Is there such thing as a perfect step 4 inventory?

img_6412Is there such thing as a perfect step 4 inventory?

This question is of course rhetorical. Everything is good — in the right time and in the right amount.

Now that God is our new employer, we need to take an inventory to discover the truth about items held in stock that are useless and prevent us from doing our work.  The AA BB tells us: ” Our new employer is all-powerful and will provide us what we need if only we keep close to Him and perform his work well.” (pp 63)

A complete searching and fearless, through moral inventory consists of:

1. Prayer

2. Resentment fear harm sex inventories, including the sex ideal and the questions on our core fears. Or, four (4) absolutes inventory or the daily moral inventory







3. Liability inventory

4. How to spot your patterns

5. Assets inventory

The various components of doing a fourth step inventory may be itemized as follows:

1. Prayer:  Pray each time before you start writing.


We asked God [of our understanding] 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.” (67: 0)

[Optional:  If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.  (Freedom From Bondage, 552: 1)]


We let Him [higher power of our understanding] demonstrate, through us, what He can do.

We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.

At once, we commence to outgrow fear. (68: 3)


We asked God [of our understanding] to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. (69: 2)

In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. (69: 3)

We let God be the final judge. (70: 0)

2. 4th step inventory worksheet which consists of:

Historical; resentment fear harm sex inventories which include the sex ideal and the questions on our core fears. Or, four (4) absolutes inventory or the daily moral inventory

The historical 4th step is described in the AA12&12. We learn in program that God speaks to us through other people.  Until today, I questioned the merit of this inventory.   Then just today, someone told me that he found this type of inventory very helpful.  According to this person, he felt that the historical 4th step inventory gave him “a perspective on how I used to be and who I am now” and the awareness of “the type of people who I want or don’t want in my life.” He felt that it gave him the insight that he wanted to “be around people who can help me and who I can help, ” and  that he “wants positive people in his life.” So,  I found this response very enlightening. No one inventory is good for everyone.  The benefit of a particular inventory format is influenced by where someone is on their personal journey towards recovery.

155 4th Step Questions

The 4-5 column inventories are outlined in the AABB and popularized by Joe and Charlie. In their inventory worksheets, the third column is checked off as appropriate.  In the BBA, we used an “expanded 3rd column” in which we wrote out what parts of our self were involved in the resentment. The advantage of this format is that one has the chance to observe the expectations that we carry around which fuel our resentments, fears and harmful actions.



BBA Worksheet Examples


But, the core of the 4th step is based on our core character defects of selfishness, self-seeking, dishonesty and fear. The antidote is striving to guide our thoughts, feelings and actions by the standards of the 4 Absolutes – selflessness, honesty, purity and love.

4 absolutes 4step inventory

9. Updated Simplified Inventory form from Wally

8. Moral Inventory Blank Form

7. Sample-Moral-Inventory

3. Liabilities Inventory: This checklist is described on page 64 of the Big Book and the liabilities to be inventoried are: Resentment, Fear, Selfishness, Dishonesty, Inconsideration, Jealousy, Suspicion, and Bitterness. These liabilities are found on pages 64, 68 and 69.

The liabilities of the daily moral inventory are: resentment, fear, selfishness, dishonesty, false pride/inconsiderate, jealousy, envy, laziness.

It is written as follows:  For each character defect, write specific example of how that character defect has impacted your life.

Included in the link below are 2 excellent inventories, following the 4 absolutes and the Assets and Liabilities Inventory


4. Patterns: look over everything you have written so far and write briefly about the patterns you see.

What helps spot the patterns?

Sometimes questions like these are a good place to start:

When have you felt like this before?

Is this particular sadness or pain or fear or anger really only related to just this situation at hand (which it may be)?

Is this about a repeating pattern you know from some other time in your life?

Does it feel familiar?

What are the common elements?

What does it tell you about what you need or want or hope for?

How have you handled situations like this one before?

Did you run?

Or hide?

Or fight until there was only you and some scorched earth left?

Or maybe you insisted on doing the “proper thing” even though it hurt you in the long run.

Did you put others before yourself?

And, in light of all that, how do you want to respond this time?

What do you want?

What do you want in the longer term?

What will you have wanted when this thing is resolved?

What does the pattern want for you?

Ask this question and really sit with it a moment: what sort of answer arises for you?

Does the pattern want the same thing you do?

Or would it like you to stay stuck in old habits?

Does it want to protect you in some way and keep you so safe that you start to trust?

Or is it protecting other people in your life? What does it want?

Stepping back like this and seeing things from a different perspective means that you can use your very life as your guide. You can turn to your history and your habits for insight that only you can give yourself.

5. Assets inventory

The liabilities of the daily moral inventory are: Forgiveness (purity), faith (love), unselfishness, honesty, humility, trust, contentment, action.

For each character asset, write specific example of how that character defect has impacted your life.

6.  for step 5:

List your 3 top issues (Including Death, Grief, Loss, Trauma,  Abuse or Anything.  What are the biggies? Regrets? What are the very biggest issues you face?

List your 3 TOP SHAMES (It’s the deep dark secrets that matter the most. Leave nothing out.)


List your 3 TOP FLAWS

10 things that you are grateful for:

The purpose of this workshop is to deepen our program by learning new ways to expand our application of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and to help us awaken to the powerful spiritual principles embodied in the Twelve Steps.

With this group, I am hoping that we can explore and share our experience, strength and hope on the different step 4 inventories.

With prayer and guidance, whatever format we choose can take us to a place that will remove the obstacles that block us off from the Sunlight of the Spirit.

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