”And it takes gentleness in the form of self-care. By completing this step we show a commitment to our recovery and to living in reality.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 37
The Fourth Step was the first step that scared me. Even with the support of my sponsor, step group, and the fellowship, I didn’t feel ready to delve into the depths and examine all my faults. I procrastinated because of two fears until a couple messages finally sank in. First, I thought I had to produce a perfect inventory. Nope, no way, no how. Like everything in the program, it is meant to be done to the best of my ability at the time. I will have plenty of chances to do it again, to learn more the next time.
Secondly, I feared that focusing on all those negative parts would just pile on the shame and pull me back into my addictive thinking. Fortunately, the step workbook our group had chosen deliberately alternated between negative and positive aspects, allowing me a more comprehensive picture of myself.
In the end, the exercise is not about judging myself. This task is about risking awareness—truly seeing who I am, warts and beauty spots alike. It’s only by gaining this insight that I can claim a starting point for change.
Taking stock of who I am gives me perspective, not just on those parts that dominated my life and propelled my addiction, shame, and loneliness, but on the complete package. As the song goes, to know me is to love me.
In this honest look, I will begin to heal.