I used a spiral notebook for my 4th. Pretty much filled it up. The first pages were neatly written in my best hand. These were the pages where I was intellectualizing my fears, harms and resentments. The final pages (where I was rushing to get finished before my appointment with my sponsor) looked like another person had written them. This was the true stuff, the painful stuff, the embarrassing stuff. These were the twists and crannys. I wrote this stuff down quickly, trying not to look.
Then just before my fifth, I decided to "clean it up a little." After all, what would my sponsor think if he saw my sloppy handwriting? So I rewrote it on the computer with justified margins and subheads. Like a college thesis. Even gave it a title, "Instincts Gone Awry." I reduced 30 pages to two and a half.
It took me about 15 minutes to read my "manuscript" to my sponsor. He looked at me kind of blankly and said "is that all there is?" I showed him my spiral notebook and he said why don't I read that too. Two hours later I had read it all, even the embarrassing bad handwriting pages. He gave me a hug, told me he loved me and said that now I'll never have to be alone again.
I'm coming to believe that once I crossed the line into alcoholism every drink or drug I took me further and further away from Reality. So when I came to at age 47, I had no idea who I really was or how life worked. To me the Twelve Steps is very much about discovering the Truth about myself. The willingness to go though this process of self discovery brings me closer to my Higher Power and the Promises begin to come true.