The Importance of a Moral Inventory During Recovery from Addiction

The 4th Step: The Importance of a Moral Inventory During Recovery from Addiction

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventories of ourselves.”

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Fourth Step

The Twelve Steps can be thought of as your roadmap to recovery.  When you get to the Fourth Step, you are starting to make some real progress.  You still have a long way to go on your journey of sobriety, but at least you’re moving forward.

Steps One through Three were about making some difficult personal admissions—that you are powerless over the addiction that is ruining your life, that you can’t overcome the addiction by yourself, and that you need help.

Now, you need to figure out the shape that help should take.  The only way to determine that is to first conduct an inventory, to see where you currently stand.  And, since addiction is in large part a spiritual disease, so needs to be the inventory.

What is a “Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory?”

It is “searching”, because it is an incisive and reflective look at yourself—your strengths and weaknesses, your triumphs and your failures.  You want to know yourself as well as you can.  Be aware of such possible character defects as:

  • Unhealthy Desires – expectations, attachments, and cravings; always focusing on what you don’t have, instead of appreciating what you do have
  • Fears -worries and insecurities that make you run from life
  • False Beliefs -entrenched ideas (often mistaken) that can keep you from seeking the truth or getting better
  • Poor self-discipline -responding automatically to satisfy your desires can keep you from acting consciously to reach positive goals

It is “fearless”, because you must have the courage to be honest.  You may find out things that you don’t like about yourself—but that’s the point.  Only when you are completely aware of your shortcomings can you start working on correcting them, by using your strengths.

How Does This Help with Recovery from Addiction?

Much of what you learn during addiction rehab deals with substituting positive behaviors for negative ones.  When you take a moral inventory, you will start to discover how your character defects promote your dysfunctional behaviors and ultimately, help fuel your addiction.

With this new awareness, you can stop acting on “addiction autopilot” and start acting in ways that support your continued sobriety.  More importantly, you will also gain the ability to understand your own motives for acting in certain ways, and THAT knowledge can keep you from inadvertently traveling too far down the road to relapse.

The Narcotics Anonymous basic text says this—“…Step Four will help us toward our recovery more than we imagine…  We are trying to free ourselves of living in old, useless patterns.  We take the Fourth Step to gain the necessary strength and insight which enables us to grow.”

If you live in Colorado and are struggling with a substance abuse disorder such as drug addiction or alcoholism, AspenRidge Recovery can help you learn how to make the necessary life changes to regain your sobriety. Contact AspenRidge today to restore health and hope to your life.

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