. The fourth step reads like this: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves This one terrified me. Until I did it and realised what it was actually all about. This one I feel is almost Buddhist in its approach. You know the expression, ‘holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal and expecting the other person to burn’? For me, that is, in essence, what step 4 is about. It is where the real work begins and it isn't an easy step to undertake. In fact, I even find it challenging to write about. It really is about facing up to things. And the hardest part? It is really about facing up to your part in it. That is where the real freedom lies. I will never forget the day my beautiful sponsor took me through this step. I made sure we would have the house to ourselves that afternoon and as the light faded, I lit a candle while I wrote out my inventory. In this step, we take a sheet of paper and we draw four columns. In the first column heading, we write: I resent The second column heading is: because The third column heading: this affects my Fourth column heading: my part. We write down around 15 things that we have been holding on to resentment about, why we resent it, how holding on to this resentment has affected us and the part we played in what occurred. The aim of this is to first bring awareness to these resentments with the aim of being able to let them go. To finally release it and therefore stop allowing it to affect our lives now. The awareness part is powerful in itself. I find this analogy helpful: Think about what happens when you become aware that you're clenching your jaw. As soon as you're aware of it, you can let go and relax your jaw. We can't change the past, so holding on to the resentment can only affect how we are in the present and then we are essentially trapped in that past. Never gaining the freedom of a whole new future. This step is where we start to explore the reasons why we keep coming back to alcohol, thinking that it is the booze that gives us freedom from the recurring pain. But it never does, ever. It is a vicious cycle that we must break free from by accepting that which we cannot change. And changing the things we can. It is a beautiful step that takes courage, honesty, willingness, and another human to be there while you do it. It is liberating and it has given me more freedom than any other step. For example, we can't change what a person might have done to us in the past and what they did to us back then. But we can let it go, accept it, forgive it, and stop letting it affect our present and our future. We can leave it where it belongs in the unchangeable past and not take it forward with us. Because by holding onto the resentment we can't heal from it. We have the power to let it go, meaning we are not powerless. We can't change what happened, but we can change what we allow to accompany us into the future. We can let it go. That is true freedom. We start to discover that we don't need alcohol to protect us from those feelings anymore. It is safe to feel them, accept them and transcend them. We don't need to try to drink them away. Then we do recover. One day at a time.
If you're feeling like you're ready to take the next step in your life, but you're feeling a little bit lost, and you're going around in the same circles, then you know where I am - just click reply to this letter, I am here for you.
I promise you there is hope. And if I have to hold that vision and that hope for you, until you can see it for yourself, then that is exactly what I will do.
Get in touch today, you're only one decision from a whole new life.
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