how to do step 4

4th Step Worksheets Guides and 12 Steps Study Work Sheets from the AA Big Book Workshops

These are the Original 4th Step Guides and Work sheetsused in the Dallas B., AA Big Book 4th Step Workshops and 12 Step Study Workshops. If you get these 4th Step Worksheets anywhere else — they are likely not the originals and may have been changed or altered! 🙂

Dallas B., has arranged with the Alcohol Addiction Foundation (that has given us permission) to reproduce and distribute the Official 4th Step Study Guides, provided that we will keep the original work as it was — and will distribute it free — to anyone who requests it.

For Integrity: By having THIS website distribute the original work — it is insured, that what he has passed on to others, will be passed on to others, and that it will not be changed, modified or diluted.

These 4th Step Worksheets and A.A Fourth Study Guides are distilled right out of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous!

These Step Study Guides and Worksheets have been used by thousands of AA’s, NA’s, Al-Anon’s, OA Overeater’s, CA’s, GA’s and other 12 Step Recovery Program Members that use the 12 Steps as instructed in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Get the most out of these A.A. 4th Step Work sheets!

You can get the MOST out of using these 4th Step Worksheets and 4th Step Study Guides, by taking time to read the INSTRUCTIONS that go with them. Included as a download file, below.

YOU CAN CHANGE. YOU CAN RECOVER. YOU CAN GET BETTER. Your WHOLE life inside AND outside can change for the better. And, continue to get better and better and better!

You can know a level of peace, comfort, happiness and success in life (while sober) — that may have been previously unimaginable to you!

There is a difference in an ‘AWAKENING” and an “understanding”. Step 12 is — “Having had a Spiritual Awakening — as the result of these Steps”

First experience the AWAKENING! (That comes from following the precise instructions in the Big Book as you take the 12 Steps) Then, seek to better understand what you experienced in the Awakening! Your Life as an alcoholic depends upon this AWAKENING. After you’re Awakened — then, you can spend the rest of your life on trying to understand it better.

The purpose of taking the 12 Steps — is so that you can be happy, joyous, free and comfortable — while sober — as you go out to help other alcoholics and suffering people to find what you have found — that changed you!

Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

NOTE: Scroll down this page for the links to the 5 worksheets that you can download. (About the middle of this page). You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader for the forms. You can get this free at , for your PC, or download it and install it from Google’s Play Store for your SmartPhone or Tablet. IOS users can get it from or from the Apple Apps Store.

Click on the links and they will open and save or print a copy. Or, you can right click your mouse button on the link, and select “Save Target As” to download them to your PC.

“To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.” — Forward to the First Edition of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous

There is much more to life than just being physically sober.There is much more to sobriety than having the obsession for alcohol removed.Sober isn’t much fun – unless we can learn to be happy and sober.

To be happy WHILE sober requires emotional sobriety.

The Fourth Step is ONE of our first action step towards PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL sobriety.

We are in a process to recreate our lives.

In Step 3, We made a decision to give up our old plans for living and to try A.A.’s 12 Step Plan for Living.

Step Four is a fact-finding and fact-facing process. We are searching for the “causes and conditions” of our miserable results in life!

We want to uncover the truth about ourselves.

We want to discover the attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, fears, actions, behaviors, and the behavior patterns – that have been blocking us and causing us problems and causing our failure.

We want to learn the exact nature our “character defects” and what causes us to do the unacceptable things we do – so that once they are removed – we can acquire and live with new attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, actions and behaviors for our HIGHEST good, and for the HIGHEST good of those with whom we come in contact.

This prepares us to live a life of purpose – where we can be in maximum fit condition to be of service to others.

And, by taking inventory and learning the exact nature of our wrongs – we will be able to recognize when we might be slipping into our old way of life – and headed for new problems, and possibly relapse.

Everything contained in the Fourth Step Inventory Worksheets is directly from the book – Alcoholics Anonymous.

Be sure to download ALL FIVE WORKSHEETS below:

The first one is the 4th Step Guide Instructions page. Read the instructions page first. If you have you can contact Dallas B. in the 12 Step Forums here. Or with the website contact form — and we will be sure that he gets it! You can also contact Dallas B., on Facebook

There is a detailed instruction sheet that goes with the Step 4 Inventory forms, from the workshop. Please read that instruction sheet, follow the instructions, and also read all the references in the Big Book mentioned in the instructions, and read the Big Book references on each one of the individual forms.

If someone offers you one that you can type your 4th Step Inventory in it — RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN! The Big Book SPECIFICALLY instructs us use pen and paper to do this! 🙂

NOTE: Is this official A.A. Literature? What is more OFFICIAL — than The Book, Alcoholics Anonymous? 🙂

AA does not endorse ANYONE, not any AA member, and not even endorse an AA Groups or an AA Meetings! That would violate the 12 Traditions — Specifically in regards to Autonomy — as explained in AA Tradition Number 4.

The Official and Original A. A. 4th Step Inventory Worksheets and Guides from the Dallas B. 4th Step A.A. 12 Steps Big Book Study.

Understanding Step 4 of the 12 Steps

There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Whether we come through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon Family Groups chances are we bring a lifetime of “stinking thinking” with us. Frankly, it takes a while for the “fog” to begin to lift, so that we begin to see ourselves and the world around us more clearly.

If we have sincerely completed the first three steps and have truly made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him, then it is time to put that principle into action. We must find the courage to take a fearless look at ourselves and become willing to clean up the garbage we find.

In order to proceed, we must identify the problems and get a clear picture of how our behavior affected ourselves and others around us. That picture is not always in focus for newcomers early in recovery, but as we continue to hang around the rooms, listening and learning from others, and keeping an open mind, we find more layers of the “onion” being peeled away.

No Graduating Services

We are not perfect, and never will be in this life. That is the reason there are no graduation services held at 12-step meetings! But if we continue to participate, carrying the message to others, and listening to what they have to share, we can continue to grow and make spiritual progress. That’s why they say, “Keep Coming Back!”

Tools to Help With Self Inventory

There are tools available to help in the 4th step process. There is a 4th Step Guide available online for all 12-step members.

The online 4th Step Guide includes an exhaustive set of directions explaining how the guide works and a reminder that an inventory is simply a list: “Please keep in mind that the Fourth Step is not dealing with changing anything. An inventory doesn’t change things, it simply lists things. Your inventory is only a story of your feelings and acts from the beginning until now.”

The online guide then provides questions and suggestions to help with an inventory from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with a final conclusion section for “here and now.”

The online 4th Step Guide is of course just a suggested guide that is intended to be helpful to those doing an inventory. It is not intended to be shared with anyone, it is for “your eyes only,” according to the directions.

In addition to the online guide, Al-Anon Family Groups has its Blueprint for Progress: Al-Anon’s Fourth Step Inventory workbook which can be ordered online.

But the greatest help available in doing Step 4 is available from a power greater than ourselves, as visitors to the bulletin board have demonstrated in their shares on this step, as our study of the 12 Traditions and 12 Steps continues:

Step 4: Daily Inventory

As many of you know from my sharing at the Thursday night 12 step meetings, it took me a long time to get to even work on the 12 steps.

I was told by my Sponsor that all I had to do was work the first step to it’s fullest, keep attending meetings, do what I was told, and the rest will come in time. By doing this I was in some manner working on taking the 12 steps, and it was well over a year before I ever missed a meeting.

There finally came a time when I realized that I better get going on the 12 steps, by me attending so many meetings I knew who I wanted to help me with the steps. This very good friend of mine chaired a lot of 12 step meetings, (classes) which I started to attend. I went along just fine until I came upon the 4th step and I hit a wall.

I felt real bad about so many things that I had done in my life, that it seemed impossible to get all of this inventory down right. Finally, one day I was sharing this with my sponsor and he smiled and asked me where I was going. He told me to do the best that I can at this time and I will have plenty of time to do the rest. He told me not to be beating up on myself, (keep it simple) and this is just what I did.

It made it a lot easier and through time I was able to see better of how to take my moral inventory. Once we take these steps it doesn’t mean that we are done, nor does it mean that we have to always do the 12 steps in order. I have to take a moral inventory of myself everyday of my life. I have to look back and make sure that I like what Skip has done.


Step 4: Being Honest

Here I am still on step 4. Been here for weeks and weeks it will take to complete. The only thing I can say that has really helped was obtaining the questions to the step on the internet.

There must be 100 questions there and I am still in the childhood part. It is a very hard thing for me to do but I must do this. Being in my 40’s I asked the questions, why dear God? Why go back to the past, the painful past. The past is gone, today is here tomorrow is, my hope.

I see now why I must do this and continue to do so. My mother was an alcoholic and died at 49, my brother was an alcoholic and died at 48. Forty-seven is coming for me and I am not going. Looking in the past has made me understand now more than ever why I did marry an alcoholic.

This step is hard — this step can be painful — but I only ask that you do it. One hour a day is not that much time and write out the answers and be honest with yourself and remember God is with you if that pain goes right into your heart. And also remember we are all here for each other.


Step 4: A Journey

Step 4 started out for me as a very scary thing. “Moral” inventory? I struggled with questions of morality for most of my life. I came from a religious background that was strict, conservative, and self-righteous. And the self-appointed leader in the family was a woman disgruntled with men, so nothing I said or did, even at age 12, was even close to her moral boundaries. So when I was told that eventually I would take a searching and fearless moral inventory, I was quite reluctant.

Now to get through Step 4. My sponsor had asked me to do several things as a precursor to Step 4. First, I had to list ten physical attributes about myself that I liked. Then I had to list ten personality traits about myself that I liked. Another list was at least ten people that loved me. I had to read these lists every morning and every night for two weeks.

My sponsor continued: Take a sheet of legal paper. Draw a line down the center, and then put a mark in the middle of the line. This was my life line, the center was the middle of my life (at the time I was 32, hence the mark indicated age 16). He told me to start making marks on the line denoting major events in my life.

Once I had done all this, I was ready for Step 4. My sponsor flipped me Hazelden guides, but I couldn’t do it that way. Then I attended a meeting one Friday night, largely attended by people rumored to be the graduates of Chicago AA boot camp (the dreaded residences). A woman stormed in, angry at some event that had just occurred, and made her comment, which included this: “If you are working the 4th step, the best way to do it is the way the Big Book explains it.” Now why this stuck with me I don’t know, but I decided to try it. And I found that yes indeed, this was the best way for me.

So I embarked on my 4th step journey. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I made lots of progress, but one day I just couldn’t write any more. I knew I wasn’t finished, but for some reason I had reached a brick wall and couldn’t go on. I talked about it in meetings. I talked to my sponsor, but he couldn’t help me.

Then a friend in the program invited me to an ACOA meeting. I went to that meeting, and after only 10 minutes the brick wall had fallen down. I resumed writing my 4th step and completed it in just another week. ACOA had opened my eyes about many things that I had suppressed.

With my 4th step completed, I was ready (or so I thought) for Step 5.

People in the12-step rooms define recovery as a process, not an event. The same can be said for step 4, which requires making a moral inventory. ]]>