Part 18- Step 4 Revisited
It is once again the month of April and time to revisit Step 4. In reality Step 4 needs to be reevaluated more than once a year,preferably at least every month. It is a very critical Step and begins a cycle that runs through Step 9. The purpose of 4 is to help us make the changes necessary to move forward with our lives. It requires a deep look inside by each and every one of us. We need to see the Good as well as the Bad and work on promoting the former and limiting the latter. We all know this is a process and takes years to really work completely in any sense. It is important to remember the Steps are a lifetime job. They and we change all the time,as do our perspectives. So don’t be discouraged and do not put off working the Steps. They are the guidepost for our recovery.
I am a firm believer in the truth and in simplicity. I have often said that we have a simple program for very complicated people. And as we proceed,we see that is absolutely true. Most of the problems and issues lie within us-some so deep and longstanding that they are hard to understand and very hard to discard or change.
I would like to provide a few clearcut changes that we need to make.
1.We must regain our control as gatekeeper of our heads. We must eliminate the addict and everyone else from that role. That job belongs to us-no one else. Our inablility to do this keeps the addict playing with our thoughts and our fears which paralyzes us and keeps us doing Everything Wrong as it relates to the addict and others. And to ourselves.
2. We must learn to believe that our lives are important. We were not put on earth to fix the addict,which automatically excludes our ability to live our own lives .Our lives have value and meaning and we are entitled to the fulfillment of our dreams-our dreams. This has nothing to do with addicts or anyone else. These are our personal dreams for ourselves. Yes they may include a happy family life ,but that cannot happen with the addict in control of the family. We must accept our right to take back control of our own lives and make them what WE want. This is not being selfish;it is being honest and realistic.
3.We must have the courage to say “no” and understand that it is a complete statement. When we add the” because” or the “but”,we have played right into the hands of someone else(usually the addict).” No” is perfect for almost every issue that arises with addicts. You do not have to say anything more or do anything at all. Every time we respond with more or start to do something ,we get it wrong. We play right into the addicts scheme. And whatever we think we are saying or doing,trus tme-the addict is in control. The answer is NO, NO, NO ;and what to do is Nothing! DO NOTHING that pertains to the addict,but DO EVERYTHING that pertains to YOU. Never forget-the addict reads you perfectly. No matter what you say or do, the addict knows you are eating out of his/her hand. It all about GOTCHA! We think we are throwing a safety net and the addict has actually entrapped us in his/her web of addiction and craziness. Until recovery takes place,which can only occur with our understanding the need to change, this scenario is and will be reenacted over and over thousands of times-perhaps for our lifetimes.
4. I have said the following on many occasions. When I look back from a 22 and a half year perspective I am appalled how easy it is to throw every working relationship out the window to seek to save the one person who cannot be saved by us. Everyone we are willing to discard is salvageable-but we throw them out the window(or out of our lives). How ironic and how completely crazy this is. It shows how truly our lives have become unmanageable. We discard every one who matters to chase the one we can Never Catch , Never Help. and Never Fix. We need to change this thinking and behavior 180 degrees. Could this be any clearer?
I know this is a different look at change and the actual wording of Step 4. However in the interest of truth,simplicity and brevity(we all hope to shorten the time it takes us to” get it”) this is an enumeration of some the most urgent changes that we must undergo. I know all of this takes hard work,but in the end it will be much easier than pursuing an addict for another 30 years.