Auds here, abstinent and sober one day at a time by the Grace of God, these fellowships and my own effort.
Well last week I told you some of my step four realizations and how they affected my life. I am sure that some of you were confused because I shared some fifth step stuff but in writing, it is hard not to share the things that enabled me to recognize my character defects, and of course sharing those growing pains with you. So this week we will backtrack a little.
Willfulness: this is one of my main character defects. I want what I want when I want it. So when asked to look at my defects of character, I thought to myself "I don't have any. I am a saint, it is everyone else's character defects that make me so miserable." hmmm. As I have said, the fourth step is for you to get to know yourself. That way, in the fifth step your sponsor or the person you trust to do a fifth step with will let you know that you have not done anything that all of us haven't done.
I think the scariest thing about the fourth step is thinking of sharing it with another human being. So why don't we think, "I will look at myself and not share with another human being." Of course we will when we can, but for the moment lets just get out pen and paper and write a list of people who make us mad and why. I started with an employee whom I said was irresponsible and therefore I had a big resentment. Well she was a single mother who was trying to raise three children with no child support on the slim salary I could afford. So I resented the fact that she brought her children on the job. Of course I had told her that she could do so. Hmmm. Who was hurting who?
Now I was able to see that I had a part in my resentment. I was able to see that resentments were killing me. Sound scary? Not really, because when I shared this in a fifth step, I was told "so what, do you think you are different from us?" Time and time again I shared scary things and found out that I was loved and accepted because of my defects of character not in spite of them. As others accepted me I learnt to trust, as I learnt to trust I learnt to look at myself honestly. So lets continue. I lived in fear and rage. hmmmm. How about you? What scares you?
Write down "fear" and then put the things you fear underneath one by one. Look at why they scare you.
Fear: I might lose my job. Why? Because I am not doing a good job. Why? Because I need to eat first to gain courage? hmmmm. Did food ever give me courage to do the next right thing? hmmm. When I started doing two things each day I didn't want to do and I began to see a glimmer of self-worth, what happened? I got braver and braver. So now it is time to do one sentence in my fourth step today — call my sponsor and tell her or him what is blocking my willingness. You do have a sponsor don't you?
Fear: I might lose my husband, wife, children , home, car, etc. because I am not doing the things I need to do to keep them. Why? Because I don't feel good about myself?
Here we are at all the questions I asked you in last weeks share. You might have perceived last weeks share as a fifth step but it was only that way to give you an idea of how looking at myself and being accepted just as I am gives me courage to be honest.
Fear: I can't share myself with anyone for fear they will use it against me. hmmm. I too thought that, but the reality is I know deep down who to trust. I knew who to share things with if I wanted them spread around, so I also knew who to go to when I didn't want them spread around. It is a big risk for me to share my character defects with all of you, but I trust you not to judge me. Why? Because I have never been judged by someone who was in recovery. Someone who "has" this program is trustworthy. Of course, anonymity helps me trust also.
Rage: the "how dare theys" were key in my addictions, I always justified my using by thinking "if people treated you that way you would need to knock your self out too." I needed a reality check. Perceptions are the key to my addictive behavior. My boss doesn't trust me. Is this true or is it my knowledge that I am not doing a good job that makes me put thoughts in his head that make me angry?
Okay, so now you are looking at yourself and maybe seeing for the first time your part in the things that are tearing you apart —things you don't want to think about. So what do you do? Talk to your sponsor. Go to a meeting Go for a walk Have a cup of tea Read something fun Read something hard Clean a room Thank God for your abstinence. Now you do have a sponsor, don't you? So how did we get to step five? The Big Book has lots of advice about step five starting on page 72. And starting with the first paragraph on page 75 the directions for doing the fifth step are plainly spelt out. We do what is suggested and oh boy, the relief is amazing.
I have been told that if are not ready to do a step you need to go back to the preceding step. If you are ready to do step five — go for it. Decide who will share this procedure with you and make an appointment, take your written inventory, and your trust and go for it. Read step five again and make sure that there is nothing you are hiding. Remember half measures avail us nothing.
I have shared my fifth step on a number of occasions before this one. And wow, all the shares I have read that you all have written to me make me know that I am one of many. I am not alone. Read some of your shares to WTS and see how much of a fourth and fifth step you have already done.
Print out your shares and look. "Oh my heavens, did I share those things?" See, you have already shared things you thought you never would. How did it make you feel when you read other shares so like yours. That is the fourth and fifth step at work. So be brave now. Make an appointment with the one you trust to hear your fourth and fifth steps. Keep that appoinment. Look at all the stuff you uncovered in the steps we have done already and see how alike we all are.
There are a lot of questions in the body of this share so I leave you to find them and answer them to yourself , to your sponsor, and share with us what you would like to.Remember, inventories are not always done in red ink.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for opening this door for me. The door has said no admittance all my life but now it is ajar. Give me the courage to push it open, let me see that there is so much good in me and that I will start to recognize my assets as soon as someone else points them out to me. Let me freely admit good qualities as well as those defects of character that keep me from a closer contact with thee. Amen