Far From the Tree: Step 4 Soul Searching

Step 4: Soul Searching

There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step — more will surely be revealed.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


What does it mean, to take an inventory of ourselves?  This is a time to look inside and focus on what we feel constitutes a valuable life.  Do we simply live for the next party; the next good time?  Or do material possessions motivate us – a bigger house or a higher paying job?  Do we strive to keep up with the Jones’ while secretly hiding our own obsession?  Do we feel morally superior to our neighbors because we have a higher degree or drive a bigger car?

Many live their lives thinking they need that one more thing to make life “perfect” . . .  and while they are battling their demons, striving to obtain that “perfect” life, life is simply passing them by.

We all travel our own paths and many believe staying on the straight and narrow rather than following their heart is how life is meant to be lived but very often, it’s this path that shrivels our soul.  We earn money, but feel useless, we have a house but not a home, we have the perfect family, but no contentment.   This often leads to the ‘guilty’ pleasures . . . carrying a flask in our tote bag, hiding a bottle in our car . . . just something to stop the isolation we feel living our perfectly imperfect life.

I think this step is about admitting that our true goal in living is to grow as a human being.  I believe we are meant to test our wings, to make mistakes and then grow from those mistakes.  We’re not meant to wallow in self doubt, or be crushed when our marriages fail, or we don’t get the next promotion.  We are meant to pick ourselves up and start over, right here, now, today, right where we are.  We are meant to realize that even the lowest among us, the drunk or the homeless person has value and worth and just may be more intelligent than we are, they have simply let their own demons and addictions and troubles overcome them.

Take inventory and realize that it’s never too late to be who we were meant to be.  It’s never too late to be in tune with the world around us, never too late to love ourselves and our fellow mankind.  Never too late to simply ‘be’ and feel the force of God’s love flow all around us.