Tired of thinking about sex? There are more options for self-reflection. Concern for financial security is real. But is it the root of the problem?
In our group meeting a young father says, “I am really concerned about putting food on the table for my wife and kids. I am thinking about leaving this program (he is in an intensive long term inpatient program and is on day 7) and getting a job. I can manage my addiction by going to meetings.”
The group sat in respectful, empathic silence.
Finally, an older gentleman shared. “I am really worried about my relationship with my daughter. I have NOT provided for her in the way a father should. I lay in my bed at night and cry over the times I know my daughter did not have money for extra activities at school or art supplies. But, in trying to be completely honest here....I was not crying for my daughter or even thinking about her during the past 13 months when I was using - spending all my time and money drug seeking. For me, the best thing I can do to help my daughter is to address my need for recovery.”
Both men express regret over the precarious financial circumstances of their families but their RESPONSE to these financial security inventories may look different given their current mindset in recovery. Example one sees the problem he needs to inventory and address is his fear about his spotty job history. Example two believes that his financial straits are a byproduct of his Substance Use Disorder and he believes that working on recovery through an intensive inpatient program, for him, is the way to begin to address the root problem.
When we think about our worries as they relate to financial security, we may have a variety of motivations. Maybe our pride is pricked and we want to prove ourselves worthy. Certainly we live in a world that judges us by the car we drive. Fear was an element that both of the men in the above examples shared. Anytime we are in a position of financial insecurity fear is likely part of the experience. It is when we ask the questions about the character traits that accompany our quest for financial security that we may learn more about our own shortcomings.
The point of a Fourth Step is not to vomit our sins and insecurities. Like the rest of the inventory exercise, it is intended to use these lists to help us uncover patterns and shortcomings. We are on a journey to discover what motivates us so that we can become more self-aware. As we wake up to our patterns, we will acquire insights into our habitual ways of thinking, doing and feeling. We might uncover pro-addiction thoughts and beliefs.
We will learn what we need to make right, change, and adjust. Our thoughts, our beliefs, our behavior, our attitudes and more will be realigned as we work these steps. Why does this matter? Because we are rebuilding our lives, adding the capacity for resilience, decluttering our life from unresolved regrets and misdeeds, forming better coping strategies. All good stuff, so hang in!