M(3), 5/19: Coming Clean in the Fifth Step
May is absolutely flying by, I can’t believe it’s the third Monday already! Since it is, we studied Step 5 in our meeting this morning:
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
I have written about Step 5 on multiple occasions (if interested, check out here and here as examples), so I won’t bore anyone with more rambling on my thoughts about its importance. I will repeat, because I can’t say it enough, the two greatest personal gifts I received from completing my fifth step:
1. Gaining a “right sized” sense of self: Prior to sitting down and hashing out all of my deep, dark secrets, I carried a lot of shame around with me, and a deep conviction that I was a lesser human being. In confessing these secrets to another person, and hearing the person say, “you are not alone,” gave me a sense of relief that was palpable, and I carried forward from that day the understanding that we are all flawed human beings, we all make mistakes, and I am okay just as I am.
2. My first real God moment: During the lengthy process of the fifth step, I had my first, concrete, this-miracle-stuff-is-real experience. My sponsor is listening to me, for hours, as I go through my fourth step inventory (God bless her). At one point, she stops me and says, “I’m not sure why I’m asking this, but I am feeling that I need to…” and asks me a detail question about a relatively minor point of my inventory. That question led to a very dramatic personal revelation, and disavowed me of a notion about myself to which I previously held for years. To this day I don’t understand how she would have had the sense to ask it, but her asking it, and my answering it, was a pivotal moment for me in my recovery, and my first concrete answer to the question, “Do the 12 steps really work?”
Some other great thoughts that came out of today’s meeting:
- One of my favorite attendees (but, who am I kidding, they are all my favorites!) talked about step five being the beginning of getting back to ourselves. And I can really relate to this… carrying around all of the guilt of my active addiction, living with the lies and deceit while in active addiction, not understanding all of the “isms” that led to my addiction, how was I even to know who or what my real self is? Unloading the past is a prerequisite to getting to know the authentic self, and step 5 is a great way to unload the past!
- Another long-timer shared that he had a lot of anxiety prior to taking step 5, as he felt much the same shame that I described above, so for him the anxiety and drama leading up to step 5 was great. He said by comparison, once he finished step 5, it seemed almost anti-climatic, and felt almost let down. But, over time, he realized that there was no more pivotal moment for him throughout his step work. For him, realizing the benefits of taking the step was a gradual process, but had a huge payoff.
- The overall consensus from the part of the group that had completed step 5 was the immense relief in knowing we are not alone with our mistakes, and that we are not the Worst People On Earth! Losing that sense of isolation proves to be worth the difficulty in summoning the courage to complete step 5.
- Finally, and this is why I chose the graphic above, an attendee shared that step 5 gave him a greater sense of intimacy, starting with himself and extending to his family, friends and the Fellowship. He defined intimacy as “into me you see,” and doesn’t that make perfect sense?
Remembering the miracles that I experience regularly within the Fellowship, I am just so grateful!
Posted on May 19, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.