How It Works: Part 3: Step 4: Resentments

How It Works: Step 4 – RESENTMENTS

Pages 64 – 67

Some overview points to be aware of…

  • Step 3 is a prayer that states our commitment to work Step 4 through Step 12.  The 4th Step is ONLY the first step on your way to completing the 3rd Step.  You have to work Step 4 through Step 12 to complete Step 3.  Step 3 is a decision, working Step 4 through Step 12 is the follow through on your Step 3 decision.
  • There are three inventories in the 4th Step.
    • Resentments / Fears / Sex Conduct
  • There are three actions for each one of the three (3) inventories. 
    • Honest Assessment / Writing / Praying
  • The 4th Step is not where we are promised spiritual awakening.  We find the needed spiritual awakening by working Step 4 through Step 9.  We maintain this spiritual growth by taking Step 10 through Step 12.  The promised “spiritual awakening” comes just as Step 12 states, “as a result of these steps”.
  • If you DO NOT find some relief after working Step 4, don’t worry about it.  Some people do and some people do not.  Just keep working and complete all of the remaining Steps.  That is where the promised “spiritual awakening”, as stated in Step 12, is to be found.
  • If you DO find some relief in Step 4 after working Step 4, do not rest on your laurels.  Some people do and some people do not.  Just keep working and complete all of the remaining Steps.  That is where the promised “spiritual awakening”, as stated in Step 12, is to be found.

The first part of this study is the literature.  At the bottom, you will find concise directions for taking Step #4.  Be patient and do the work…

  1. After praying the 3rd Step Prayer, we have made a decision.  What is needed to have a permanent effect?
  2. What is a “decision”?
  3. Describe the difference between “making” a decision and “completing” a decision you have made?
  4. Describe the difference between a “personal housecleaning” and a “personal inventory”?
  5. What is a “symptom”?
  6. How do “symptoms” differ from “causes and conditions”?
  7. What are we starting upon?
  8. Why do businesses take regular inventory?
  9. If the business owner is going to be successful, what can he not fool himself about?
  10. Have you ever fooled yourself about values?  Explain in detail.
  11. What do you mean by “fooling yourself”?
  12. What is the first thing we search for?
  13. What had defeated us?  Are you convinced?
  14. What is the number one offender?
  15. In what way have we been ill?
  16. What does the phrase “spiritual disease” mean to you?
  17. What has to happen for us to heal mentally and physically?
  18. How do we deal with resentments?
  19. List are the three (3) types of resentments that we write down?
  20. Note:  People, Institutions and Principles are listed under resentments.
  21. What do we ask ourselves next?
  22. What do we usually find?
  23. What was parts of us may have been interfered with?
  24. Review the example on Page 65 – These are the first three (3) of four (4) columns.
  25. What are the only two (2) things that count?
  26. Once finished with the first three (3) columns, what do carefully?
  27. What is apparent about the “world and it’s people”?
  28. What two (2) things will happen if our only conclusion is the the world and it’s people were quite wrong?
  29. What causes us to be “sore” at ourselves?
  30. What happened when we would fight and try to have our own way?
  31. What is plain when a life includes deep resentment?
  32. Define the word “precise”.
  33. What do you think Bill means by implying we permit these resentments?
  34. What is the result of permitting them?
  35. What is our hope?
  36. What does the phrase, “infinitely grave” mean to you?
  37. What does the word “fatal” mean?
  38. What do we shut ourselves off from when harboring resentful feelings?
  39. What usually happens next, if not addressed?
  40. If we are going to live, what do we need to be free from?
  41. Define “freedom”.
  42. Have you ever been a grouch?
  43. Have you ever been a brainstorm?
  44. What does the phrase, “dubious luxury” mean?
  45. What does Bill compare being a “grouch and a brainstorm” to?
  46. What is our next action?
  47. What holds the “key to our future”?
  48. What are we know prepared to do with the list?
  49. What did we begin to see?
  50. In that state, what do resents have the power to do?
  51. What is the difference between “fancied” wrong doings or “real” wrong doings?
  52. Given that resentments could actually kill us, what did we need to do with resentments?
  53. What do resentments and alcohol have in common which each other?
  54. To complete our course to “master resentments”, what did we have to realize?
  55. What two (2) things did we not like?
  56. What do we potentially have in common with the folks we resent?
  57. What three (3) things do we ask God to help us show the people, institutions and principles that we resent?
  58. Have you ever granted tolerance, pity and patience to a friend?
  59. Did you do it cheerfully?
  60. If your friend was sick, would that add to your kindness?
  61. When someone offended, what prayer did we say?
  62. NOTE:  The four (4) points of the RESENTMENT PRAYER:
    1. “This is a sick man.” – It is possible he/she/they are like I am, spiritually sick.
    2. “How can I be helpful to him?” – We are called to serve and potentially sacrifice for the resented party.
    3. “God save me from being angry.” – It seems that my anger hurts/damages me, not the other person.
    4. “Thy will be done.” – My way doesn’t work, and this is a re-commitment to the 3rd Step Prayer.
  63. What two (2) things do we avoid?
  64. Why would we avoid them?
  65. We may not be able to be helpful to all people, but what can God do for us in those situations?
  66. Where do we go now?
  67. What do we put “out of our minds”?
  68. What do we look for now?
  69. What are my potential faults?
  70. Who did we try to disregard completely?
  71. Whose inventory is this?
  72. Whose not being inventoried?
  73. What do we do when we see our faults?
  74. How do we admit our faults?
  75. What are we willing to do?

Now that you studied the literature…let’s BEGIN our 4th Step on Resentments…

  1. Download the 4th Step Inventory Form for RESENTMENTS.
    1. This is the form that has worked well for us.
  2. IMPORTANT:  We will be working DOWN these sheets, NOT ACROSS!
  3. On Page 65, the Big Book tells us “to go back” through our lives.  Start with resentment you have right now and work backwards.
  4. Write in Column #1 ONLY, those PEOPLE you resent.
  5. Now, staying in Column #1 ONLY, write down those INSTITUTIONS you resent.
  6. Now, staying in Column #1 ONLY, write down those PRINCIPLES you resent.
  7. GOOD WORK!  All writing has been down in Column #1!
  8. Now, moving to Column #2, answer this question for all resentments.
    1. “Why are we angry?”
    2. Review the Big Book Example on Page 65 and see how Bill uses short phrases, not full stories to describe his Column #2 information.
      1. BIG BOOK EXAMPLES FROM PAGE 65
        1. His attention to my wife.
        2. Told my wife about my mistress.
        3. Brown may get my job in the office.
        4. She is a nut.
        5. She snubbed me.
      2. NOTICE THAT SOME OF THESE ASSESSMENTS ARE NOT NECESSARILY NICE, SOME ARE OUT-RIGHT MEAN.  IT DOESN’T MATTER AT THIS POINT.  JUST WRITE HONESTLY WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART AND MAKE THE POINTS SHORT.
    3. Complete Column #2 on all your resentments before moving onto Column #3
  9. As we approach Column #3
    1. Some points of interest.
    2. All people have at least three (3) Basic Instincts in Life.
      1. Social Instinct – The yearning for relationship with self and with others.
        1. Relationship with Self – Self-Esteem
        2. Relationship with Others – Personal Relationship
      2. Security Instinct – The yearning for safety in their material well being and safety in giving and receiving love.
        1. Material
        2. Emotional
      3. Sex Instinct – The yearning for reproducing and life-long sacramental intimacy.
        1. Acceptable Sex Relations
        2. Hidden Sex Relations
      4. In addition, we all have Ambitions to satisfy each of these three (3) Basic Instincts of Life (Social, Security and Sex).
  10. Now, moving onto Column #3.  Again, work DOWNWARD by columns.
  11. Ask yourself this question, “Has this resentment affected my …” 
    1. …Social Instinct in regards to my Self-Esteem? 
      1. Check the Self-Esteem boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Self-Esteem.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Personal Relationships.
    2. …Social Instinct in regards to my Personal Relationships? 
      1. Check the Personal Relationships boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Personal Relationships.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Material Security.
    3. …Security Instinct in regards to my Material Security? 
      1. Check the Material Security boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Material Security.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Emotional Security.
    4. …Security Instinct in regards to my Emotional Security? 
      1. Check the Emotional Security boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Emotional Security.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Acceptable Sex Relations.
    5. …Sex Instinct in regards to my Acceptable Sex Relations? 
      1. Check the Acceptable Sex Relations boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Acceptable Sex RelationsAcceptable Sex Relations is defined by this, “Sexual behavior that I would not feel public shame about.”  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Hidden Sex Relations.
    6. …Sex Instinct in regards to my Hidden Sex Relations? 
      1. Check the Hidden Sex Relations boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Hidden Sex RelationsAcceptable Sex Relations are defined by this, “Sexual behavior that I would feel public shame about.”  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Ambitions.
    7. “Ambitions” are concerned with obsessive demands to get my Instincts met or a desire to retreat/run away from the opportunities to get my Instincts met.
    8. …Ambitions in regards to fulfilling my Social Instincts?
      1. Check the  boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Ambitions for fulfilling your Social Instinct.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Security Instinct.
    9. …Ambitions in regards to fulfilling my Security Instincts?
      1. Check the  boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Ambitions for fulfilling your Security Instinct.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Sex Instinct.
    10. …Ambitions in regards to fulfilling my Sex Instinct?
      1. Check the  boxes, working downward, if this resent has affected your Ambitions for fulfilling your Sex Instinct.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Column #4.
  12. Once the first three (3) columns are completed, page 65-66 tells us to, “consider it carefully.  The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got. As in war, the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”  Do you see this in your life?
  13. Page 66 continues, “We saw that these resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them away any more than alcohol.
  14. This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.”  Do you realize this?
  15. Now we PRAY the 4th STEP RESENTMENT PRAYER on page 67.  Our book states, “We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”  We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.”
  16. COLUMN #4:  Page 67, “Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes.
    1. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?
    2. Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame?
    3. The inventory was ours, not the other man’s.
    4. When we saw our faults we listed them.
    5. We placed them before us in black and white.
    6. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight.
  17. Go to Column #4, working downward and check the exact nature of your wrongs?
    1. Check the Selfish boxes, working downward, if you Selfishly played a role, any role of any size, in this resentment situation.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Dishonest.
    2. Check the Dishonest boxes, working downward, if you acted Dishonestly in any way in this resentment situation.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Self-seeking & Frightened.
    3. Check the Self-seeking & Frightened boxes, working downward, if you acted in a Frightened manner in this resentment situation.  Complete all your resentments before moving onto Inconsiderate.
    4. Check the Inconsiderate boxes, working downward, if you acted in an Inconsiderate manner toward anyone, at anytime in this resentment situation.
  18. If you have followed these directions, you have completed the Resentment part of the 4th Step and you are on your way to completely Step 3!  You have done an HONEST ASSESSMENT, done a lot of WRITING and PRAYED!  Congratulations!
  19. The next two (2) sections, on Fear and Sex Conduct, will move much faster now that you understand how to complete the Forms.

**Big Book Study:  Chapter 5: How It Works:  Step 4 (Fears)

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