It has also been my experience of observing folks who balk at these steps “step 4 out the door” and or holding back on Step Five some people are unable to stay sober at all and others relapse periodically until they really (clean house step 4 & 5).
Those who are lucky enough to get back to meetings always talk about similar themes ie how they were unconsciously seeking relief from this irritability, anxiety, remorse, depression by acting out in lots of different ways. Buying bigger and better stuff, having more of something, things like sex money power, etc and especially that they would be too busy taking everyone else’s inventory (step 4) to take their own, and they would end up accusing even their best friends and allies of the very character defects they themselves were trying to conceal. The one thing they all had in common is that they always discovered that relief never came by confessing the sins of other people. Everybody had to confess his own.
Step 5 also gave me the gift of forgiveness and no matter how deeply we felt people had wronged us. By taking this “moral” inventory I was completely persuaded that forgiveness was not only desirable, but absolutely essential if I wanted any sort of peace of mind and to live my life free of resentments that influenced everything from my beliefs to my values. I also learned real humility--a word often misunderstood which to me amounts to a clear recognition of what and who I really am, followed by sincere attempt to become what I can be and to reach to fulfil my potential as a human being.
When I took that first inventory nearly 14 years ago now it came as quite a surprise that I lacked honesty and tolerance, that I was beset at times by attacks of self-pity or delusions of personal grandeur, that my victim status ultimately excluded me from taking responsibility for my life. Yes this was a humiliating experience, but it didn't necessarily mean I had much actual humility. It wasn’t until I realised something could be done about these deficiencies by practicing more realism and therefore more honesty about myself were the great gains I received / receive while practicing step 5.
This self appraisal, and the admission of my defects based on that rigorous self inventory process isn’t enough though I still have to have outside help if I am to continually admit the truth about myself, for me I use The power (a god of my understanding) and another human being who knows my defects very well, because what comes to me as insight may well be nothing of the sort and only a garbled nonsense by my own rationalization and wishful thinking.
I have found that It is only by continuing to discuss myself honestly, holding back nothing, being willing to take advice and accept direction can I get a remain on the road of straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility and when I am troubled or need to make a life changing decision I have over the last 14 years been taught to always check in with friends or my spiritual advisors, but the final word always lies within.
By practicing these two steps with the fearlessness and thoroughness that was begged of me, a healing tranquillity remains with me through times of stress and even when fear creeps in I know there is an never-ending source of that tranquilly available if I can retune in to the steps that precede 4&5 and I am reset on the road of happy destiny trudging along the road towards full and meaningful sobriety.