4th Step Fear Inventory: A Guide To Outgrowing Your Fears

4th Step Fear Inventory

Fear inventory. What could this do for us if done intentionally, honestly, and thoroughly? The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says we addicts and alcoholics are being driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity. These fears are not only impossible to recognize on our own alcoholic or addicted will-power, but are literally driving our thoughts and actions throughout our days until we commence the period of spiritual growth to understand and outgrow them.

This post and video is a deeper dive into how to bring up the core fears driving our behavior. This step will help you recognize the difference between the surface level fears we see and the subconscious fears from deep inside our thoughts that are truly the defects driving us into active alcoholism and drug addiction.

Your Experience Has Created Your Attitudes

I once heard someone say, ‘An Alcoholic is just a human, that is really human.’ What that means is most of our psychology is no different from the normies, it’s just, it causes us to drink or use uncontrollably. Things you have experienced throughout your life have undoubtedly shaped your worldview and crafted your response mechanisms to it. The problem for people like you and me is we drink and drug into oblivion because of these, and it is important we outgrow them before they drive us back to the pits of insanity or death.

Bringing Your Fears Up in Your Fear Inventory

Fear Inventory

In your resentment inventory, you made a bracket or an asterisk next to the things affected in you that were based on a fear. For the example in the literature on page 65 of the Big Book, the first one bracketed with fear is self-esteem from Mr. Brown’s attention to our wife.

In the same way, in your fourth step worksheet, you have put an asterisk or a checkmark next to the “affects my” section on your page for the identities threatened, needs threatened, desires threatens, or otherwise. Take the places you put the asterisk next to and examine what the fear is that is causing that resentment.

Resentment Driven By Fears In Step 4

If your resentment is something, let’s say, like the one in the Big Book 4th step example with “My wife.” How you can log the fear next to security in that specific example could be, I am afraid my wife will leave me. Your spouse or significant other makes you feel, or should make you feel a type of security in your life in the relationship. This is the surface level fear present before examining too deeply.

Going A Level Deeper With Fears in Step Four Inventory

4th step fear inventory

The Big Book is very quick with fear inventory and tells us to put them down on paper. That is what we have done for the fears connected to our resentments, but are there any other fears you have? How about failing? Or success…? Maybe you are afraid of jumping in the ocean because of something that could be under you. Or maybe I just unlocked a new fear. Ha.

Write down fears you know you have and search your mind for any you haven’t really thought of in a while. Oftentimes the decision to sit and ponder these things will help us bring things to the surface that have been driving us subconsciously in our addicted lives.

There’s Levels To This Fear Inventory

The purpose of the next step of this inventory is to truly evaluate what your core fears are beneath these obvious surface level fears. A way to get to know yourself as well as the Power of God.

Copy one of your surface level fears onto the top of a piece of paper, or if you have the worksheet, write it in where you see it goes. Now ask yourself, ‘Self, if this fear you have were to happen, then what would happen?’

The result of taking this fear inventory even a little deeper could amaze you what you are actually afraid of. Your response to I am afraid my wife will leave me, could be something like, I am afraid of being alone with no one to love me. You can take it another step deeper and ask yourself again, ‘Self, what would happen if I was alone with no one to love me?’

When you copy this question to yourself multiple times in a row what will come up will amaze you. The 100 forms of fears that really drive people like you and me, when understood from this step work, can help you truly give them up to God and commence to outgrow them like the Book suggests.

Examples Of Common Fears In Fear Inventory

  • Being abandoned by the ones who love us
  • Never having a partner or family
  • Being seen as a failure
  • Going to hell
  • Dying without ever doing something important

The Step Work To Freedom

In my experience, doing a real 4th step fear inventory will take you from confused about everything they say in the rooms, to a place of truly understanding yourself in separation from God. In order to affect a conscious contact with Him, we need to understand what the other side of it is, right?

After making this log of your fears, sit with them and examine them a bit. Read through your list a couple times and ask yourself where these are showing up and how they are truly effecting your ability to form a relationship with God that will solve all your problems.

Then, once you have come to understand them and yourself a bit better through this process, ask God to remove these fears and to direct you to what He would have you be. Sit and listen to Him and when the Voice comes in, feel free to take a few notes of what He would have you be. You now have an ideal of yourself to grow towards through the rest of this work, free from fears, and connected with God.

Free Resources For Addicts and Alcoholics

Fear Inventory Example

As seen on

Relapse Prevention Worksheet