Facing Our Darker Side


Facing Our Darker Side April 2

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
—Step Four of Al-Anon

By the time we get to the Fourth of the Twelve Steps, we are ready to face our darker side, the side that prevents us from loving others, from letting others love us, and from enjoying life and ourselves. The purpose of Step Four is not to make ourselves feel worse; our purpose is to begin to remove our blocks to joy and love.

We look for fears, anger, hurt, and shame from past events – buried feelings that may be affecting our life today. We search for subconscious beliefs about others and ourselves that may be interfering with the quality of our relationships. These beliefs say: I’m not lovable . . . I’m a burden to those around me . . . People can’t be trusted . . . I can’t be trusted . . . I don’t deserve to be happy and successful . . . Life isn’t worth living. We look at our behaviors and patterns with an eye toward discerning the self-defeating ones. With love and compassion for ourselves, we try to unearth all our guilt – earned and unearned – and expose it to the light.

We perform this examination without fear of what we shall find, because this soul searching can cleanse us and help us feel better about ourselves than we ever dreamt possible.

God, help me search out the blocks and barriers within myself. Bring what I need to know into my conscious mind, so I can be free of it. Show me what I need to know about myself.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher

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LOOKING WITHIN


LOOKING WITHIN April 1

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 42

Step Four is the vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what the liabilities in each of us have been, and are. I want to find exactly how, when, and where my natural desires have warped me. I wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and myself. By discovering what my emotional deformities are, I can move toward their correction. Without a willing and persistent effort to do this, there can be little sobriety or contentment for me.

To resolve ambivalent feelings, I need to feel a strong and helpful sense of myself. Such an awareness doesn’t happen overnight, and no one’s selfawareness is permanent. Everyone has the capacity for growth, and for self-awareness, through an honest encounter with reality. When I don’t avoid issues but meet them directly, always trying to re-solve them, they become fewer and fewer.

From the book Daily Reflections
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.