As I’m entering my fourth year of recovery, I’m also finally working my 4th step. I’ve been slow going through the steps because I have a stubborn ego. In the beginning I thought I knew best and didn’t fully follow the AA protocol, but as time goes on and I pick up the big book here and there I keep seeing more and more of the brilliance in it.
And so that is how I came to be doing a fourth step this far into recovery. As I’m doing this searching and fearless moral inventory, I am bringing awareness to my arrogance. I’ve always had very strong opinions about most things and insisted on doing things my way. And that’s pretty much how I’ve done recovery…my way.
I first tried it without AA which didn’t work, then went the AA route, but always believing I was just a bit different than the average AAer. Always thinking I had a superior way of doing recovery. I’m finding this isn’t such an unusual trait in alcoholics, most of us don’t like to follow rules. As I was talking about this with a fellow AAer she stated she couldn’t even follow a recipe. I laughed out loud because no matter how hard I try, I always end up venturing into my own version of a dish. I’m definitely recognizing a pattern of being rebellious, know it all, and not liking to follow rules or protocol.
In sobriety I have chilled that rebellious streak and I feel much calmer and less antagonistic. I am now starting to mellow – is this age or sobriety? I assume it’s a melding of both. I’m doing this 4th step work at election time. I recognize my resentment of government. I have not voted in twenty years. (Horrible! I know!!) I’m lowering my head in shame and not going to try to justify why I haven’t. I am recognizing how I’ve shirked responsibility in a lot of areas in my life and not honoring my right to vote now seems very out of character with who I am becoming as a person in recovery. I have immense gratitude to live in a country where I have the right to vote and help make changes. I have gratitude for all the human rights and civil rights activists who have fought to change the future for women and minorities. And so it is this gratitude that led me to have some humility and return to my right to vote.
Humility being the key word in this endeavor, when I checked in at the voting site, the volunteer announced very loudly, that I had been purged from the system. When one doesn’t vote for twenty years, and doesn’t return address verification cards, then apparently one gets purged. And so karma has a little giggle at my expense and fortuitously it’s while I’m working this 4th step that I get to purge my shame and guilt over this irresponsible aspect of myself. The timing was impeccable.