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Step five promises

I truly dreaded doing the Fifth Step with my sponsor. As it says in the 12&12, it is one thing to write a Fourth Step with the consciousness of God leaning over my shoulder and quite another thing to read it all out to someone in person and face to face. At our first session, she suggested that if there were certain things troubling me that I did not want to share with her we do those first – and get them out of the way. That gave some relief.

After a couple more sessions, even I could recognise the monotony of my resentments, fears and destructive sexual behaviour. Doing the same thing repeatedly and believing the result would be different – this time. Sadly, I had not learned from my many mistakes. It turned out that my mental insistence of being distinct and exceptional was a lie. My appalling behaviour had been no better or worst than the average destructive alcoholic.

My Fifth Step did not kill me – it did not even come close. By our last session everything, but EVERYTHING, was out in the open. That ‘great weight’ was off my shoulders. I felt free and at peace. I had faced my fears, told the truth and was beginning to look the world in the eye. Oddly, my Higher Power seemed even closer than when we were alone together during Step Four. The feeling of the steadying hand started to grow and became more consistent. I had faced the shame of my life and wanted more of the spiritual experience that AA promises.

Step Five helped me to a clearer recognition of my fallibility and humanity – it also showed me an alternative behavioural path. I started to accept myself as I was – warts and all. Despite those warts, I began to get the feeling that even I could be forgiven. I learned that it was an extremely useful tool to be able to confide in a ‘safe’ person; that it was unnecessary and self-destructive to continue to hide my thoughts and feelings. Most of all it gave me the ability to be ‘real’ with myself and the willingness to pursue an honest life – one day at a time.