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NarAnon Step Four

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

That's right! An inventory of ourselves is necessary to progress in our recovery in NarAnon. Taking our own inventory is a new idea for most of us. We are so used to putting the focus on our loved one. This is a program of personal progress and so we must put the focus on ourselves and work on improving our own lives.

For many of us the first searching and fearless moral inventory is painful. We feel alienated from the person we want to be and have become a stranger to our own gifts. We are often living a life in conflict with our true nature. But we soon discover that it is also exciting to realize those life-affirming attributes within.

Perhaps if we look upon this inventory as a harvest of our inner garden, we will benefit from knowing our strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and our self-destructive behaviours. Are we power hungry? Are we possessive or jealous? Are we determined to do things our own way? Are we intolerant of differences? Do we try to smooth over disagreements or troubles? Do we indulge in gossip? Are we overly sensitive and quick to take offence at what others say? Do we let the needs of others govern us while we ignore our own? Are we willing to take responsibility for problems we've caused? Are we people-pleasers? Do we carry grudges? These are just a few of the weeds that choke our progress and well-being. We will benefit from changing our unhealthy behaviours and developing our strengths.

We have fear, resentment and anger that leave no room for growth. But in the process of weeding we will use the first three Steps. When we face our powerlessness and inability to manage our own lives, we turn to our belief in a Higher Power who can restore us to sanity. Now we can focus on changing. We do this by carefully searching for the elements within our character that work and are life-supporting and also by identifying our self-defeating and harmful behaviours. We call the weeds, weeds. We begin the process of practicing honesty with others and ourselves. We stop ignoring, hiding, covering up and denying that there is room for improvement in our lives. We become fearless in discovering what is working in our lives and what is hurting us and others.

Our Fourth Step feels like the lifting of denial when we first talked about the problem of addiction. Now we are dealing with our own problems instead of the addict's. Now we are beginning to grow healthy by pruning, weeding and appreciating ourselves. Our Fourth step is a cleansing, a turning over of soil, giving air and making our burdens lighter.

Step Four is a process. We don't unearth all of our character and leave it fallow. We cultivate ourselves by periodically repeating the process. As we do this we see our progress, we remember our journey and we rejoice in our Higher Power's ability to guide us to a more fulfilling and joyful life.

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