Once we get out of the weeds of the first three steps, we come to Step 4. A step that offers a real chance, for some deep soul searching. If the individual is still willing to do some work, this is a beautiful step, both in it's simplicity and what it can accomplish. It allows the individual to write down his story, every single instance were he's been wronged, every resentment they have with anybody or any thing. This step can be difficult for people, especially if they don't write or haven't writing in years. But if your willing to take the time, this step can empower you with knowledge about yourself, that you didn't even know you had.
It's through writing down our resentments that the miracle starts to reveal itself. If we just talk about our resentments by thinking about them, most of our thoughts are ignored by our lower level of consciousness. We have thoughts we don't even realize we have. We think about them and then they are gone. True insights are less likely to occur just by thinking about them. Writing them down allows us to capture them. It allows us to clarify and explore our thinking, without the mental filtering. Seeing our thoughts on paper allows us to manipulate them in a more tangible way then just trying to talk about them, off the top of our heads. Writing allows us to sort through our feelings and situations in a way we otherwise could not. No matter how important you think a situation or event was, without writing them down, the mind will forget certain aspects, allowing them to fall back into the dark recesses of our minds.
It's in Step 4 that we really look at how much we fault others for the wrongs done to us. We must realize that a person in recovery at this point still lives in a fantasy world. A world that is supported by their dis-empowering beliefs. The fantasy that if things went right it was because of us and if they went wrong it was because of you, or them, or it. The dis-empowering belief that everything must go according to our plans. The imperfect way that life has unfolded is still based on the belief that if anything didn't go according to our desires, it had to be someone else s fault. We blame institutions, police, teachers, the law, the judge, and most often the people closest to us, our own family. It's important to remember that the root cause of our addictions are the dis-empowering beliefs of the Narcissist.
I've heard it hundreds of times, from addicts describing their Fourth Step as a short story , a novel, or even a tome like "War and Peace". And this is exactly what the Step wants. A true, fearless inventory of resentments, lays the ground work for the 8 remaining Steps. While every inventory is different and it's true that self awareness, of even having resentments can be an issue. It is at this point that a good sponsor can basically tell whether a person is serious about their recovery.