It is in sharing what we have gained with others that we are given everything we need
Groups are a powerful resource. A group can strengthen people to do the steps when they may never get around to doing them on their own. The writing groups were formulated to strengthen and to put the principle of giving what you have received into use. Through sharing their insights and their experience with others, people receive the support they need in their own process. In that way, everyone is taken care of.
The writing groups were formed to provide a place for those on the same step and those beyond that step to collectively share what they have gained. Within a group those who are further along support and encourage those who have just begun. The 4th Step Writing Groups have flourished out of this beautiful premise.
Unfortunately, too often people think about writing a 4th Step, but never begin. The 4th Step is the self-survey portion of the Twelve Steps. It is a vital but difficult step in the process of growth and recovery. The 4th Step Writing Group was formulated to strengthen the possibility of beginning and completing this step. If one is in a writing group they automatically are given extra strength to begin and complete their 4th Step.
Instead of groping alone trying somehow to overcome themselves, they become accustomed to going to a group once a week. A group provides focus when an individual may drift away. Trying to work the steps alone is sometimes too hard to do and by trying to do it alone, sometimes they find they are not doing any step work at all.
At the group every week they remember they are writing a 4th Step. Content of inventory is not discussed. They look to see if they are doing the 4th Step. If they have stopped, they can learn what it is that has stopped them. They look at the problems they are having in writing. They state what they intend to do the following week.
Little did we know back in 1983 what a powerful thing these groups would turn out to be. Over and over again people have completed their 4th Step because of their writing group.
A distinction must be drawn between the Step Group Meeting and other groups. A Step Group Meeting is not group therapy and it is not an anonymous program.
The Step Group Form fits perfectly for those who are working the Twelve Steps. The anonymous programs use the Twelve Steps. The Step Group Form is a specific and clear cut method of working the Twelve Steps.
You do not have to be a member of an anonymous program to participate in a 4th Step Writing Group or to take on the Twelve Steps as a way of life. When you attend any Step Group Writing Meeting, it is not relevant if any person in the group is in an anonymous program or not.
Unless the 4th Step Groups are consistently reading the Preamble and Meeting Format for the Step Group, the purpose of the group tends to fall away. The participant tends to mix their writing group with another program or therapy group. The Preamble and Meeting Format state the purpose of the meeting.
You can get the Preamble by clicking on this link. Click "Back" to come back to this page. 4th Step Meeting Format can be found by clicking on this link. These two links will take you to Meeting Materials under Literature where you can get a free download.
Participation in these groups is completely voluntary. By participating in the Step Group does not require joining another organization. The International Step Foundation does not have members. It helps to support sharing this work while you remain in the programs of your life.
The discussions in a writing group are not necessarily personal; however, we encourage confidentiality for the same reason that anyone anywhere would wish to have confidentiality. Confidentiality creates good will for the individuals in the group.
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