05 June 2011

4th Step and the Burning Bush

My second encounter with my Higher Power, let me feel His touch...

Three months after my first close encounter of the spiritual kind with my Higher Power, I felt comfortable and relaxed knowing that I finally had the Friend I had needed for so long. It took me just under four months to feel totally comfortable with the first three steps.

My search for a Higher Power took me on a wonderful adventure, studying different religions, philosophies, and mythologies. And for the first time I felt comfortable doing it. And I believed my Higher Power was comfortable with this study of mine as well.

I was finally ready to start my next journey with recovery – the fourth step. I had a wonderful therapist who gave me handouts to help with this step. It had all the character defects and asked three questions for each defect. And I went to work.

Every day I meditated in the morning on a defect and how it played a role in my life and the destruction it caused in other people’s lives. I carried a pen and a small notebook in my back pocket and whenever I thought of something I did to another with this defect, I would pull out the pad and make a note about it.

Then at nights, I’d sit in my mobile home all alone, at my computer and start writing in more detail, the notes I had taken that day. The next day, I’d stay with the same defect and think more about it. I wouldn’t move forward with the next defect on those handouts until I was convinced that I my inventory was complete with whatever one I was working on.

Every week, I’d go to counseling and the first question my therapist would ask is, “How are you doing on your fourth step?” I didn’t really share with her how I was doing it, but I’d ask questions about the defects and how I perceived it with my inventory. She never came out and questioned me about Step Four, but at times, I got the feeling that she thought I wasn’t really doing it.

This process of doing the Fourth Step this way was very time consuming but also very thorough. I made notes from grade school and fighting school mates on the playground. No stone was left unturned.

Finally after six weeks, my inventory was done. That final night when I was typing in the last of my confessions, I paused and looked at the screen. On my right side, sat a one inch binder filled with type written pages – all on the fourth step.

I raised my finger and gave myself one final moment to ask myself, “Is this it?” Then I hit the “enter” button. Just as soon as I hit it, I felt a hand on my left shoulder and felt Someone behind me, also looking at that screen… and I could hear the words, “Good job!”

I had never felt so much warmth and love as I felt at that moment. I knew then, with no doubt that my Fourth Step was complete. I buried my face in my hands and started crying uncontrollably.

I finally regained some composure and printed out my final pages of my personal inventory. Two days later, I asked my therapist if she would hear my Fifth Step. She had taken me so far, that there was little doubt that I wanted her to hear it.

It took three sessions but I (We) did it. To this day, I go to various meetings and someone will share how they’re working on doing their second or third Fourth Step. I’ve done one and with absolutely no arrogance at all I’ve never felt that I needed to do another one. My list was complete and when I felt that Touch and heard the Word – “Good Job,” I knew nothing was forgotten.

I was never a really religious person, but the journey I had taken in doing those first four steps, showed me how small and powerless I really was. I’m not sure exactly where I read it, but it holds true for me, “Religion is man's search for a God. Spirituality is God's search for a man.” I had become a very spiritual person… and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

1 comment:

  1. From a good friend on Authors Den

    Reviewed by G Fralin 8/19/2009
    I got so much out of reading this Dave. I don't think it matters for many of us if we are alcoholic, a journey such as this kind of soul searching can change life. I can't say how proud it makes me to read you accounts of recovery and say "Glory be to God."