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HELPFUL HINTS

PREPARATION: before you start this written Fourth Step, read pages 63-71 in the Big Book and the Fourth Step in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

NOTE:

1. This inventory is not an exercise in beating yourself up. Be scrupulously honest but be fair to yourself. Inventory your strengths as well as your defects.

2. The following checklist merely suggests what some people consider flaws. You must decide how they fit with your own moral code. Do not be limited by this list--add your other flaws and assets. It is in this Fourth Step that you begin to discover your values– what you consider right and wrong,

functional and dysfunctional behavior–and how you live up to your standards.

3. This inventory is about who you are now, not who you were when you were drinking and taking drugs. Be careful, however, not to blame all past bad behavior on drinking and drugs if the seed of that bad behavior still exists in you.

4. Don't be discouraged when your character defects are not immediately lifted after you have completed your 5th Step--that is the work of the 6th, 7th and 10th Steps.

5. Prioritize! Spend most of your time on the 20% of your flaws that cause 80% of the trouble in your life. You can initially check off as many flaws as you want on the checklist but then prioritize to the 12 that cause the most trouble. If you list more

than 12 flaws, you are probably beating yourself up! You must check at lease twice as many assets as you check flaws or you really are beating yourself up.

INTO ACTION: On the following list, check all of your defects and all of your assets. This is an inventory of both bad and good characteristics. Then discuss your defects (with your best example of each) on the Review of Flaws form.

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Glossary of Words Used in Steps Four and Five

Moral Inventory ..A list of personality defects, violations of moral

principles, defects in character, maladjustments, and dysfunctional behavior. Character ...............Moral vigor or firmness, especially as acquired

Frightened .............A temporary or continual state of Fear. Anxious. Inconsiderate.........Without thought or consideration of others. Nature....................The essential characteristic of a thing. Self-centered .........Occupying or concerned only with one’s own affairs

through self-discipline.

(same as Selfish).

Defect ....................Lack of something necessary for completeness; flaw;

Self-seeker ............A person who seeks only or mainly to further his

weakness, fault; same as Shortcoming.

own interests.

Dishonest...............The act or practice of telling a lie, or of cheating,

Selfish ...................Too much concerned with one’s own welfare or

deceiving, stealing, etc. Exact......................Precise, detailed.

interests and having little or no concern for others (same as self-centered).

Fault.......................Something done wrongly, an error or mistake. Fear........................Painful emotion marked by alarm, dread, anxiety, agitation, uneasiness, apprehension, etc.

Shortcoming..........Falling short of what is expected or required (same as Defect). Wrong ...................Immoral, improper; not suitable or appropriate.

Footnotes to the list on following page:

1 Dr. Bob’s Fourth Step List; in “He Sold Himself Short,” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 292)

3 Clarence Snyder’s Fourth Step List (one of the original 40 members of AA, see “Home Brewmeister,”

Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 297-303)

2 Seven Deadly Sins (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 48)

4 Boy Scout Law, Robert Binkey's The Official Boy Scout Handbook (10th edition, 1990)(so? . . . what? . . . )

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