This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Tim’s story:  The Book Alcoholics Anonymous clearly says that immediately after the Third Step prayer we should take pencil and paper in hand and begin our 4th Step inventory list. Around treatment centers and A.A. there are many books and printed forms but the only wrong way to do a 4th step is; not do one. If you’re still sober you must have done it right. I read several books, looked at lots of different forms and read about Step Four in Chapter Five of the Big Book and never understood most of it, but I’m still sober today so mine must have been OK.


My phone rang one night and my sponsor asked, “How is your 4th step coming Tim?” I said, “It’s coming along just fine and it will get done in God’s time.” And I hung up.

About five minutes later the phone rang again and he asked, “How’s your 4th Step coming Tim?”

“I just told you it’s coming along OK and it will get done in God’s time.”

He said, “Be here tomorrow at 9:00 AM because that’s God’s time for you. We’re going to do your 4th and 5th Step tomorrow.” And he hung up.

We did the 4th and 5th Steps together and we found out exactly what was wrong with me and why I exhibited such bizarre behavior.

In Step 6: “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

I was supposed to be entirely ready but I wasn’t able to do that by myself, I had to ask a power greater than me for help.

In Step 7: Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.”

I asked God for help.

I used my 4th and 5th step lists to begin making a Step 8 list: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. As I started down my 4th Step and thought about what these people did to me, I started scratching their names off my list and by the time my sponsor arrived the only name left was my mother and I was trying to figure a way to get out of making amends to her.

My sponsor said, “Tim, this step is about forgiveness and until you forgive every person who harmed you, you cannot ask them to forgive you!”

That’s what I had to learn about the 8th Step and once I became ready to do that, I was ready for Step 9: “Make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

I started making direct amends and before I was halfway through Step 9, the promises on pages 83 & 84 of the Big Book started coming true in my life: If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom and happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

I spent most of my life believing if I made the outside of me look good that’s all I needed to worry about, but I was wrong, it’s what is on the inside of us that matters and if the inside is good that will be reflected on the outside.


To be continued.

The Waynedale News Staff
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John Barleycorn

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