Paul: My 4th Step Flowed from Me

I started drinking at a young age and drank as much as I could as often as I could. I started using other drugs soon after that. By my mid-teens, I was using heroin now and then. I never snorted it. I always shot it.

By 1981 my home had been taken by the bank. My wife had left me and filed for divorce. The kids were gone with her, terrified and confused. My construction company was in bankruptcy court. I had no friends. I had two DWIs. I had been in jail twice, more than a year total. I had no job. I had no place to sleep or wash. I was sometimes suicidal. I hated everyone, but especially myself. By 1989 I had been in and out of detoxes, 30-day programs, and halfway houses for three years. I didn’t understand anyone or anything in AA or NA.

Doing the fourth and fifth steps with Dr. Brown was the turning point of my sobriety and of my entire life. Up until that time, all I could remember hearing about the fourth step was that it was an insurmountable task. It was hard and emotionally draining and would take forever.

My fourth step flowed from me. Patterns that had repeated themselves throughout my life came to light. I found that people, places, and institutions such as my boyhood religion had shaped me into who I am today. I remembered things that were done to me that hurt me so bad that I covered them up with drink and other drugs for years. Things that I had done to others and was so ashamed of that I couldn’t have possibly thought about. I found that fear had ruled me throughout almost all of my life—getting worse as I got older.

The outside things came back to me very quickly. I now own a house, a boat, and a car. I meditate quietly every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Even now I continue to remember things that happened in the past. I quickly ask for help, put them in perspective, and make amends if I have to. I keep in touch with my Higher Power and my close friends in the Fellowship. My life today is many times better and more full and meaningful than I could ever have imagined six years ago.

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