My 20th & 21st NA Meetings

 

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STEP FOUR: We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I did STEP FOUR years before I knew what it was. I did it in the form of writing, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary. Today, STEP FOUR offers an opportunity to get re-acquainted with myself. I’ll embrace this opportunity and do it. In order to get an accurate and complete picture of myself, I must include my LIABILITIES along with my ASSETS.

LIABILITIES:

GUILT – A feeling of responsibility for having done something wrong.

I feel guilt constantly. My wrongdoings are irreversible. They can never be made right. I must live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life. I refuse to let this hinder me in any way, shape, or form. Instead, I will use it as motivation to live out the rest of my life serving others within the spirit of love.

SHAME – To bring disgrace upon.

I’ve let down so many people, especially my family. Shame has always been something I’ve felt. But just like GUILT, it has given me great cause to turn my life around and be the best I can be.

RESENTMENT – To feel angry or indignant about something.

For years I had strong resentment towards my father for the abuse he inflicted upon me. Today that resentment is still there. The difference is now I use it as an illustration of how NOT to be.

SELF-PITY – Feeling sorry for oneself.

It’s hard to admit, but yes, there has been isolated times when I’ve felt sorry for myself. However, I made my bed and now I must sleep in it. I have no one to blame but myself. Self-pity never served me well until I learned to accept full responsibility for my actions. Now, when that twinge of self-pity starts to creep in, I am reminded that I am the captain of my own destiny. And what I do today will affect my tomorrow.

ANGER – A feeling of great displeasure or hostility.

Oh my! I’ve lived a large portion of my life in anger. What a shame! What a waste! I’m learning that anger is a choice. So is stress. When either one of these emotions rear their ugly heads, I have a choice. I can feed into them and give them energy, which enables them to grow big and strong. Or, I can swiftly counter them with love and understanding as I move on to a calmer, more peaceful, loving section of my brain. That is a choice that only I can make for myself, and that no one else can control.

CONFUSION – To fail to differentiate from something else.

I didn’t even realize the severity of my confusion until I opened my heart and mind to love and understanding. Even then, it took time, along with the art of reflecting on the past with comparisons of today. Only then was I able to achieve clarity.

Not too long ago, all these LIABILITIES (and more) were detrimental to my wellbeing. I allowed them to affect me in a negative manner. I used them as an excuse to lash out. I used them to justify my misconduct.

ASSETS:

Within those very liabilities, I also find my ASSETS. Such as the ability to focus on the positive that exists in each and every liability. I’ll conclude this post with a list of newly recognized ASSETS that NA has allowed me to discover. At the top of the list is my wife.  Her steady love overflows into every area.

SUZIE
BEING CLEAN & SOBER
OPEN-MINDEDNESS
LOVE
HONESTY
POSITIVE ACTION
WILLINGNESS
FAITH
CARING
GRATITUDE

 

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Steven Jennings

Author: Steven & Suzie Jennings

She was raised as a Mormon, and he is a convict serving 43 years in prison. This blog offers a glimpse into two vastly different worlds that somehow came crashing together. Join them on their journey through prison life & married life.

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