The fourth step in a 12-step program involves truth and self-awareness. Specifically, it requires that one take a “searching and fearless moral inventory.” This inventory becomes the fundamental underpinning for recovery, insofar as one cannot move forward and make improvements without having a true sense of self. Otherwise, program participants are attempting to improve someone who they do not really know. It is a fundametal adage that one needs to know where they came from to know where they are going in the future.
It is vital in the recovery process that one not attempt to pull the wool over their own eyes. The ultimate goal is to make peace with yourself, and to do so, one should be fully in tune with who they are. This includes both strengths and weaknesses and areas where one has succeeded and failed. A fearless inventory involves knowing what is important. The fourth step is where one really begins to get into the specifics and what is behind their problem. It is only when one can recognize that they are morally deficient in an area that they can understand exactly why they find themselves in their present situation.
It is when one can admit their personal faults that they can begin to rebuild their life. At the same time, this moral inventory could also involves recognition of strengths and areas where one has risen to the occasion and succeeded. Generally, one is not the sum of their moral failures alone. One can have some solid bedrock values and still be in a situation where they are addicted. Then, it can be those values that can come into play to help break the addiction.
Addiction can be thought of as a vicious downward cycle. This cycle, however, does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, it is fed by various beliefs, experiences and personal inputs. In order to break the cycle, it is essential to know what is going on in one’s own psyche that is contributing to the addiction. This is not an easy step to take and involves admitting some painful truths. However, without this step, one is destined to keep repeating mistakes without understanding what may be behind the problem. Without the requisite self-awareness, one will end up continuously on autopilot and, when the autopilot involves addiction, they will end up in the same place where they began.
Losing self-control is something that happens at the very first beginning with the rise of craving and desire for alcohol. This rise continues to excessive and uncontrolled behavior which affects many things in addict’s life. It is not only individual unfortunately who experiences these affects but also the loved ones in their surroundings. Nothing remains the same ever again, and many people even do not realize they have a problem.
Alcoholism is a disease which requires special treatment and brings specific withdrawal symptoms which can be even life-threatening. This is extremely true when we have people who are not mentally stable and can think of alcoholism as a problem which cannot be solved.
People who consume an excessive amount of alcohol and in the long term are in great danger of developing great dangers in the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual way. Alcoholism can cause serious and irreversible damage to critical organs and body systems such as liver, stomach, heart, brain and nervous system. Also, common medical side effects include cancer, stomach problems, sexual problems, osteoporosis or high blood pressure. This risk is unfortunately increased when the person stops drinking from developing withdrawal symptoms. It is important to mention there is a great danger of alcohol on unborn children where fetus suffers behavioral and physical abnormalities.
Social and mental aspects
Social effects show in the way of withdrawal from friends and family. As for negative effects on the family members, especially children, there is also the great negative effect on love relationships or relations in work environment. Loss of job is often the result at the end of this lonely struggle.
Mental effects may vary from person to person depending on the amount and how long is somebody drinking. Heavy drinkers usually experience the feeling of hallucinations, paranoia, and insomnia. Depression is also something which starts to appear also in sober as in drinking moments of the person. Anxiety, personality changes, compulsive behavior, aggressive behavior are just some of many drinking disorders and side effect which require special medical care and treatment.
It can get a little difficult to get a difference, especially today when alcohol is legally and illegally consumed by millions of people of all age and all social and financial levels. Even in some cultures, it is very good to drink more at any age. Depending on body and mind state some people take alcohol on a daily basis, and there is nothing wrong with them. Still, like with everything, it is individually how different people react to certain substances.
Of course, there are National Institutes on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse which have standards about what is a problem and what is not with alcohol drinking. For example, seven or eight drinks per week should be considered as an overdrinking issue and four or five per night as an uncontrolled problem.But what is that line which crossing makes it Alcoholism? This goes much deeper, and it is specified with very precise facts. Alcoholic has a drinking schedule; he/she needs to keep drinking on a regular basis, and this means at least daily. There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol but the line that leads us to alcoholism is very thin and sensitive, and it is very hard to stay on that crossing line. Circumstances are one of those specific facts, and it is really important what makes the base and reason for our drinking will.
If the need for alcohol become compulsive need which is becoming uncontrolled, we may talk about serious alcoholism problem that requires medical treatment. It is a distinct physical desire that beats any rule of common sense, and it rises high above our capacity to control it. A person starts to submit to it at the worst possible times as the cravings become abnormal and too strong to cope with. It may be fixed, and there are many recovery centers and groups like Alcoholics Anonymous which successfully help people all around the world. For alcoholics, there is a great chance of whole new life if they manage to admit that they have a problem. At the same time, their power of will is something that must be strong to overcome addiction problems.
The fact with the meeting is that an alcoholic is never forced to anything and it is completely voluntary to step in when the addict decides to step in and ask for help. This fact sets apart AA away from other rehabilitation movements. Also, a decision is made personally about what type of meeting somebody will attend. Today there are few types available but is necessary at the beginning to know the difference between open and closed meetings.
A closed meeting is a meeting where only people who consider them alcoholics may attend. Friends and family are not allowed. Even people who still didn’t clear the fact about being alcoholic are not excepted.
Open meetings are those which allow presence to everybody, no matter if you do or do not know if you have a problem with alcohol. It is open to the general public.
Speaker meetings may have one or few speakers who get up in the front of the room and talk about their problem. These are everywhere and are easiest to find. This speaker may get in discussion with other people in the room or if there is no need just end the meeting when he finishes his speech.
Step series, these are well known 12 step programs. The client is going through course of twelve weeks sharing his experience with each step. It is a knowledge of expectation, and a better understanding of their situation clients find when going through those steps and it has shown as a very successful method for helping people.
Meditation meetings, these may find a person a little uncomfortable at the beginning because of the quiet phases of the meetings. This meditation portion lasts about 10 minutes, and anybody can join to participate.
Men’s/Women’s meetings purpose was not to exclude gender by dividing, just opposite, some people just feel more comfortable with people of the same sex, and it provided the help they needed in a safe space.
Topic discussion meeting has shown a great way to open up the people which couldn’t start talking about their problem and are very nervous about entering the meeting. Here a chairperson introduces everybody to a topic which will be discussed at a meeting, and by sharing about it, people start to pen themselves.
Literature/Big Book meetings focus on the specific text of the Big Book for these meetings. Usually, everybody gets its copy and is allowed to make personal notations and share their statements about it.