The Fourth Step of ACOA says, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
In my opinion, this is an extremely difficult step for an ACOA. As a child I did things to survive. I could justify everything I did just to achieve that goal. As a child, the inventory saw no need to change or no need to apologize.
Apologizing, to me was a sign of weakness. I grew up in a home where I honestly can't remember anyone ever saying “I'm sorry.” Never. Not a brother, not a parent. No one ever apologized. I had aunts and uncles who knew how insane my childhood was and none of them apologized for not doing something.
This attitude of never being wrong, or more importantly never accepting responsibility for anything, got me through childhood. It got me through high school and gave me a ticket to get the hell out of there. I went to college 1,800 miles just to try and avoid the insanity. I also thought that by being away from it all I could enjoy a new life... a real life.
Reality though is entirely different then fantasy. I had no idea what was morally correct. I was never vulnerable so I had no idea on how to let others into my life. I wanted to trust others yet I had no idea how to be truthful and how to be a friend.
My childhood helped me survive many things. From abuse to incest, from fear of sleeping to being homeless. But my childhood did not give me any tools on how to be a useful member of the community. How to be a loyal and honest employee and co-worker.
This step began to open my eyes to the reality that I wasn't tough. That an inventory could help me start a new life and with that new life I had to quit being the victim. I had to accept responsibility for my actions and learn the hardest thing I ever learned in my life... three little yet very powerful words... I AM SORRY.