Baby Steps of Step 4, column 1
The second part of this column takes more digging. Most of us are so used to believing what we’ve always believed that it is difficult to dig them up and list those beliefs. Force yourself. (Find a quiet place to start.)
What to document
Day 3 Assignment: Continue to exhume your memories for all resentments towards any people, institutions or principles.
The process of Step 4 is messy and emotional as we dig up issues from the past and actually examine the stinking remains. This differs from just remembering, or replaying the offense. This process is an inventory that will change the way we think about our wounds and bring some relief from the damages of the past.
- People that you didn’t think of yesterday. If you need to review, the first part of column 1 info can be found here.
- Institutions might include schools, businesses, places of worship, hospitals or hangouts like a food court, corner cafe or the overflowing dining room table with relatives and memories reminiscent of vultures rising above the holiday music. List them in column 1.
- Principles. Often there are phrases, beliefs or behavioral codes that have been used against us. It matters little whether rules of conduct are enforced by a leather belt or a withering look. Buried in your past are sayings and philosophies that have caused great harm. List these in column 1.
How to document
For your convenience, use the Not So Scary Resentment Worksheet of Step 4. This list of individuals, institutions, and principles (from the past and present) should be written in the first column. We will be working down the pages, not across.
Hint: leave a couple of lines after each person in case you have more than one issue with that individual. It will help keep your work lined up properly.
Why do this?
You will be tempted to skip a bunch of things that rise up but don’t. If there’s an ugly sight in the burial ground, please name it even if you don’t want to. God is revealing things. This is NOT our work, it’s His. Everything revealed is from His hand, even if we don’t know why we are thinking of it. Go with it! God uncovers, discovers and discards for us in the process of Step 4 and 5.
“This business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. (how?) For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. This is how we’ve been cut off from God! This is how we could have moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them!” Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, p 62
Our minds become a burial ground for resentments. Each injury, offense, or major irritation gets buried and the grave is marked for future reference and visited often. Whether we realize it or not, this keeps us stuck in the past. Only by forcing ourselves to face these issues, will we are freed from the painful past.
Do you want freedom? Don’t just nod, do the work. Try this.
Examples of documentation
Click the following for my detailed example: Duck on Wheels Story