We had what I (Bob) would call a very successful after-call today, introducing workshop participants to each other who have a desire to take the Steps together. We were able to make a half dozen connections today, yet we still have several members who are still looking. They've each written brief intros, which you'll find in a separate post to this New Information page, about what they are seeking and what they are offering.
But what do we mean when we talk about taking the DA Steps with a BDA focus? Just as we have for the first three Steps, we'll provide plenty of information in the workshop materials to take the Steps. In the Fours, after a series of 4th Step focused questions, you will find the charts necessary to take the 4th Step described in the AA Big Book. There are charts for each of the inventories suggested by AA — resentments, fears, sex, and miscellaneous harms. Additionally, based on our experience, strength, and hope, we (Bill and Bob) have added a positive attributes inventory and guidance for developing sane and sound ideals for your recovery, your life, and your business.
The first three Steps are about becoming aware of your personal powerlessness and unmanageability; accepting that you need spiritual help to regain sanity, or to gain sanity for the first time; and to take the actions necessary to begin the recovery process and to show Higher Power that you mean it this time. You really do want to get and stay solvent. You really do want to bring your spiritual connection into your business and work life.
You're certain to have had a negative impact on your business or workplace while compulsively debting, but your recovery doesn't start at work. It must start within you, within your innermost self. Beginning with the 4th Step, you set the course for the rest of the Steps, and we're trying to complete all 12 Steps by the end of December. It's absolutely possible. Several workshop participants completed the Steps during cycle one.
It's about focusing on the right things and the right direction. When asked for help, I suggest that folks pick up the resentments inventory format and change the heading. Instead of "I'm resentful at," the heading can be "I had a business (or work) experience at or with." Then the recommendation I make is that you start with the first time you earned money, and you document every significant contract or job you've ever held, every business you've either succeeded or failed at, if you have made multiple attempts to start businesses.
First, you add the organization you provided service to in the first column. Then you work across the next three columns: what happened; how you were affected, with limited responses directly out of the Big Book; and your part, again with limited responses. There's a fifth column; that is for the discussion of wrongs, character defects, shortcomings, instincts gone astray, and harmful patterns that you'll uncover with another person as you take your 5th Step. The fifth column may be as simple as what would you do differently today.
One point to remember: While the 4th Step must be written to be most effective, it is not really a writing project. It is simply meant to be preparation for a long discussion with the person you'll share your inventory with during your 5th Step. One of our cycle one participants pointed out that the longest "what happened" description in the 4th Step inventory example in the Big Book is 19 words long. Please do not turn your inventory into a novelette, at least not this time.
Before moving on to the next business or contract or workplace, you'll want to choose the one most memorable relationship you had in the work or business situation you've just written about, and put that person in column one, then complete the other three columns. Throughout your 4th Step, you do not need to include only negative work and business experiences. You can learn a lot from your previous positive experiences, too.
Once you've completed this chart, beginning at the beginning and ending with your current work or business situation, you can then move on to positive characteristics and sane and sound ideals. In my experience, this approach provides coverage of your entire work and business life, if you are intentionally searching and fearless and thorough.
This will also set you up for a continuing deep dive on the rest of the Steps, as we continue through the workshop cycle together. I hope you find this helpful.