Tag Archives: The 12 Steps

Tag Archives: The 12 Steps

The 6th Step

By Chuck R.

After 28 years, I still remember the day I presented my 5th Step. I had spent the previous months coming to terms with my disease and myself, and I was prepared to totally reveal my inner self to God and to another human being.

I shared my resentments, the causes, the instincts affected, my fears, my defects, drawbacks and shortcomings. It seemed like an endless litany, but it came gushing out.

Upon completion of my 5th Step, my sponsor turned to me and asked, “Do you think God forgives you for any of the things about which you feel guilty?”

Honestly, I was uncertain. I was in the process of forgiving myself, but could I expect God to forgive me?

I cried all the way home. I was physically drained and emotionally exhausted, yet I had a sense of freedom like no other I had experienced before.

What I was about to do over the course of the next few hours would become a pivotal point in my recovery. It was time for one last soul-searching process.

I mentally reviewed the work I had done on the first five steps. Had I been truly honest with myself, God and my sponsor? Was I finished? Was I ready?

Then I read the following in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

“It is nowhere evident, at least in this life, that our Creator expects us to fully eliminate our instinctual drives… When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us.

“If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does he render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to work toward ourselves.”

To be “entirely ready” meant I needed to become humble enough to fully realize I must change. Being “entirely ready” meant I needed to ask God to help me.

I am not perfect today. I have notions that influence me in an unhealthy manner. Very often my natural tendency is to let them. The difference today is, I am aware. I work toward progress on a daily basis with God at my side.

The 6th Step helped me open the gate of acceptance and forgiveness. I was then ready for Step Seven.

5th step 2 sm

The 5th Step – “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

By Brandie R.

Completing the 4th Step was an arduous task. The process revealed feelings of anger, hurt and betrayal in the list of wrongs I felt others had committed against me. However, working through this step made me feel prepared for my upcoming 5th Step.

The 5th Step in Alcoholics Anonymous requires you to reveal to another human being the complete list of wrongs prepared in the 4th Step.

The day I sat with my sponsor to begin this process I arrived early at her home and apprehensively placed my list in front of her. To my horror, she promptly picked up a pen and added a column to my list. Why would she do this? Was my list too short? Was I not searching or fearless enough? This column haunted me. Then it began.

The column represented the resentments I felt toward myself. My sponsor knew before I could manage healing and forgiveness for others I needed to begin the healing process with myself.

The resentments in this column were my real secrets. These wrongs didn’t involve others. I was the aggressor and the victim. The guilt, shame and pain resulting from them were kept inside me at all times. I was trapped by them.

It took several days to examine the resentments I held against myself. I would say out loud to my sponsor:

“I feel less than.” “I am not worthy of love.” “I judge myself against others on a daily, hourly and minute by minute basis.”

I could not forgive myself. After our frustrations became palpable, my sponsor asked me to take a walk. As we walked she began to illustrate negative patterns in my behavior. I thought to myself, “What is the point? This is stupid! I am wasting my time here.”

Finally, after a long, pregnant pause, my sponsor turned to me and said, “Do you know you are perfect? Do you know that God made you perfectly just the way you are right here in this moment? Perfect no matter what? No matter what!”

This was my breaking point. The arguments in my head were quieted and the only thing I could feel was love. A love for myself I hadn’t felt before. It was forgiveness of self.

This moment defied reason. God had just revealed himself to me in my step work. I had no plan to let go of the resentments I held against myself. The moment I heard the words from my sponsor I simultaneously FELT the words from my sponsor and it was amazing.

The remainder of my 5th step was built on that moment. I acknowledged my resentments and identified the consequences. More importantly, I found my part in it and I found forgiveness. I acknowledged that God had forgiven me a million times over, but I forgave myself and I could forgive others too.

4th step sm

In the beginning I had the gift of desperation. The inability to manage the  pain of my  active addiction wrenched me to a place of willingness and honesty I had never known.  My alcoholism forced me to contemplate a spiritual solution. I had no idea how precious desperation could be. At the time I was only aware of the pain of living. Fortunately I was  more frightened at the idea of using than I was at the concept of a fearless and  thorough inventory.

My first inventory was as fearless and thorough as I could manage  and it was enough for me to meet my higher power.  I don’t recall the act of writing it but I’ll never forget reading it to my sponsor as we circled  the city of Phoenix in his Volkswagen. As I came to the end of my page and the silence in the car was stifling,  after an eternal pause my sponsor quietly asked “Is there anything else?” I told him a  secret I swore I would never let pass my lips. After speaking it I couldn’t make myself  look anywhere but the floor mats. Then my sponsor shared a quiet truth of his own. I  don’t know if it was the compassion of that man to offer a piece of himself to me or if it  was the love of a wonderful God who put us together; I just know in that moment I felt a  deep connection with others for the very first time.

The Twelve Steps states on pg  57 “Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to  someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong”. It was the beginning of a true kinship  with man and God.

Stepping out of that car I had my first spiritual experience. In a glimpse I saw the thread  of the supernatural carefully woven through my life. In this ephemeral moment where  I felt no better or worse than my fellow man I met my creator. Walking through windy woods of Still Waters, a Men’s 12-Step retreat offered by Cumberland Heights, I crested a summit just as the wind stopped and I stepped into the sunshine  for the very first time.

– Anonymous

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