Step Four in AA’s addiction recovery program invites us to make a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves. The requirement of this inventory is but minimally met if its only yield is a laggard’s list of shortcomings and missteps. The real work in Step Four is to identify and investigate our dependencies. When a dependency is discovered, the remedial act cannot be second-guessed, negotiated or dithered over. We take an axe to its root.
Rare is the man who has no dependencies and, therefore, no anxiety; who can let come what comes and let go what goes.
Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart. Are you on the drunk-and-dissolute path? Do that with everything you’ve got. Are you committed to awakening? Allow no one to deter, deflect or dissuade you. The key thing is not to hop from one path to another, to mix things up. Disaster that way lies.
We are spittle factories. We talk too much. More words count less. We know that; we long for the gleaming economy of right speech. But first we must know that breaking Babel will be very difficult—harder than quitting cigarettes or weed, harder than losing weight, harder than anything we’ve ever done. We ought not to attempt it unless our goal is our God, before whom there are no other gods, the only and absolute focus of our deathless devotion.
Until a man sees himself as he is, he is flying blind. He goes from one mess to another.
Eventually, he becomes embittered. Or, with the ‘help’ of drugs, sex, work or video games, he numbs out.
In extremis, he finds himself in an ache-scape, in the midst of a great loneliness.
Now, nothing that is, is without a divine aspect. Is this mess the one that reveals the man to himself?