I just realized something (after years of familiarity with the Twelve Steps.)
If you read the Twelve Steps of any program - nowhere in those steps does it say, “Punish yourself for what you’ve done.” Nowhere.
Step Four? “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory.” Nothing about punishing yourself.
Step Five? “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and [to] another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Still no punishment.
Step Eight? “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” It still does not say, “Punish yourself.”
Step Nine? “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Nothing about punishing yourself.
In fact, Step Nine doesn’t have a single word about what you should do to or with yourself. Step Nine is about other people.
I won’t list all the steps here, but if you review each one, you will see that nowhere does the idea, “punish yourself,” or “berate yourself and beat yourself up about what you’ve done” appear.
I’m not sure if this would be better posted in the Steps section. People who are working the steps who have not reached Step Nine might not see this if I post it there, so I will post it in the Recovery section.
Last Edit: Aug 24, 2020 7:58:24 GMT -8 by Susannah
When I did my first fourth step, I was really hard on myself. After all, the steps talk about shortcomings and character defects. I was told to list the good things about myself and I ignored this because it did not say this in the actual step. Then, one day, while reading the book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I found a few sentences about balancing out the negative with the positive. As Rose said, this is important.
Look at the fourth step as an inventory. You must list everything you have so that you know what to keep and want to let go.
Last Edit: Aug 24, 2020 8:14:54 GMT -8 by Susannah