As I finished writing about Step 3, it naturally led to thinking about Step 4. I have worked Step 4 more times than I can remember. For many years, I was one of those who found working that step agonizing, and I know I’m not alone.
Well over a decade ago, before I came into DA, I attended the Joe and Charlie Big Book Study, which proved to be life-changing for my recovery in another fellowship. Joe and Charlie were two old-time AA members who went around the country doing four day workshops in which you worked all 12 steps during the workshop. That’s right, including step 4!
Their workshop is relevant to any 12 Step program. It is now on YouTube and I urge you to listen to this section on Step 4 (part one), which is embedded below. The way they simplify working Step 4 made a huge shift in my recovery, and I believe it might in yours.
They explain why it’s imperative that you move forward as soon as possible and complete Step 4 as quickly as possible. As they say:
We always like to stop here for just a moment and look at the time element between Step 3 and step 4. We always hear people asking the question, “How long should you wait after you do step three until you start on step four,” and we hear all kind of answers. Sometimes they’ll say well thirty days and maybe ninety days or maybe six months. We heard a professional in the field one time counseling people to wait a minimum of two years and our question back to that person was, “how many people have you killed with that statement?”
In addition to my own fear-based stalling, I could never quite figure out the “right” way to do a Step 4. I spent years using complex and daunting methods to do this step, over-thinking and overworking it unproductively. Joe and Charlie give you the method to do so directly from the Big Book in clear and easy instructions.
I urge everyone, newcomer or old-timer in DA, to listen to this 20 minute piece that will clarify so much about this challenging step.