DISCUSSION No. 3
INVENTORY & RESTITUTION
material contained herein is merely an outline of the inventory and restitution
steps and is not intended to replace or supplant:
|| a. The
careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b. Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c. Study of the program.
d. Daily practice of the program.
e. Reading of approved printed matter on alcoholism.
f. Informal discussion with other members.
|| This instruction
is not a short-cut to A.A. It is an introduction - - a help - - a brief
course in fundamentals.
This meeting covers Steps 4, 8, 9, 10. We will take them in order.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
intent and purpose of this step is plain. All alcoholics have a definite need
for a good self-analysis - - a sort of self-appraisal. Other people have certainly
analyzed us, appraised us, criticized us and even judged us. It might be a good
idea to judge ourselves, calmly and honestly. We need inventory because:
In either event we obviously
need an inventory and the only kind of inventory to make is a good one.
Moreover, the job is up to us. We created or we let develop
all the anti-social actions that got us in the wrong. So we have
got to work it out. We must make out a list of our faults and then we
must do something about it.
our faults, weaknesses, defects of character, are the cause of our drinking,
- or our
drinking has weakened our character and led us into all kinds of wrong action,
wrong attitudes, wrong viewpoints.
The inventory must be four things:
- It must be honest.
Why waste time fooling ourselves with a phony list? We have fooled ourselves
for years, we tried to fool others, and now is a good time to look ourselves
squarely in the eye.
- It must be searching.
Why skip over a vital matter lightly and quickly? Our trouble is a grave
mental disease, confused by screwy thinking. Therefore, we must search diligently
and fearlessly to get at the truth of what is wrong with us - - just dig
in and search.
- It must be fearless.
We must not be afraid we might find things in our heart, mind and soul that
we will hate to discover. If we do find such things they may be the root
of our trouble.
- It must be a moral
in error, think the inventory is a lot of unpaid debts, plus a list of
unmade apologies. Our trouble lies much deeper.
We will find the root of our trouble lies in Resentments, False Pride, Envy,
Jealousy, Selfishness and many other things. Laziness is an important
one. In other words we are making an inventory of our character: our attitude
toward others, our very way of living.
|| We are
not preparing a financial statement. We will pay our bills all right,
because we cannot even begin to practice A.A. without honesty.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing
to make amends to them all.
Under this step we will make a written* list of those
we have harmed. We ask God to let his will be done, not our will,
and ask for the strength and courage to become willing to forget resentments
and false pride and make amends to those we have harmed. We must not do this
step grudgingly, or as an unpleasant task to be rid of quickly. We must do it
willingly, fairly, and humbly - - without condescension.
Detroit pamphlet said "a list (mental or written)," but the Twelve
Steps and Twelve Traditions later made it clear that it needed to
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except
when to do so would injure them or others.
This is where we make peace with ourselves by making
peace with those we have hurt. The amends we make must be direct. We
must pay in kind for the hurt we have done them.
The list of harms done
may be long but the list of amends is equally long. For every wrong we
have done, there is a right we may do to compensate.
- If we have cheated
we must make restitution.
- If we have hurt
their feelings we must ask forgiveness from them.
There is only one exception. We must develop
a sense of justice, a spirit of fairness, an attitude of common sense. If our
effort to make amends would create further harm or cause a scandal, we will
have to skip the direct amends and clean the matter up under Step Five.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong
promptly admitted it.
In coming into A.A. we usually will have a pretty big
inventory to work on, as in Steps Four, Eight, and Nine. But even after that,
we will not be perfect. We have a long way to go. We will continue to make mistakes
and will be inclined to do some more wrong thinking and wrong doing. So at intervals,
we continue to take inventory. Here the purpose is to check on our progress.
We certainly cannot be perfect, so the need for regular inventory is apparent.
These inventories are personal. We confine the
inventory to ourselves. We are the ones who need it. Never mind the other fellow!
He too is probably troubled and will have to make his own inventory.
we make these inventories, probably the best way to start is to go over
(one by one) each of the twelve steps, and try to discover just what (in
these steps) we are not following.
The businessman has to make a physical inventory from time to time. We
have to make a personal inventory of ourselves from time to time if we want
to recover from a serious mental illness.
So much for the inventory steps - - now look at some of
the things we would do well to cover in an inventory:
And so on through a
- Selfishness -
- the common vice of all alcoholics.
- Egotism - - who
is without some of it? Self-Importance, Mr. Big.
- False Pride -
- too big to admit a fault or an error.
- Impatience - -
the spoiled child in a grown man.
- Resentments -
- an alcoholic usually is sore at the whole world. Everybody is wrong!
- Lack of common
honesty - - usually fooling ourselves and trying to fool others.
False pretense, sham.
- Hate - - the outgrowth
of anger and resentment.
- Jealousy - - just
wanting what the other fellow worked to get.
- Envy - - a sure-fire
cause of discontent and unhappiness.
- Laziness - - just
Show a List of Virtues
which we very definitely lack and should go to work on to develop
Honest Pride in work well done
Industry (go to work and really work)
And so on through a long list.
||If we have lost
faith we must work desperately hard to get it back. Ask God to give us
faith in him, our fellow man, and ourselves.
||If we have lost
hope we are dead pigeons. Only those who have been cruelly hurt and in
desperate need can know the wonderful sense of security that lies in hope
for better things.
||Since our own
self-sufficient conduct of our own life has failed us, we must put our
trust in God, who has never failed.
pertaining to drinking, or stopping drinking, is silly or irrelevant.
The matter is too serious. In A.A. we learn by question and answer.
We learn by exchanging our thought and our experience with each other.
Any question we ask may help someone else. To cover as many questions
as possible in the short time available, all answers must be limited to
A state of humility
is very difficult to attain, but the goal is well worth the effort, considering
the serenity that is achieved.