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Post Info TOPIC: Step 5 - AA

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Posts: 228
Step 5 - AA

from the AA "12 Steps and 12 Traditions" book:

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

"All of AA's 12 Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural desires... they all deflate our egos. When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than 5. ..

"AA experience has taught us we cannot live alone with our pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them...

"So intense, though, is our fear and reluctance to do this, that many AA's at first try to bypass Step 5. We search for an easier way - which usually consists of the general and fairly painless admission tht when drinking we were sometimes bad actors. Then, for good measure, we add dramatic descriptions of that part of our drinking behavior which our friends probably know about anyhow. ..

"But of the things that realy bother and burn us, we say nothing. ..

"Yet, if AA's experience means anything at all, this is not only unwise, but perilous... Few muddled attitudes have caused us more trouble than holding back on Step 5. .. Even AA oldtimers, sober for years, often pay dearly for skipping this Step. They will tell how they tried to carry the load alone; how much they suffered of irritability, anxiety, remorse, and depression; and how, unconsciously seeking relief, they would sometimes accuse even their best friends of the character defects they themselves were trying to conceal. They always discovered that relief never came by confessing the sins of other people. Everybody had to confess his own.

"This practice of admitting one's defects to another person is, of course, very ancient... it characterizes the lives of all spiritually centered and truly religious people... Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his own personality flaws and for a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person...

"... We shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation that we've always had...

"When we reached AA, and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting. We thought the isolation problem had been solved. But we soon discovered that while we weren't alone any more in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness..  Step 5 was the answer. It was the beginning of true kinship with man and God...

"This vital Step was also the means by which we began to get the feeling that we could be forgiven, no matter what we had thought or done. Often it was while working on this Step... that we first felt truly able to forgive others...

"Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility - a word often misunderstood. To those who have made progress in AA, it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be...

"More realism and therefore more honesty about ourselves are the great gains we make under the influence of Step 5. ..

"... It was most evident that a solitary self-appraisal, and the admission of our defects...  wouldn't be nearly enough. We'd have to have outside help if we were surely to know and admit the truth abut ourselves - the help of God and another human being. Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility...

"At this stage, the difficulties of trying to deal rightly with God by ourselves are twofold. Though we may at first be startled to realize that God knows all about us, we are apt to get used to that quite quickly.  Somehow being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person... When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God...

"The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken. Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them. It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. .. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves...

"Our next problem will be to discover the person in whom we are to confide. Here we ought to take much care, remembering that prudence is a virtue which carries a high rating. Perhaps we shall need to share with this person facts about ourselves which no others ought to know. We shall want to speak to somone who is experienced, who not only has stayed dry but has been able to surmount other serious difficulties. Difficulties, perhaps, like our own. This person may turn out to be one's sponsor, but not necessarily so. If you have developed a high confidence in him[her] , and his temperament and problems are close to your own, then such a choice will be good. Besides, your sponsor already has the advantage of knowing something about your case...

"Perhaps, though, your relation to him is such that you would care to reveal only a part of your story. If this is the situation, by all means do so, for you ought to make a beginning as soon as you can. It may turn out, however, that you'll choose someone else for the more difficult and deper revelations. This individual may be entirely outside of AA...

"The dammed up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. As the pain subsides, a healing tranquility takes its place. And when humility and serenity are so combined, something else of great moment is apt to occur.  Many an AA, once agnostic or atheistic, tells us that it was during this stage of Step 5 that s/he first actually felt the presence of God. And even those who had faith already often become conscious of God as they never were before.

"This feeling of being at one with God anad man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following Steps toward a full and meaningful sobriety."

-- Edited by amanda2u2 at 01:34, 2006-01-29

do your best and God does the rest, a Step at a time

Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 105

I'm adding up a post here just to bring the stepwork board threads in order since I again find all the threads mixed up again creating confusion to members who log in here as to what step we are currently at smile.gif


"We do not want to lose any of what we have gained; we want to continue in the program."

Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 105

Is there anyone who takes care of the AA stepwork here currently?

Amanda? John?


"We do not want to lose any of what we have gained; we want to continue in the program."

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