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4th Step Inventory

Childhood 4th Step Inventory

1. What kind of relationship did your mother have with her parents?

2. What kind of relationship did your father have with his parents?

3. Were you wanted at birth?

4. Write out the circumstances of your family at the time of your birth. Things such as:

a. Family size
b. Age differences (Your parents, brothers & sisters)
c. Financial status
d. Was there laughter?
e. Arguing?
f. Depression?
g. Were other relatives living with you?
h. Other circumstances?
5. In general, describe what you think your family thought of you.

a. Did you feel your parents' attitude toward you was different than other parents toward their children?
b. How old were you at the birth of brothers and sisters?
c. How did you feel about the new arrivals?
d. Were either of your parents sick enough to need hospitalizations?
e. Were you separated from any important family member?
f. Was there fear or guilt about this separation...in other words, did you feel responsible?

6. Were you threatened by the Boogey Man or the Devil if you misbehaved?

a. If so, what were your fears in this regard?

7. A child is made to feel guilty about his/her normal sexual curiosity. This comes about by his/her being caught and punished for touching himself/herself, or being caught masturbating, or playing "Doctor", or for participating in group masturbation. Many parents tell children that sexual feelings are evil and must be punished. With no sex education, and given this sort of teaching, a child will naturally distort what he/she knows about sex. When a child is exposed to fully developed nude persons (for instance in the bathroom at home, or in public), he/she may begin to feel inadequacy in adult life, even after the person is a thoroughly developed adult.

a. Write down any of the above experiences that you have had or make you feel uneasy.

8. Did you have a difficult time pleasing one or both of your parents?
a. Were you constantly directed and redirected by your parents?
b. Did you obey docilely?
c. Did you have feelings of distress and boredom?
d. Were you afraid of the dark?
e. Were you afraid to fight?
f. Or were you afraid not to fight because of pressure from your mother or father or older brothers or sisters or others?

9. Did your parents submit to your whims and immature demands most of the time?

a. Did you have temper tantrums?
b. How did your parents punish you? By trying to reason, or was it physical?
c. How did you react to punishment?

10. What kind of marriage do you think your parents had?

a. If they fought, did you resent it?
b. Did it scare you?
c. Were you used to breaking up their fights?
d. Did you take one side or the other?
e. Were your parents preoccupied with themselves?
f. Did they lack awareness of your needs?
g. Was there an absence of affection, concern, or loving attention in your home?

11. If your parents were from different religions, did you feel confused about it?

a. What particular idea of "God" was impressed upon you?
b. Did you reject this concept because it seemed inadequate?
c. If you did reject this idea, did you imagine you had abandoned the God idea entirely?
d. Did your parents teach you that God was a loving God or a punishing God?

12. Were you afraid of storms?

13. List all the feelings of guilt, fear, resentments, you had toward each person in your life as a child (not your feelings now).

14. Did you feel you were "bad"?

a. Did you put yourself into situations that caused others to punish you?

15. List the first time that you ever stole anything?

a. Inventory all your childhood thefts.

16. How old were you when you first masturbated?

a. Were you ever caught and made to feel guilty?
b. Did you feel guilty even though you weren't caught?
c. What other kinds of sexual curiosity were you involved in (homosexual, animal, with any other members of the family, anything else)?

17. If you were named after someone, what was that person like?

18. Did your family move often?

a. If so, did you make friends and then have to break off the relationship so often that you became afraid to become close?

19. Do you remember starting school?

a. What were your feelings?
b. Try to remember each successive grade in school and as you do, write out the resentments you felt toward teachers, pupils, anyone.
c. Any fights?
d. Slights?
e. Hurts?
f. Embarrassments?

20. Did you resent your relatives, friends, or parents? If so, list them. No resentment is too small to mention. The AA Big Book states, "Resentment is the number one offender." (pg 64)

21. What kind of language did your parents use?

a. Were you ashamed of them for this or anything else?
b. Did you ever see your parents in the nude?
c. What were your feelings?
d. Did you ever see or hear your parents having sex?
e. What were your feelings?

22. In every family, a child usually has certain "chores" assigned.

a. What were yours?
b. Were they fair?
c. Could you do them in ways that would please your parents?


d. Do you remember longing for a carefree childhood because of the absence of play?

23. Did your parents seem to like your friends better than they did you?

a. Did your friends seem to like your parents better than they did you?
b. If so, did you resent this?

24. Any bad experiences at Sunday school?

a. Or at summer camp?

25. Were you an only child?

a. Did you resent this or enjoy it?

26. Did your parents want a child of the opposite sex when they had you?

a. Did they name you, or dress you, to match their sex choice?
b. Did your appearance (looks, dress, etc.) embarrass you?
c. Did you feel you were "different" from your class mates?

27. Were you treated as a nuisance or a burden?

28. Did you treat possible friends with hostility or obnoxious behavior?

a. Did you force friends to abandon friendly behavior?

29. Did you feel your parents attitude toward you was different than other parents toward their children?

Write down any other childhood memories that were painful.

Which of the above questions about childhood was the toughest for you to answer?

Do you know why?

Now go to the Adolescence Inventory.