Stepping in the ring

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


I’m listing two steps this week because I, for one, am not ready to move on to Step 5, and I do not think that I am alone. Besides, Step 4 looks like it could take a lot more time than Step 5. Step 5 seems to be what you do with the information you get from Step 4 once you get it.

Come on, now, I know a lot of you are looking on curiously, wondering where this is all going to lead. You’re interested enough to keep reading, but not interested enough to actually take part. This will obviously take an emotional and spiritual commitment that some of you may simply not be willing to make right now.

Who wants to do this? No one relishes a “searching and fearless moral inventory,” especially when no one really asked for one, which, I admit, is probably presenting a challenge to many of you. “Why am I being asked to put myself through this? I’m not even an alcoholic.”

Usually it takes hitting bottom to get someone in the door of an AA meeting, and we’re asking you to consider this as part of your daily devotional — your daily time with God? This is for people who have made a mess of their lives, and you are holding it together relatively well (Are you really?). My guess is that most of you are thinking about following along, but from a distance, preferring to sit this one out rather than make yourself vulnerable to AA’s humbling steps, especially when no one checked in with you first. (Confession: I fall into the category of that last sentence and I’m the one writing this!)

Okay, so we’re asking a lot. I’ll admit that. But now that we’ve started (and we don’t like to not finish what we start), why not give this some serious thought? Millions of people have been helped by these simple steps. You don’t have to be going down for the count to know how powerless you are to get up from the mat. You don’t have to be knocked out to learn you don’t have what it takes in yourself to defeat this opponent. You don’t have to get your nose broken to realize how breakable you are. The Christian life is lived in total dependence on God. Alcoholics learn they have to live in total dependence on God. We all have much to learn from those who have tried on their own and failed to live any other way.

Considering that your knock-out blow could be right around the corner, think of it as preventative.

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7 Responses to Stepping in the ring

  1. Jesus Aguilar says:

    Commitment – commitment – yes it takes commitment but in this forum we need to be clear that we are sharing in generalities and people that are not familiar with the structure of step four are lost.
    Here is some guidelines that may be able to encourage for others to share.
    We own a store and we have many items for sale and every 6 months or once a year we look at what is selling and what is not selling we need to discard. Even we do not make any money on the sale of the items, but we make space for new items. Here is the deal. We turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, but God cannot enter if all the shelves are full, so we empty the shelves that are not selling and now God can enter and make everything better. This is why we take inventory – what is not working we discard, through confession with another, especially one that we can trust that has a closed mouth. In this forum I am not going to share my inventory but I am going to share the process and the relief as a result of getting ready of the ghosts inside the closet.
    Hope and pray to encourage others to look into what we call sins and do not want anybody to know, but the sooner we shine the light in the secret the sooner we walk right into the arms of Jesus that is waiting for us. Have a blessed day

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Learned about these 2 steps from my time in a coma & two strokes…

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Wow! Learn we must and it really does not matter how we get the opportunity to do it.
      But I know you are a blessed child of God and God save you for a reason. Search, meditate and pray for guide to help yourself and then you can be the instrument that God created you to be. Thank you for sharing and participating.

  3. John A Fagliano says:

    John, I guess you must be thinking that a lot of readers have not done inventories because you haven’t read them here. I was not willing to put mine on the internet but here goes:

    My greatest sins are in my thoughts. Negative thoughts about people or situations I’m in that make me grumpy. This happens so often I might as well call it an addiction. I tend to make snap judgements on total strangers based on what my eyes see. I have a tendency to overeat unhealthy foods and that really makes me a hypocrite because the strangers that I judge most are overweight!

    Seeing this all in black and white doesn’t mean I think less of myself. It makes me see what needs work. I think the fear of doing this inventory is that one will end up thinking “I’m just garbage!” and they don’t want to go to that place but that’s not where this leads. It’s like doing housework. It doesn’t leave you thinking “Look at this mess. I’m a terrible house keeper” Instead you feel better when the work is done.

    • jwfisch says:

      Thank you, John. I’m not looking for actual inventories. We aren’t even talking about sharing them yet except with one person. I’m looking for comments about the process. What’s it like? Is it hard to be honest? Do you walk around certain things you don’t want to write down? You gave us some insight into that. Thank you. You don’t have to share what it is to share what it’s like to do it.

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