12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: Step 4

This series of articles is a PERSONAL perspective/interpretation of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous began on June 10, 1935 and has helped scores of people around the world obtain and maintain sobriety from drugs and alcohol.

STEP FOUR—Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

This Step may sound very frightening and overwhelming when we first read it! Indeed, working the 12 Steps takes a great deal of energy and work, but the pride and fear that arise when we begin contemplating this Step are simply “bogeymen, nothing else” as the “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” teaches us. (Page 49, paraphrased). This Step is hard work but very important in that it helps us look at our “character defects” in a realistic way. Indeed, the literature also teaches us that our “character defects”—also known as “instincts”—are what drive our drinking. So, it’s necessary to examine these parts of ourselves in order to be able to change. I believe that the 12 Steps help us change our character. When we’re able to change and grow through the A.A. Program, we are not only able to get and stay sober, but we’re also able to live happier and more peaceful lives.


1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 2001.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions; Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. 1952

***NOTE: this article is a personal interpretation of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and is neither endorsed nor approved by Alcoholics Anonymous. ***

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