I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always
Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006
Step five: "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."
The material and instructions on this step are written in the chapter INTO ACTION, pages 72-75. Read the pages carefully. Remember the following rule. DON'T LET ANYONE READ THE BIG BOOK FOR YOU. READ IT YOURSELF The Big Book is your own personal text book you have to have your own personal experience with it.
Now to the word wrongs. As I said in my previous shares The Big Book uses different words for the same thing. Character defects=wrongs=faults=mistakes=flaws.
Our character defects are the manifestations of our spiritual illness and are also a manifestation of our agnosticism. They are the manifestation of our illness of relations with ourselves with God and with people around us. They are our negative emotional reactions, thoughts, and actions, in our inner world and in our external world.
The three main manifestations or character defects that are dealt with in step four are our resentments, our fears and our feelings of regret and remorse for harming others. Those feelings may be buried but they are there. They eat us from the inside and feed our obsession which drives us to eating triggers and bingeing.
In step four we put our character defects of resentments, fears and harming others on paper, seeing not only how the world reacts to us, but also and more important, how we react to the world. We listed some basic defects like selfishness, dishonesty, self seeking, being inconsiderate of others and thus harming them, and all the negative reactions and actions like lying, stealing, self pity, procrastination, jealousy, envy, criticism impatience, intolerance, overeating, feelings of being a victim, blaming others, etc… Whatever came up when we examined our life. We not only listed them but saw how they affected every area of our life and became an integral part of our life. This is what I understand by the sentence the exact nature of our wrongs; it is not just our wrongs but the part they play in our life how we use them and how our life is ruined by them.
The big Book tells me that in step five I have to admit the exact nature of our wrongs three times. First I have to admit them to myself. I do that by writing step four and by reading it and meditating on it after I have written it. By paying attention to my character defects and actions. How they manifest in my life and how they keep my illness alive and active.
Next we have to admit the exact nature of our wrongs to God To do this we turn to God. Every turning to God is a prayer. Here is an example. "God I admit the exact nature of my wrongs to you. As I read aloud my inventory please open my eyes and my heart and let me see and realize how those wrongs kept me away from you and your Power and rendered me powerlessness. Please, give me the insight and the power to do Your will, as I surrender my life to your care and direction"
Now comes the toughest part admitting the exact nature of my wrongs to another human being. It is the prevalent human nature to hide wrong doings from other people. We are generally more ashamed and afraid of people catching us in the act of doing something wrong than of God knowing about it. For example. When stealing we don't think about God, and if we do we ask him to not let other people catch us at it. Which is of course a spiritually sick way of trying to have contact with God.
This fear of letting another human being know about our character defects and wrong actions is what we have to overcome in this program. This is why the Big Book concentrates on stressing the importance and necessity of admitting the exact nature of our wrongs to another human being and devotes pages 72-75 to this part of step five.
When the Big Book was first published in 1939 there were only 100 alcoholics who lived the program and recovered from their illness. Finding a recovered alcoholic sponsor was a real problem and sometimes even an impossible task. Therefore The Big Book suggested other possibilities. Like someone ordained by an established religion, a close mouthed understanding friend, a doctor or a psychologist, or even a suitable family member. But we have to be careful not to choose a family member or another person who might be hurt by our sharing or made unhappy by it. Such persons are usually emotionally connected to us and sharing our inventory with them may hurt them. "We have to share our inventory with someone who will understand yet be unaffected. The rule is we must be hard on ourselves, but always considerate of others."
Today the prevalent custom is to share our inventory with our sponsor. It also makes a lot of sense. Since we are in frequent contact with our sponsor and share our life with him. Our sponsor helps us to apply the program in all our affairs. The sponsor also works the program and knows about anonymity and is usually understanding and not affected.
The Big Book stresses that we cannot skip this step since if we skip it we jeopardize our recovery. In fact we cannot skip any step. It also stresses the necessity of complete honesty and not holding back any secrets. And the necessity of not procrastination and doing step 5 immediately after finishing to write step four.
What about the person who listens to our step five. The Big Book says that he should "be able to keep a confidence, that he fully understand and approve what we are driving at; That he will not try to change our plan" It is not his job to judge or criticize us. It is not his job to approve of us. It is not his job to tell us that what we share is not as bad as it sounds, since then we may think that we don't really need to take steps to change it. It is not his job to forgive us. He is not God and this is not about forgiveness it is about cleaning our soul by sharing with another human being, the things that block us from God. This is just another step on the path of recovery.
It is his job to help us see the truth about ourselves. He does this by listening. He does this by drawing our attentions to points that we don't see clearly in our inventory. Especially character defects that are obvious to him from what we share, but we don't see them or recognize them. It is his job to help us recognize where we missed writing the harm done to others, and where we overdid it and thought we did harm when we did not..
ASSIGNMENTS BEFORE TAKING STEP FIVE WITH ANOTHER PERSON:
1. Admit the nature of your wrongs to yourself by reading your written inventory aloud and meditating on it. Pay particular attention to your character defects and harming actions. Observe how they manifest in your life and how they keep your illness alive and active.
2. Admit the exact nature of your wrongs to God To do this turn to God in prayer. You may use this example. "God I admit the exact nature of my wrongs to you. As I read aloud my inventory please open my eyes and my heart and let me see and realize how those wrongs kept me away from you and your Power and rendered me powerlessness. Please, give me the insight and the power to do Your will, as I surrender my life to your care and direction"
Read your Inventory again after saying the prayer.
3. Read pages 72-75 carefully.
4. Copy the sentences that tell us what happens if we skip step five.
5. Copy the sentences that tell us what is required of us in sharing our inventory
6. Copy the sentences that tell us what is required of the person who listens to our step five.
7. The Big Book tells us that step 5 is "a life-and – death errand" Do you agree with that sentence? Share with us.
8. If you have not set up a date to do step five with your sponsor or another suitable person do it immediately. The Big Book says we should not waste any time. Of course you have to finish writing you inventory till then. A good way to avoid procrastination is to set a date for step five, ten days after I begin writing the inventory, and stick to it. Share with us.
ASSIGNMENTS AFTER TAKING STEP FIVE WITH ANOTHER PERSON
9. On page 75 we are promised that certain things will happen after we take step 5. Copy those promises. After you take step five share which of the promises materialized in your life
10. Copy the sentences on page 75 that tell you what to do after step five.
Thank God that you know Him better. Why does the big book say that we know God better after step five?
11. Read every one of the first 5 steps on page 59.
For each step ask yourself if you have not omitted anything.
12. Go over your answer to a former assignment on the subject of the arch through which we pass to recovery, and ask yourself if you have done the work properly Answer the following:
Is your work solid so far?
Are the corner stones and the keystone properly in place?
Have you skimped on the cement put in the foundation?
Have you tried to make mortar without sand? Remember that there are two parts to the cement.
Is your foundation solid?
If you can answer all those questions to your satisfaction you are ready for step six.
IF NOT, then talk with your sponsor and decide together with him what should be done in order to rectify this situation. Then do it. Report to your sponsor and get to the stage where you can answer those questions to your satisfaction.
Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.
Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Food addict and compulsive overeater
The Twelve Steps
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