PART ONE OF TWO
PART TWO OF TWO
Dear WTS Friends,
It is okay that some of you have not finished Step Four are not ready to take Step Five .... By the end of the week, I believe you will be. We are going to devote this entire week to finishing up what we have started and at the same time read some important things about Step Five. All of you should be thinking carefully about whom you wish to "give" your Step Five to. It's important that this person be someone you can trust ... and that they be understanding. Bob and I (and probably many others) think it should be someone who has experienced Steps Four and Five themselves. Most of you, I imagine, have a sponsor and probably will want to share it with them. It could also be your therapist, your minister or a spiritual advisor.
It would be a wonderful thing if 100% of you by the end of the week had taken the time each day to finish up Steps One-Five. What a difference this will make in your lives. If you need me during the week, I'm here for you. So are the Meeting Leaders, the Coordinators of your support groups and your sponsor. You are most definitely not alone.
Good Luck to you ~
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STEP FIVE LEADER ~ BOB A.
STEP FIVE ~ PART ONE OF TWO
There really aren't a whole lot of "rules" or even suggestions for step five. It is covered in the AA Big Book in Chapter Six from pages 72-76. Interestingly enough, the name of the chapter is "Into Action". I wonder if that means something? Reading these pages tells most of what we need to know. In Step Five, it is not what we know - but what we DO!
I think the real ISSUES about Step Five are:
The Big Book was written in 1938 - before there were many people who could take a fifth step from someone WITH EXPERIENCE IN THE STEPS. So the Book suggested professional people or clergy as an *alternate*. Some people still do that. I believe it is best to do it with someone who has done their fifth step already IN PROGRAM. I believe the experience shared of *how it was for the listener* is very helpful to the person giving away the fifth step.
As another *alternate* idea, I think it is possible to do it on line. There will probably be people who disagree, since to not do it f2f may lose something. I think it would be a loss, but I think something else is gained by having the sponsor-person simply react to the written material and help the sponsee accept his/her own realities for today.
This week I would like to recommend in the absence of any other definitive material, that:
EACH OF US SHARE OUR EXPERIENCE, STRENGTH AND HOPE
TRAITS THAT I DISLIKE IN MYSELF AND OTHERS
Full of Rage
STEP FIVE - THE SPONSOR
It seems that much has been written, and rightfully so, on how to do the fifth step from the point of view of the person who is READING IT to a sponsor, friend or professional. I thought I'd share what I've found works from the point of view of someone who is *LISTENING* to someone else's stuff. This might be helpful to someone who has never done it for others before.
WHEN I AM GOING TO RECEIVE A FIFTH STEP.....
I find it the greatest honor to be asked to receive someone's fifth step. It means they are trusting me to be helpful to them. It's usually very scary for most people who are considering this action (from both sides) and it was a little for me at first. No longer. I know it works and I know HP is involved deeply in this experience.
I have listened to fifth steps by men and women in OA, AA, Alanon and Alateen. I am an active member of only OA today and never was in AA though I went to lots of AA open meetings; and sponsored Alateens.
Before we start, we pray. We have a box of tissues handy. I assure them that I will never discuss this material with anyone else. I let the person read for awhile. Many listeners just listen and don't comment. I find it very important to comment as we go along. the comments are of a varied nature.
1. Similar experiences.
If what the person is reading is very upsetting or embarrassing, I usually have a personal similar story I can relate, and I do - it takes some of the pressure off. Knowing we are not alone, nor terminally unique, is an important part of the goal of this step.
Sometimes, if it's getting real serious, I may say something humorous. It is usually spontaneous and I rely on my ability to be sensitive but also to keep it light. Learning to laugh at ourselves often STARTS here. I try to not give it the air of someone going to a priest in a confessional and admitting stuff to someone on a pedestal. We've ALL done stuff we're not thrilled about - are we going to continue to suffer for past actions? Again, no *terminal uniqueness*.
As the reader begins to identify his/her character defects, I usually add that I had that problem too - this this is the first time I discussed it, and that relief is just a STEP or two away. I can often give actual examples of how I've changed with respect to a CD, and that seems to help. I don't necessarily comment on EVERY CD, just one or two to explain that CDs are NOT forever.
Sometimes it becomes clear that people don't have the slightest idea which CD is behind some experience, resentment, fear or guilt they have had. They will call out ten or twelve CDs for each item on the list. (Most of us tend to be MORBID at this point. Sometimes, the reader wants to make sure he *hits* the CD, so s/he writes out a bunch of them.) My "job" here is to help focus on the one or two, from MY viewpoint, that are REALLY operative. ***I think this is the GREATEST help we can be to people in this process - to help them discern the REAL problems.***
So I *ASK* if they might consider perfectionism as the cause of this resentment rather than pride, or something else like that. I try to think along with them. (We're working on this together to help the reader discover the REAL reasons for his/her misery.) We may have to explore a few to get to the root ones.
When the material has been read, we tally up the CDs and discount some of them as trivial. We figure up the top five CDs and discuss how to go into the 6th step to WORK on them.
This is one of the reasons why it's important to read our fifth step to someone who has done it before. IF someone HASN'T, it still may be OK, as long as both can have the feeling that others have done it before us and we're both gonna try to continue on and get rid of these CDs.
And it is for this reason that I think it is important to read it to someone in Program, and not just a professional. (It may be that the professional has another technique to "get rid of CDs" that is not
spiritual - many of us have been sidetracked for years because of this, though some of it is helpful for awhile:) The steps still remain, in my opinion and experience, the FASTEST way to get weller, period!
Towards the end, I usually ask if there is ANYTHING they haven't told me. Often we need to be asked. It was so with me on my first 5th Step. If it's a concern, it usually needs to be aired and often the experience is cathartic.
I sometimes add at some point that I'm not an expert, just another compulsive overeater trying to work my steps. Listening to a fourth step by another is a way I do my twelfth step. I try to be helpful and assist the person in their endeavor to work this step.
FINALLY, when it's all done, I thank the reader for his honesty, and usually can share that it did more for me then him. I think we ALL need to be reminded that we are part of the human race. And that applies to both of us.
I suggest they read the first few pages of Chapter Six in the AABB when they get home. And I remind them that they don't have to wait a year, or a month to start working on the Sixth Step.
I welcome any sharing on this. I don't think anyone does it *perfectly* and I would love to get others EXPERIENCE on this to enhance my own and to be more helpful to others.
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