“Dance through the pain and God will dance along with you”
–Marianna, a friend of Alcoholics Anonymous
Ladies and Gentlecats,
I am doing my 4th Step.
For those who are not familiar with the process, the 4th Step is one of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA to the majority of us in the Program). Though I’ve been sober for the past six years, I find that I worked the program with half steam–especially when it came to this step. The 4th Step calls for those in recovery to list all our resentments, the cause of our resentments, what parts of us were affected by those resentments, and the part we played in causing all the drama. Though many AAs make their own, there’s a “Resentment Sheet” that accompanies the 4th Step that looks like this:
It’s good times with a smile.
All joking aside, I avoided this step because I not only resented the past but I know did (and said) some dirty shit to people even when sober. As I said before, I’ve been in the Program for years, but did not want to look the fact that I called someone a “fucking piece of shit” in an email or secretly slept with friends’ boyfriends. I’m not that person anymore and found myself not wanting anything to associate with the person I was while drinking and acting out. Or an untreated, yet sober addict. Ignoring my Darkness resulted in me feeling like this half the time:
Or like this:
Or worse, almost making me do this with people I have no business being with:
On top of all that, my gut was telling me I needed to do the inner work. The only reason why my life is nearly a chicken fried mess is because I was doing everything I can NOT to examine my unmanageability . In other words, the call for change was coming whether I liked it or not and if I didn’t do my 4th Step–or at least start on it–I was going to either wind up in someone’s bed or wind up in a bar.
So I sat in my living room this past Tuesday and got to work, but not without encouragement. I called my AA friend Marianna (which is not her real name) and told her that my life as it is now is a mess. I’m not going to lie–I thought I was going to be judged and get the verbal bitch slap about taking so long. However, that wasn’t the case. She not only told me that she understood where I was coming from, but that the 4th Step was where I needed to be. “When I gave all that stuff to God, Meeka,” she said, “I was free and I didn’t have that weighing me down anymore. And now I see God in everything. Meeka, you have to dance through the pain and God will dance along with you.”
I started my 4th Step with willingness, fear and intense resentment. I didn’t realize how much fury I had towards others until I started writing. And as I wrote, I found that beneath that rage is pain, hurt and the irrational fear that I will be molested again. Even though I am 31 years old and far from home, there’s that little girl inside of me that fears someone attacking her and using her body for their sexual and violent needs.
I have a long way to travel as far as the 4th Step, but it makes no sense to hide when I gotten this far. I tell you this story, Readers, because I know a lot of us who were traumatized are also addicts–hopefully doing a 4th Step in a 12 Step Program. If you are near the 4th Step but pussyfooting around it, just do it. I feel you are only delaying the inevitable and thus postponing your recovery. You will sooner or later will have to look at yourself and see what you can do to not only forgive others but to forgive yourself. Sooner or later, you will have to deal with what happened between you and the world.
You might as well get started so you can live like this: