‘Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves’
My experience with Step Four was a difficult one. I knew that if I wanted to really find out who I was, I had to go to those places that I didn’t want anyone to know about. Those dark corners of my “secret world” that I had created. The toxic shame-infested dam had to be broken down.
In order for the steps to work, there needs to be a level of honesty never reached before. It’s often referred to as brutal honesty and, in my experience, the more honest I was and the deeper down the rabbit hole I went, the more freedom I started to experience. Don’t get me wrong, the courage it took to dive into the darkness and bring out the proverbial monster was immense. There were nights, particularly during the shame and guilt section, where I would pace around frightened of an unnamed threat. I was irrational and anxious all the time, but – and this is a big BUT – I was slowly realizing the real extent of what damage my addiction had caused. The picture that Step One had created was now getting bigger. I always used to say that I don’t know who I am, but in reality I knew exactly who I was. I was just too ashamed to actually tell anyone.
I realised what responsibility I had to take in my life. It’s strange that the more I revealed, the more I grew; and the more I grew, the more freedom I experienced. Then came the day when I had put it all into writing. Every little dark secret, every massive shame based lie, it was all on paper. I read it out to my counsellor at Bethesda Addictions Treatment Centre with loads of apprehension, but I got through it. There was no SWAT teams coming for me, my heart didn’t explode. Nothing bad happened.
Most importantly, I wasn’t judged for what I had done. John, my counsellor at Bethesda, is the most trustworthy of individuals. I felt safe and that to me was the most important thing. It allowed me the freedom and courage to be able to open up to that extent.
Today I have a firm and realistic view of who I am, what I’ve done and what I want to become. Giving my Step Four everything I had, has given me the freedom of choice. The choice to live life to the fullest.