Saturday, 10 January 2015

Al-Anon: Paths to Recovery: the Step Four virtues and flaws

Al-Anon does not prescribe how to do Step Four but offers a range of suggestions. Whatever route is followed, lists can help clarify thinking. The Step Four questions in Paths to Recovery essentially describe a range of virtues and a number of flaws. One way of inventorying is to examine whether or not we are displaying the virtues, and then to zone in on the flaws.

For those who struggle because inventory, in picking out flaws, can threaten already fragile self-worth, looking at the assets first can help. Of course, when looking at assets, one discovers, straight away, one's own shortcomings in relation to these assets, so examining assets is far from being a way of avoiding inventory, instead leading us directly, albeit gently, to the truth. 

Here are the virtues and flaws, distilled. 


Acceptance of what cannot be changed 
Acceptance that others are different 
Acceptance that others' needs are different than mine 
Acting responsibly 
Admitting mistakes 
Being clear and concise in expression 
Being dependable 
Being organised 
Creating a pleasant environment 
Doing what I promised when I promised it 
Eating healthily 
Empathy with others 
Financial prudence and budgeting 
Financial responsibility (paying bills on time) 
Following a Higher Power's guidance 
Fostering artistic or other talents 
Fulfilment of commitments 
Generosity (including in Al-Anon) 
Kind thoughts towards others 
Kind thoughts towards myself 
Mentally turning things over to a Higher Power 
Obeying the law 
Offering help when it is asked for 
Openness to others' views 
Patience with myself 
Pointing out the good in others 
Prayer and meditation 
Seeing the good in others 
Seeking a Higher Power's guidance 
Seeking guidance from others 
Spotting opportunities for service 
Taking all of the actions of the programme to remain well 
Taking care of medical problems 
Taking care of physical appearance 
Taking care of physical things (one's own and others) 
Taking each action to the best of my ability 
Taking exercise 
Volunteering for service in Al-Anon 


Doing for others what they can and should do for themselves 
Feeling responsible for what is beyond my control 
Getting upset when I don't get my own way 
Holding others to excessively high standards 
Holding ourselves to excessively high standards 
Inappropriate secrecy 
Lying to avoid tension or conflict 
Manipulation (using covert means to get my own way) 
Mental judgement of others 
Not removing myself from dangerous or otherwise harmful situations 
Taking on responsibilities that are not mine 
Try to fix things that are none of my business 
Trying to be in charge when it is not appropriate 
Voiced criticism

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