All of America Needs To Write A 4th Step...Right Now
I’ve always thought that if the entire world would work the Steps, we would have a much more peaceful, kind, accepting and loving world.
Right now, the world, especially America, needs all of the peace, kindness, acceptance and love we can give.
So much of what’s happening in our world could be softened, if not solved, if we could all just look deeply into ourselves, our character defects (we all have them) and learn to take responsibility for our part.
For me, that means writing a 4th Step. I look at my personal flaws…a personal inventory. Where have I been selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do I owe an apology? Have I withheld information? What could I have done better? Was I thinking of myelf or was I thinking of what I could do for others? Was I kind and loving to all? To all…not just the people, place or things that I like. Have I really been genuinely kind and loving, and patient and truthful, and self-less and thoughtful with everyone? Definitely not. That’s for sure. But why? Why did I act like that? Why did I feel like that?
Well, now, I take a look my behavior so that I can get a really honest and clear look at those questions. Where did fear, greed, possessiveness, and pride rule my actions? The quick and very easy conclusion was that YOU were wrong. YOU were at fault. YOU!
Crap. That’s not going to work though, because at some point, I’m going to find out that the longer I am resentful at you, the more I hurt. By punishing you for hurting me, I feel like crap, and I suffer. AND, I’ve spent so much of my life feeling this anger and fear and resentment, it’s like I’ve handed over my own peace and serenity to you and I pay the price.
Resentment is the most destructive of all characters to alcoholics. The “number one” offender. Because, from it, spews other ugly defects like selfishness, self-centeredness, anger, fear, and hatred.
This is exactly the reason for the 4th Step! We take the time to closely examine ourselves. We acknowledge where WE can improve, where WE can make amends to those we’ve harmed and by doing so, can start to heal. When we see that we are all imperfect humans making imperfect mistakes, we can start to have a little more tolerance, pity, and patience towards those who have harmed us.
“But in AA, we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.” (AA Twelve and Twelve, page 47)
There are times when we…you, me, everyone… need to have our voice heard. Of course, there are, but when we continue to carry the burden of pain so deeply and for so long, we are ultimately only hurting ourselves. Of course, we have every right to fight to correct wrongs, to fight for injustices and encourage love, in fact, it is our responsibility as human beings sharing a planet together. It is our responsibility to help one another. It is our responsibility to encourage, share, accept and love each other. Everyone. In love. It is our responsibility to take care of each other. Everyone. In love.
But, we need to spend more time figuring out how to fix the problems and finding solutions together. What can I change within myself to make the world a better place? Where can I be more loving and inclusive? Where can I challenge myself to harbor less fear and anger?
What can I do?
Well, now, I take a look at my behavior so that I can get a really honest and clear look at those questions. Where did fear, greed, possessiveness, and pride rule my actions? The quick and very easy conclusion was that YOU were wrong. YOU were at fault. YOU!
What can I do to find solution?
What can I do to heal hearts?
Yes, ME. What.Can.I.Do?
I need only look at myself. Not at you. I take care of myself, my thoughts, my ideals, my feelings, so that I can better take care of you.
I do the work of the 12 Steps, not so much because I might drink…although, that is always possible…I do the work of the 12 Steps, so that I can be a better citizen to you, my dear friends and our wonderful, beautiful world. I do the work, so that we are better together.
Much love and peace,