Resource: Step 4 Inventory Template

I know some of the feelings I felt when I was working on Step 4.

  • I was afraid to dig up old dirt.
  • I wasn’t sure HOW to do Step 4 “correctly”
  • It seemed to be all over the place
  • It was mostly negative stuff and sexual stuff
  • I didn’t really know where to start
  • I didn’t know how or when it would ever end
  • It took me about a year and a half to actually get it “done”
  • I was really fearful that someone would find what I’d written
  • I second guessed myself a lot

When I finally started working with a sponsor, this was probably one of the biggest things he did to help me initially – give me an outline of how he did Step 4.

I’ve mentioned before that he had me read the “Big Book” – the AA Book, which breaks down Step 4 in to a bit more detail.

Here’s what the first part (and to me the most important part) of Step 4 looks like:

Step 4 Inventory Template

If you’d like to download this format, click on the image or text above!

In this template, Step 4 is broken down in to 4 main categories:

  1. Resentments
  2. Fears
  3. Sexual Harms Done
  4. Other Harms Done

The reason I feel “Resentments” is the most important step to write down is because I see it as the CORE issue I have that leads to everything else: pornography, fear, lust, etc.

Some of my common resentments are:

  • feeling my way is better
  • didn’t communicate what I expected from him clearly
  • didn’t try to understand first
  • worry too much about what others think
  • had hidden expectations
  • expected too much
  • didn’t respect him for what he’s going through
  • feeling I know more than him

What I’ve seen, and continue to see in some ways, is that these core issues, all of which are symptoms of pride, almost always lead to other sins – acting out in my addiction because I don’t care, because I’m mad at someone or something, or because I feel alone or upset.

I hope this information can help others.

I know there isn’t a “right way” to do Step 4, but this format really helped me get it done effectively for me.

Hasta manana!

Nate

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  • Recovery Date:
    166 days ago

Comments

  1. Raul says

    Hey Nate–

    This helps a lot. I feel empathy here. This post makes me feel understood. Thanks a lot.
    As I start step 4 for the third time, I really look forward to do it differently–perhaps not chronologically–and include elements from this chart.
    Today, I am going to read Elder Maxwell’s talk and the step 4 section of the AA book.
    Gracias Amigo!

    Raul

  2. says

    Me alegro amigo mio!

    As we read over Step 8 yesterday, it made me thankful that I’d already done some of that work in the Step 4 process – writing out people that I have offended and people that have offended me and then trying to determine how I “got the ball rolling”.

    Step 4 has also helped me to recognize the trend of my addictions: feelings, resentments, attitudes, fears, etc. that LEAD to acting out. I feel best when I realize I’ve “relapsed” simply for resenting something or someone, not even getting close to “acting out”.

    I mentioned last night in the meeting that having a sponsor and working close with others in the group is a huge blessing for all involved. I’m grateful to be your friend, to be on the same team, and to be working together to strengthen one another.

    Talk soon!

    Nate

  3. Raul says

    I have a logistics question: On your chart, did you go fill it out chronologically? If not, how did you do it?
    how did you make sure you dumped it all?

  4. Raul says

    I am reading chapter one on the Big Book.
    My inventory looks a lot like Bill’s story. I basically recount past events and throw some feelings every now and then. It is just prose.

  5. says

    I thought about things chronologically but didn’t worry too much if, from time to time, I added things at the end that I remembered that may have gone earlier on in the list.

    In some ways, my list of experiences, both good and bad, is on-going. I have thought of things later that I add to my list. Prayer helped me quite a bit when I was directly working on Step 4.

    Hope this answers your question.

  6. says

    I really like The Big Book and plan to re-read it again too. It comes at addiction from a little different perspective.

    Let me know what sections of it are helping you the most.

    Talk soon!

  7. Raul says

    Thanks, I’ve been dumping memories in the spreadsheet as they come, not chronologically. I will add columns with things such as feelings, harms, reaction, consequences–basically taken from your template and suggestions in the manual.

    Here’s another question–I am just being honest here:
    As you were typing memories, did some memories trigger you? I am feeling kind of bad because as I see it, I shouldn’t be triggered by undertaking step 4.

  8. says

    Some things I wrote down had that potential, yes. I guess this is where the importance of prayer came in. Because the resentments and fears were such a big part of my inventory, when I got to the “Sexual Harms Done” I was looking at things in a different way – I looked at these harms as more of a symptom of the core problem.

    Keep me posted!

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