Hello again! How'd your fourth step go? Piece of cake, eh? Pardon the pun.
It may have seemed like a lot of work for the last two weeks. Relax because we're slowing down the pace now. The big book devotes 87 of the first 164 pages to the first eleven steps. Nearly half is dedicated to the twelfth step. It seems then, that we will spend more time on that than the other steps put together, just as the first one hundred men and women who got sober did. Bill Wilson took all the steps in a day and a half and then went out to find other drunks to help.
So often, people get caught up on step four and stay there until they go out and start eating again. With that in mind, I hope you only spent a few hours on your inventory. Now you get to do step five! And there's no writing for this step. You admit to God, yourself and another human being, all the stuff you wrote up to now.
Don't worry about what you might have missed. That is what the tenth step is for.
On page 71 of How it works ,we get some more directions about what's next. Doing that inventory was the beginning; you've swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself. INTO ACTION, that's what is next! As you can see on page 72, this is about getting a new attitude and relationship with the God of your understanding. We get to cast out all the things that have been blocking us, that you listed in your 4th step. This chapter starts out by telling us how to do our 5th step.
Now, I know you've probably heard some war stories about fifth steps and I am here to tell you that it's not a big deal. I hate how we scare the beejeebers out of newcomers by blowing this step out of proportion. This is about FREEDOM. I've done several 5th steps and I'm alive and able to tell you about them. And I feel much better for having unloaded all those â€˜secrets'.
For your first instruction, read pages 72 through 75 and do the exercise of crossing out the alcohol and alcoholic and replace it with food, etc and COE, etc, like you did in the preceding chapters. Then go back and highlight what you relate to. There are lots of suggestions to pay attention to here also, okay?
On page 72, it clearly states that if we skip this step, we may not overcome our eating. You don't want to skip it anyway. For me, this was one of the most freeing steps I've ever taken. On page 74, midway down, we get some insight on how to choose the right person to give the 5th step to. Doctors, ministers, psychologists, friends; all good and since the writing of the big book, we now have sponsors. I loved doing this step with an understanding sponsor. While I was afraid she'd think I was the worst person in the world, some of my most glaring resentments, she matched or topped! I felt like a bozo on the bus, finally. I was not the worst bum in the world, no matter what my head told me. And neither are you. We're all just garden variety overeaters.
So find that person to share your inventory with. Look at the benefits of doing this step, on page 75 - we get the fifth step promises! It says you'll be able to look the world in the eye! Man, that was a big one for me. Perfect peace and ease, yeah, that's for me! Fears fall from us. How can you beat that? I felt more close to my God and to that wonderful sponsor too! And it's the beginning of a real spiritual experience. It also says that the feeling of our overeating problem disappearing is a strong possibility.
Okay, now when get ready to do the fifth step, make sure you allow some time for when it's done. Page 75 suggests that you go home and be quiet for an hour. Read the big book, the steps so far to make sure that your archway is being constructed well. You are going to be able to walk as a free man/woman after this step. Wow!
Now we can deal with step 6. The big book doesn't talk much about this step, except to say that it immediately follows the 5th step and is part of that quiet hour. So this should only take you one hour. This is where we look at our character defects. Go back through your inventory to see if you can find any character defects in there and then think about the others that have plagued you. Fear? Gossip? Stealing? Just make the list.
Now, this isn't in the big book but I had this really great sponsor who explained this character defect thing to me in a way that really helped so I'm going to share it with you, okay?
We were not born with character defects. No, we were born with beautiful assets. Somewhere along the line, we misused those assets as a defense. It may have worked so well, that we tried it again, and again. Then, those misused assets, as we used them wrongly as a defense, became defects of character. So, what I want to do is return to the assets!
Let me give you an example. Let's take lying for instance. I have a great imagination. I could tell great stories as a child. Once, I did something wrong and when my mother asked me about it, I tried to defend myself and I told her a lie, a story! She bought into it and I didn't get in trouble. So the next time, I lied again and it work. So I learned how to take that beautiful gift of story telling, which worked as a defense, but then it turned into a character defect of lies. I want to go back to my gift, that of being able to tell stories well.
So now, next to my list of character defects, I list the asset it used to be and how I wrongly used it as a defense and then a defect. That is your next direction, to list your defects of character and try to determine what asset it used to be. There are no wrong answers, what you determine is right for you. Take your time and think about the defects, the time you used it as a defense and what asset it used to be. And don't worry about what you have not thought of at this time. You have the rest of your life to discover your character defects and work on returning to your beautiful assets, okay? Steps six and seven are ongoing steps.
When you are finished with your list, you'll find the 7th step prayer on page 76. You can say that prayer. Notice it doesn't say you become Snow White. It says that the defects that stand in the way of your usefulness are the first to go. You might want to call your sponsor or someone who is good support for you, to read the prayer with. I love to pray with people.
I usually tell sponsees that they could start to sponsor after this step. It is good for two reasons. Number one, if I give it away, I get to keep it. Crazy as that sounds, it works. It gets me out of focusing on myself and it makes OA strong. We don't have enough sponsors! And second, it helps the sponsee to stay on track and continue their step work. So often, after the fifth step, people have a tendancy to put on the brakes. Not so. We have more work to do. The exciting part of recovery is right around the corner!
That's it for this week. Not too bad, eh? Best of luck with your fifth step. I'm gonna be praying all week for you as you take this step. It's life changing.
Keep your abstinence first, absoulutely.