CBT & the Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous are highly related
CBT has quite a lot in common with the Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Fourth Step is to make “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” For this step a person creates a list of all of his or her resentments and explores why he or she was initially hurt. Fears are also explored thoroughly, as well as our sexual conduct and hurtful behaviors. In writing out stories from our lives and asking ourselves honestly what part we played in those stories, we become aware of certain patterns and skewed perspectives that have continually caused us problems. By seeing these patterns, and then attempting to re-write the meaning we give to our stories, we are essentially practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
There is a specific tool commonly utilized in CBT that is quite similar to this process. In CBT, this exercise is called “thought records.” Guests are asked to keep track of the thoughts and behavioral patterns they have, then explore them in a therapeutic setting. This exercise helps guests build awareness around the way they respond to external stimuli, the way they speak to themselves and the ways in which they communicate with others. Healing cannot occur unless false beliefs about oneself are brought to the surface, acknowledged and reframed. The Fourth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous likewise identifies and addresses the character defects that might be keeping an individual stuck in the same cyclical patterns.