Soul Searching: Step 4

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves


“We searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure… we had to get down to causes and conditions.  ~Bill W, The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

“No matter how many mistakes we have made, we are still perfect beings within, and the within may become the without if we will carefully train ourselves to listen to the inner voice of truth which speaks to us in our moments of quietness and solitude.”  ~Ernest Holmes “The Science of Mind”

I can’t help but notice those two giant little words at the end of this step… “of ourselves.”  For quite some time I took inventories of others, feeling indignant that they didn’t see what I did. It was decades before I had the slightest inkling of a notion that the problem was me. (Similar to being introduced to the concept that alcohol was but a symptom, not the problem here. Another head scratcher.)

Loving myself was difficult enough when I considered the parts of me I liked. Listing my “moral and character defects” as the Big Book calls them did not make it any easier. I didn’t want to acknowledge my character defects because I felt that if I just ignored them and pretended they did not exist, nobody else would notice them either. People would think I had it together and was even kind of perfect. Today I can LOL about the level of blissful ignorance and denial I was in – except that it was far from blissful by the end of my run out there.

The wisdom of the AA program is that by this point in working the steps, the spiritual connection and surrender to the Higher Power is acknowledged and established. I need it if I am to pull back the covers and take that long look at the things about me of which I am not proud. Bill W compares it to taking a commercial inventory in business, nothing more than a “fact-finding and fact-facing process.”

Fact finding mission is easier for me to work with than “character defects” but beyond the words, this work has to be done. I get that it’s important to recognize, identify and admit my character defects. This is another ongoing step for me – new ones continue to be revealed… or new applications of previously identified ones sneak in if I’m not rigorously alert.

Now I also stay rigorously alert to new good characteristics that sneak in too– I welcome and affirm them as my positive character reflects: I am honest. I am truthful. I am loyal. I am loving. I am dependable. I am sincere. I am a good friend. I am generous. I am kind. I am open. I am vulnerable. I am willing.

Bill W says there may be some wrongs we can never right, but we would right them if we could. I do know if confronted with the same circumstances today I would not behave in the same way. That helps.

Through SOM I have come to understand that the Creative Intelligence does not judge but instead affirms and co-creates with me to begin anew from the perfect moment of now. I see that it is only by acknowledging and embracing the icky and embarrassing shadow parts of myself that I can unplug them so they no longer shock me when I touch them.    

Today I can take a kinder more loving glance back. I recognize that the things I focus on in the present allow me to more courageously step into who I am becoming. My future is more about my present thoughts and actions than my past ones.

Today I acknowledge my weaknesses and honor my strengths.

In gratitude, harmony and support,


Soul Searching

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