Thursday, November 13, 2008

Step Five

"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."  

This is where the real freedom begins.  To sit down and tell another person the exact nature of our wrongs... not something we would normally want to do, but under the threat of alcoholic death, it seems a little bit more palatable.

When I wrote my first 4th Step inventory, I wanted it out of my house, so I took it to my sponsor to wait until we could do the 5th Step.  In the meantime, she left her husband (it seems he didn't want a woman with a handgun in her purse living in his home).  She called to tell me that she had left and it didn't take me long to wonder where my written 4th step was.  She told me in the most casual way that she gave it to Jerry.  Jerry!  I didn't even LIKE Jerry let alone want him to have my 4th step!  Well, I freaked out and asked her where Jerry was... she said he was down at the club.  I hopped into the car immediately and drove to the club.  Jerry was there at the counter.  I frantically approached him and asked him if he had something of mine.  He picked up the folded notebook paper that was my inventory, waved it in the air and said "you mean this?"  I told him I needed to get that back from him, that it contained lethal information... information that could destroy my life.

He waved it in the air and told me that by the time I got done with the rest of the steps there wouldn't be anything in that inventory that I wouldn't be willing to have on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News - if it would help someone else.  I told him that he certainly didn't understand and asked him to give me my paperwork.  He gave it to me with a smile.  I thought he was a jackass.  

But you know what?  He was absolutely right.  By the time I sat down with my sponsor (after she got rid of the handgun and moved back in with her husband) and told her my whole story... starting with the written inventory and going from there, I was free of the shame and guilt.  

I think that trying to describe this is probably like trying to tell someone what it is like to eat a piece of fruit if they never have.  There is no way to describe it.  Certainly no one but a weirdo would look forward to going to another person and telling them all the tangled tales of twisted relationships, the lies, the hurt we have caused, the horrible wreckage we have caused.  And if you have never done this, it would make no sense to you that telling someone all of this would cause something akin to elation.  

I began to realize that I was just a garden variety drunk.  That once the things that brought me the most shame and had been carefully kept secret for years were out in the open they lost their power.  

After several years of sobriety and practicing the steps, I was able to go back to the church of my youth.  I was able to step back into the confessional and go through that process, which brought incredible freedom - but that is another story.

I don't know what else there is to write about this.  

But I will go off on a side note.  If you have read these posts for the past 5 days, you may have noticed that the people I encountered in AA did not always act great and treat me fabulous when I got sober.  They were frequently unreliable and untrustworthy.  And thanks to that, I placed my reliance on God, not on other people.  With the help of God, I was able to keep trudging until I found a great sponsor and great friends in AA, but that did not happen overnight.    

I am so grateful for these characters who helped me to get sober.  That first sponsor?  She is now drinking.  The second sponsor?  She is now drinking.  Jerry?  He died sober about 5 years ago.  I don't know where the second sponsor's husband is, but he sure helped me.  They all did.  I am so grateful.  


Scott W said...

What stands out in that, for me, are:

"I was free of the shame and guilt."


"She is now drinking. She is now drinking. He died sober about 5 years ago."

dAAve said...

It's all about the journey.
That's what they tell me.

wendy said...

good to know I'm not unique. "elation" is the perfect word. When I stood up after I finished my 5th step I felt like I was floating. Sharing with someone was the last thing that I wanted to do, but I've never been disappointed with the results when I do the things my sponsor suggests.

Thank you for sharing the last 5 days...

Syd said...

Placing faith in others leaves me with unfulfilled expectations. I'm better when I put my faith in God.

Step Five was a great experience for me. I talked about things that I've never talked about with another person. I'm grateful too for that opportunity.

Banana Girl said...

I love that the unreliables made you trust God and not them. So true and a grand and grave early lesson for me too. Love the posts in this series. J.

AlkySeltzer said...

This caused me to look back over my sober life, and try to count the souls who helped me--in SO many ways.

Many have died, many, MANY more have gone out and not been back...and a precious few are still here, carrying the message. Oh, MY. What God hath wrought!

Cat said...

I am yet to come to this place yet, but your post was helpful.


Shadow said...

only silent secrets have a hold on us, oh yes!

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I love step five and continue to use it when something is sticking with me and I can't let go of it, it helps me to find what needs to be revealed.

I too place my trust in God...that is where my faith lies.

Thank you for these posts!

♥Shann♥ said...

yep I am grateful that I wouldnt care if things from my 4th step were printed on the front page of the news tribune, if it would help someone... because I know it would. Thanks for sharing your ESH
have a good day

Laura said...

Step 5 was life changing for me too. You're as sick as your secrets, I was told. And nothing was more true than that.

Faith in God....the only reliable thing I have.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Findon said...

You did it. That's the most important thing. I hope you carried on with the journey. i have found that Step 5 has enabled me to LIVE and allowed me to let others live. I have continued the process throughout my recovery and whilst the illness is progressive so I believe is the recovery. Many thanks for your post.

big Jenn said...

I did my fifth step with a wonderful counselor, who turned out to be my boss about 19 years later. He was running the rehab I got sober in and eventually became a counselor in. I felt safe with him and was too ashamed to do it with my sponser. To this day, I'm so greatful for his non-judgemental attitude and the way he handled it. Thank you so much for your wisdom.jeNN

Just Another Sober Guy said...

Well, that confirms it...

I am a weirdo! LOL

I was looking forward to going to my sponsor and spilling all of it. It was so much I had to do it in two sessions - 5 hours the first time and about 3.5 the second.

It was so freeing and I am so happy today as a result. I still have much work today but I am so happy I have coma as far as I have!

Thanx.... PEACE