I was at the noon meeting yesterday, minding my own business, checking emails on my iPhone a I am prone to do and I was listening to a discussion about Step 4, and resentments, and whether or not others like us, and all that assorted stuff. A gal was sharing about how she gets all upset if she discovers that someone she knows (or doesn't know) doesn't like her, or something she's said or done. Now she's gotten to be much better than she used to be since getting sober a year and a half ago but it's still and issue for her.
Another attendee shared that in his 2+ years in AA, he still hasn't completed his 4th Step and finds himself feeling somewhat anxious about doing it. He knows he needs to do it, and he knows he is simply making excuses and putting it off. (I just love the honesty in AA) I recall in my own story that early on in AA (about 9-10 months sober) I was in a particularly funky, grouchy mood, sitting in a Tuesday night meeting in Toledo, Ohio. I was analyzing and judging all the comments inmy mind, rationalizng how stupid everyone else is, or how dumb that was, etc. (the itty bitty sh*tty committee was in full session and I wass miserable) When out of the blue, a particularly annoying member said (and I quote) "If you're sitting in an AA meeting thinking everyone around you is an asshole, it's time to do your 4th Step."
Suffice it to say, he caught my attention immediately. I was shocked at what I'd heard, and obviously he was talking to me (although he probably didn't know it lol). Well, I HAD been agonizing about doing my 4th Step, putting it off, worrying, etc. I went home and began writing, using the basic format from the Big Book. I knocked it out pretty much in one sitting, leaving only some finishing touches for later days. I recall finishing and thinking to myself "Well, I don't know why I waited this long to do this, not a big deal." I made arrangements to meet with my sponsor and we worked Step 5 together shortly after I finished Step 4. That was actually a little more nervy than the writing but he helped me through it.
I learned a few valuable lessons: 1) I'm not nearly as awful as I had thought. 2) I'm not nearly as wonderful as I had thought. 3) Just do it, man! I learned that writing my inventory helped me detach emotionally from the "truth about Scott" and seeing the items on paper helped me not be so freaked out about them. Sharing these things with a sponsor helped me see that while important and some serious, they were not earth-shattering at all. In fact, John had had many similar situations in his drinking/drugging days. Going through the inventory process helped me realize also that there are many, many more good things to write about myself than I first realized. Which taught me that reverse pride is just as damaging than pride itself. I began to develop some humility. I learned the truth about Scott, without all the filters between my ears.
All I can say about Step 4 and Step 5 is that once you're on solid footing with a sponsor or a spiritual advisor, AND your HP, its time to take a lesson from Nike and "just do it."