Al-Anon Fourth Step Inventory Worksheet

Soberlink Recovery Circle

Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Fearless Inventory

Al-Anon members worldwide have worked this step, taking an in-depth inventory for the first time using thought-provoking questions or the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, among other methods. The key to the fourth step is simple: you just do it.

Your sponsor or step study group will tell you how to complete it using the 4th step worksheets, the Al-Anon Blue Print, or other inventory worksheets. You can even write your inventory journal style in a regular spiral-bound notebook.

al-anon fourth step

Although the step says we take a “fearless” inventory, for many of us, it’s not fearless. It can be scary. Be kind to yourself during this time. For many, the fourth step brings peace and calm unlike anything we have ever felt. Knowing our character defects helps us understand who we are and lets us continue on our incredible journey of self-knowledge.

Fourth Step Prayers

To begin your fourth step, find a quiet place where you can concentrate and have an open mind. It is important to have a support system during the fourth step. Be it a sponsor, step study group, or a close friend, you’ll need someone to lean on during this time.

There are a few ways to begin your honest inventory. You can begin by praying to your Higher Power, calling a friend and praying together, going for a short walk and listening to soft music, lighting a candle, and meditating. Do whatever is needed to clear your mind.

You can pray the Fourth Step Prayer:

God, please help me to honestly take stock. Help me to search out the flaws in my make-up which caused my failure.

Help me to see where resentment has plagued me and resulted in spiritual malady, but more importantly help me to understand my part in these resentments.

Help me to resolutely look for my own mistakes and to understand where I had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened.

Please help me to be searching and fearless in my endeavor to write my inventory.

Another Fourth Step Prayer:

God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power actually to kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wronged me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity, and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick person. Higher Power, please show me how I can be helpful to them and save me from being angry. Higher Power, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to everyone, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of everyone. Thy will be done.

Before You Write Your Inventory

One of the most important things to remember when writing your inventory is not to hold back. This is your chance to get everything out in the open. We are only as sick as our secrets. We don’t want to keep anything in because those secrets drive us to stay sick. We all think we’re the ONLY person on earth that has done something. I’m here to tell you it’s not true. IT IS NOT TRUE. Please do not hold anything back. The only way to get sober is to get everything out in the open.

Al-Anon offers a few tools for the fourth step.

  • Blueprint for Progress—This small booklet you can order from the Al-Anon website. Many Al-Anon members use it to begin their inventory and measure their growth. 
  • Paths to Recovery—Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions – Study guide with in-depth chapters on each Step, with additional sections on each Tradition and Concept of Service that provide insight. Includes thought-provoking questions.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book – 12-step program recovery process way of working the 4th step
  • Alateen Fourth Step Inventory workbook – In 1989, Alateen completed this workbook, used in both Al-anon and Alateen. This workbook encourages you to draw a picture of the defective characteristic.

You can order the above books from the Al-Anon Family Groups website Bookstore. Used books in fairly good resalable condition may also be found in bookstores.

The Three C’s

In Step One, we learned the three C’s, we didn’t cause the disease of alcoholism, we can’t control it and we can’t cure it. In the fourth step, there is an option to create four columns and write your fourth step using a table. Additionally, we acquired an awareness of how we contributed to the disease through our actions.

  • Column 1: Did I cause the problem?
  • Column 2: How have I tried to control it?
  • Column 3: Is it in my power to cure it?
  • Column 4: Did this action contribute to it?

The Four M’s

A longtime member shared that she heard in her recovery that members share in coping with the disease of alcoholism-related to the four Ms: Martyrdom, Managing, Manipulating, and Mothering.  This member wrote her fourth step using the four M’s, writing out situations, persons and events that she wanted to examine closely. She wrote a brief paragraph about each one and a sentence or two on how she wanted to do things differently and how she was going to apply the Al-Anon principles. Her Fourth Step experience provided her with a newfound freedom and she now believes that she is a good person with values. Most important, she feels respected.

Working with a Sponsor

As with any writing exercise, working with a sponsor or an Al-anon member who has worked on this step is vital. They can answer questions since they understand how a personal inventory works. You can also find an Al-Anon meeting that may have a step study group. A step study group works the twelve steps together using a common book or tool and comes together weekly to share their experience with that week’s step.

Love, Kindness, Honesty

Living with alcohol addiction for years can destroy our self-esteem. Family members shatter our good qualities with destructive behaviors like pointing out our shortcomings daily. This may place us in fear of writing an inventory. This is why we include our character assets in our inventory. We include the good things we have done in our lives in our inventory.

Benefits of the 4th Step Inventory

Although some may say otherwise, the fourth step does not have to take a long time. It is a spiritual step, and members of any age complete it. Alateen’s 4th step inventory is identical to AA’s and Al-alanon’s. We can feel good about having completed this spiritual and personal journey. Once we have all that information organized and ready to share however we choose, we feel free.

We might discover new things about ourselves and perceive ourselves differently. We may gain insight into our behavior and personalities. We can identify our own mistakes and work towards being better community members.

Getting Stuck

What happens if you start the 4th step and get stuck with feelings of fear or confusion? It’s okay. Go to an Al-Anon meeting, talk to your sponsor, and put a note on your calendar for a day and time to finish the 4th step. We want our fourth step to take an honest look at ourselves and go at our own pace.

This step is intended to remove negative thoughts from our minds and improve our emotional well-being. After writing for long periods, we can get tired and weary. Be easy on yourself, take breaks, and take care of yourself during this process.

Fourth Step Worksheet

Download this worksheet for your Al-Anon 4th step. Print multiple copies to inventory your Fears, Harms, Resentments, and Sex Conduct. See below for a list of character assets/flaws pulled from Paths of Recovery.

Character Assets/Flaws

Virtues

  • Acceptance of what cannot be changed 
  • Acceptance that others are different 
  • Acceptance that others’ needs are different than mine 
  • Acting responsibly 
  • Admitting mistakes 
  • Agreeability 
  • Being clear and concise in expression 
  • Being dependable 
  • Being organised 
  • Consideration 
  • Courtesy 
  • Creating a pleasant environment 
  • Doing what I promised when I promised it 
  • Eating healthily 
  • Empathy with others 
  • Financial prudence and budgeting 
  • Financial responsibility (paying bills on time) 
  • Following a Higher Power’s guidance 
  • Fostering artistic or other talents 
  • Fulfillment of commitments 
  • Generosity (including in Al-Anon) 
  • Gratitude 
  • Helpfulness 
  • Honesty 
  • Humility 
  • Kind thoughts toward others 
  • Kind thoughts towards myself 
  • Listening 
  • Mentally turning things over to a Higher Power 
  • Obeying the law 
  • Offering help when it is asked for 
  • Openness to others’ views 
  • Optimism 
  • Patience with myself 
  • Pointing out the good in others 
  • Prayer and meditation 
  • Seeing the good in others 
  • Seeking a Higher Power’s guidance 
  • Seeking guidance from others 
  • Spotting opportunities for service 
  • Taking all of the actions of the program to remain well 
  • Taking care of medical problems 
  • Taking care of physical appearance 
  • Taking care of physical things (one’s own and others) 
  • Taking each action to the best of my ability 
  • Taking exercise 
  • Tolerance 
  • Trustworthiness 
  • Volunteering for service in Al-Anon

Flaws

  • Doing for others what they can and should do for themselves 
  • Feeling responsible for what is beyond my control 
  • Getting upset when I don’t get my way 
  • Holding others to excessively high standards 
  • Holding ourselves to excessively high standards 
  • Inappropriate secrecy 
  • Lying to avoid tension or conflict 
  • Manipulation (using covert means to get my way) 
  • Martyrdom 
  • Mental judgment of others 
  • Not removing myself from dangerous or otherwise harmful situations 
  • Self-pity 
  • Taking on responsibilities that are not mine 
  • Try to fix things that are none of my business 
  • Trying to be in charge when it is not appropriate 
  • Voiced criticism