4th Step Resentment Inventory: Finding The Truth About Yourself

In past videos and articles I have done about fourth step inventory, we have worked on the simplicity possible in doing your resentment inventory, fear inventory, and sex relations inventory. This video, the subsequent article, and the fourth step resentment inventory worksheet are a deeper dive into finding the truth about what is really keeping you blocked from spiritual growth and the Sunlight of that Spirit.

The purpose of this kind of inventory is an ongoing examination of ourselves that we don’t need to rush through, but we can if we are in need of getting rid of some difficult things through hard times in our recovery. The reason why I have done this entire series on the fourth step inventory is not only because I watch so many newcomers go out on it, but also, for myself.

I haven’t been extremely public about something that happened last year, but I and Recovered On Purpose were scammed into a very difficult situation. My alcoholic and addicted head no longer go to using drugs or alcohol, but the resentments from that experience, coupled with some isolation and no step work, took me to a place where I was considering un-aliving myself.

There I was, six weeks after I had found out I was scammed, $100,000 in debt, a year of my life spent working with this guy that scammed me, sitting in a car pondering the process I would take to make sure my bestfriend and pup Enzo would be ok. I began to cry, hard, before a thought came to my mind that this is not who I am and I know who to reach out to. So I texted my sponsor or spiritual advisor, along with another mentor I work with outside of recovery, and let them know what was going on.

My sponsor got to write the stuff down in the way I am going to share with you, and the day I went up to his house to fifth step it with him, on my way before I even told him all the things I wanted to, the resentments left me, my Higher Power was no longer blocked, and God began speaking clearly to me about why this had happened and the lesson I can learn from it.

The step work still works for people like me, and I feel called to share this process with you and I hope you have as many experiences through this work as I have.

Pray First – Then Start

4th step resentment inventory

The first thing I do before starting my inventory is a quick prayer as simple as, “God, show me the truth.” I even write it at the top of the page I am doing the inventory on so I might accidentally read the prayer over and over. Bringing God or your Higher Power into this work first thing, is a good habit to get in and something I have my sponsees remind me to do in our meetings if I happen to forget.

Making A Searching Resentment Inventory

The simplest way I have found to start this process is the same from our first 4th step inventory video and article, make a list of the people, institutions and principles who have harmed you and you are angry with. This part of the process can be done quickly and as long as you do not intentionally leave anything out, the ones that come to the front of mind will be sufficient to find what has you blocked. This can even be done on an ongoing basis with single resentments that may come up throughout your recovery journey.

Continue With The Cause

The cause of the resentment with this kind of resentment inventory is important to be very specific with. You can’t say something like, ‘My wife never gives me attention.’ Getting to a specific time, a specific place, and an experience you can remember having is how we will be able to continue with getting to the real cause of this resentment that doesn’t have anything to do with this.

Spoiler alert: you are in control of your resentments, whether you hold onto them, and if you will continue life miserable like I was until you either relapse or… the other thing.

Instead of, ‘My wife never gives me attention,’ your specific example could be something like, ‘When I came home from work on Thursday, Trisha was on the phone and didn’t come over to greet me and didn’t talk to me for over an hour until I came over to her.’

In our last resentment inventory together I had you doing 19 words or less for the cause of your resentment. This time, we are going to be going more in depth, so you can continue to put down as many causes as you need and think of so we can get everything that has you blocked out of there!

How These Things Are Affecting Your Personal Identity

Step 4 resentments examples

In our last resentment inventory, you selected from a list whether this specific resentment affected your self-esteem, your pocketbook, your personal relationships, sex relationships, ambitions, pride or security. In this deep-dive resentment inventory, we are going to go ahead and assume each of your resentments is affecting your identities within all these categories. Again, before you start, quickly pray to find the truth and continue on with the questions below.

Self Esteem (I Am)

Review your resentment inventory for one person, institution or principle. Look at the causes you have written down and ask yourself what identity in you this is threatening. As an example from the one above with Trisha not giving you attention when you came home from work, some identity statements you might have that feel threatened could be I am a husband worth all my wife’s attention, or, I am a hard worker and good provider, or, I am a good looking and sexy man.

Notice how these are things a husband could believe about himself that are being threatened when his partner isn’t giving him the attention he feels he deserves. Continue writing identity statements for this resentment until you feel you have finished. It could be two, it could be ten, that is between you and God showing you the truth.

Security (I Need)

You have asked yourself about who you are that is being hurt or threatened in this resentment inventory, and now we are going to search for what these identities need to be ok. Examine the causes again, and ask yourself what you need from this person, principle, or institution. You are not allowed to put something like, ‘Well, I don’t need anything from them anymore…’ This is a searching moral inventory to find something new and I promise it is worth the examination.

The example from above with Trish could have something like, I need Trish to greet me every time I come home in order to be ok, or, I need Trish to show me she desires sex from me in order to be ok, or, I need Trish to be excited whenever I come home in order to be ok. Yes, you do need to put in order to be ok at the end of every security answer because it will help later to show you what has blocked you from God or your Higher Power.

Ambitions (I Want)

You have your threatened identity, you’ve gotten down your needs you aren’t getting fulfilled, now we are going to continue with the future you desire for yourself you feel is threatened by this resentment. Go through the causes, maybe scan through the needs, and search your heart for what you want from this relationship, person, institution or principle. Again, you can’t say, ‘I don’t want anything from them,’ just perpetuating the thing that has you blocked from God.

From the example above, your I want statements could be something like, I want a home where I am seen as the leader, or, I want to feel emotionally safe in my home, or, I want Trish to jump on me when I get home so we can get to work on having kids. Whatever your wants are for your future that are blocked from happening from the cause of this resentment, put them down.

Personal Relationships (‘Their Identity’ Always)

For the sake of not causing a resentment in you from this video and article, I want to remind you this is an example, I don’t know a Trish, I am not married, and for the ladies out there, I am single. Just kidding. Well, I am, but, never mind. The part of this that we are going to get out here is a core belief within you about what the identity this person, principle or institution is not living up to in your mind.

Some resentments examples could be, boyfriends always, wives always, cops always, moms always, brothers always, best friends always, etc. Look at the role this person plays in your life, in your mind, and put down the things they are not living up to in that role for you.

Examples for the one above could be, Wives always greet their husbands and give them attention, or, Wives always submit to what the husband needs, or, Wives always smile and kiss their husbands when they see them. Again, examples are hard to come up with without a possible resentment, but if one comes up with me, talk to your sponsor about it.

Sex Relations (Men/Women Always)

This part of the resentment inventory is very similar to the one before. And I am not going to give any examples, because you can catch the drift for this and go over your sex identities with a sponsor. I have already burnt enough bridges with trying to make an example about wives always.

In this part, you are going to put down statements about this person’s sex, or gender, that they are not living up to in your eyes. You will start the statements with, Real men always, or, Real women always… I hope you see why I am going to go ahead and skip through this one and leave it up to you.

Pocketbook (Money/Cost)

Now the simplest part, put down exactly how much money this person or institution has cost you. If there is a principle that has cost you money, I would be very interested in hearing that example because I couldn’t think of one while coming up with this. You will be definite in this part and it will look something like this:

Cost to book the tickets= $150

Cost of the hotel= $160

Cost of gas= $20

Bringing The Strength and Power of God

4th step resentment inventory examples

Now that you have a deep resentment inventory on the things that have you blocked from God and the Sunlight of The Spirit, take an hour to review this resentment inventory in a quiet place where you can discover anything God wants to tell you about it. Was there harm you caused that needs to be amended? Is there something God wants to tell you about you that might only come out now?

After doing this, while taking the hour with God and reviewing mine, I had some interesting new understanding about fears I hadn’t seen before, and God began showing me Truths about who He says I am while I was reading all the things my mind said I was. In between, to the side, above and below a lot of the things that had me blocked from hearing Him, I wrote down all the little Truths He showed me and whispered to me.

Don’t miss the opportunity to draw closer to your Higher Power through this process and I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, don’t let your fears drive you, release what has you blocked from God, and keep living Recovered On Purpose.

Free Relapse Prevention Worksheet For Addicts In Recovery

Working well with the 4th step resentments examples and worksheets, this free worksheet will help you discover what it was that made you quit using drugs and alcohol in the first place, where you do not want to go back to, and where you want to go with your life in recovery.

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To learn how Recovered On Purpose has helped over 1,000 addicts find recovery and how one person, one story, and one message of hope can change the world, and how YOUR story can be the one that saves someone’s life, watch Adam’s TEDx Talk at the link above.

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Relapse Prevention Worksheet