Level 5 Member
Thursday, May 17, 2012, 5:00 PM
Here are the steps we took: 7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
That is what the authors of the Big Book and millions before you did. To personalize the step for your study and action in the here and now, however, you may wish to rephrase it as:
STEP SEVEN. Humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings.
READING FOR STEP SEVEN
Chapter 6, Into Action. Page 76, paragraph 2
You may also wish to use our Step Seven Work Sheet.
The 12 & 12 dwells on the word, "humility" to some length. Here's what the dictionary says:
|hu-mil-i-ty (hyue mil'i tee; often yue-) n.
1. the quality or state of being humble; modest opinion of one's own importance or rank; meekness. [1275-1325; ME humilite < L humilitas; see:
hum-ble (hum'buhl, um'-) adj. <-bler, -blest> v. <-bled, -bling> adj.
1. not proud or arrogant; modest. 2. low in importance, status, or condition; lowly: a humble home. 3. courteously respectful: in my humble opinion.
The root "hum" means earth as in humus and, humor. When the definition says that Humble means "lowly" it does not mean servile or inadequate. It means, simply, not exalted, as is the earth as opposed to heaven.
So, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.
The way we have come to look at humility is that it is a virtue, one of the principles that AA teaches us to live. The definition we have adopted pictures us as standing naked before God, without pretense nor reservation. It means hiding nothing, being our real selves, both good and bad. A good synonym for humility is honesty.
Mother Theresa obviously knew precisely what humility means when she said:
"If you are humble nothing can touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know who you are."
In the context of Step 7, then, we find that our taking of Steps 4, 5, and 6 has prepared us to know much of who and what we are. It is our real essence, then, that stands before its Creator with the prayer that its shortcomings be removed. (The expressions exact nature of our wrongs (step 5), defects of character (step 6), and shortcomings (step 7) are to be used interchangeably, according to Bill Wilson.) But, just what does get removed? Does God remove defects that we don't know about? If He did, then steps 4 and 5 might be unnecessary. You have been instructed to go to a great deal of trouble to bring to the surface your defects of character.
Knowing of our defects is only a precursor to becoming willing to stop hanging onto them in step six.
We don't think this effort is all make-work. The Higher Power we have come to know does not intrude into our lives without invitation. He only responds to step seven prayers that are very specific. He wants us to understand which qualities of character are desirable and which are not (within the context of His scheme of things). He wants us to know ourselves well enough to know which character attributes we have and which are missing. Therefore, we believe that there is no catch-all we can invoke that just says, "clean us up".
The point is that we are to ask God to displace our own character with the character He chooses us to have.
Does God remove all our defects of character that we ask Him to? It seems not. Sometimes we think something is a defect of character when it might be right for us, like a mole on our cheek. Maybe we haven't yet learned enough from our defects to really be ready to have them removed, even though we think we are.
Most of us take Steps Six and Seven every day. The process of letting go and letting God is not instantaneous. We whittle away at the old self, often painfully, until His magnificent configuration slowly emerges.
The principle of Step Seven is___________________.
|The Seventh Step PrayerMy Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen
Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 7:09 AM
To all my friends I would like to say thank you for crying, encouraging, holding me up, understanding the spiritual battle that I am going through and most of all telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back in the race.
I thank you because you guys really know me and know that I really, really, really dislike mistreating or being misteated by others.
But here's my battle. First of all I said "Yes, Lord" and every since I have been in the greatest spiritual battle of a life time. Secondly, the book that coming forth has taken me through a battle of the mind. And lastly, I keep forgetting that life isn't fair and people don't fight fair.
What's the lesson? My friends called and told me that my focus is all wrong. I should be focusing on the problem and the problem is how I preceive things. They said that "I should put on a new pair of glasses cause the ones I am wearing or fogged up."
No! I didn't like what they said but after I got over myself, it was true. So, I couldn't say Amen so I said "Ouch."
They also said while I am sitting around feeling sorry for myself there is someone out there that really needs some real help so go find them cause one thing's for sure if I am helping someone else I am not thinking about me.
Lastly, they said "Go wash your face and wipe away those tears cause when you cry you have the kind of face that only a Mother could love." :)
Monday, May 14, 2012, 5:55 AM
I was thinking about a church experience I had today and than I related it to an experience in which I saw a man commit suicide. I was with a friend who had drove me to Lancaster when on the way back we encounter a massive traffic jam. My first thought was why is there so much traffic on the 14 fwy at 11 am in the morning when the traffic is usually free flowing at that time of day. It took us about 40 min to get to the section where the 14 fwy and the fwy going to Magic Mountain meet. All of a sudden when we reached that section I saw people outside there cars, people with taliking on cell phones, people taking pictures with cell phones, people taking pictures with camera, people with tear filled eyes, people crying, people laughing and people shouting jump! When I looked up to see what everyone was looking at I saw a man who looked to be in his early thirties. I looked up directly into his eves. What I saw was hopelessness and dispair as if he were saying "there is no way out, there's no hope for me." He was on the freeway over-hang getting ready to jump. There was the fire dept. with the air ballon deployed so he could jump to safety, the sheriff and police dept. trying to coherece him into coming back to safety but no of their attempts worked. He looked me straight in the eyes, and put both hands behind his back onto his belt positioned himself away from the air bag and jumped to his death. I saw his body hit the ground as if paper and jump back up bending his neck and slamming back to the ground to his final death. Why am I telling this story? Well, because people are going to church and coming home and committing suicide why? Because you can't tell church folk what's really going on with you without being judged, preached to, condemned or all your business spread all over town. So, you ask church folk how there doing and they say fine! Well, fine stands for f@!, insecure, neurotic and emotional. I have learned not to tell them anything. YOU'LL FIND IT PREACHED IN A SERMON THE NEXT MORNING!
And tell me this if you know someone whose parent was into withcraft would your sermon be the same? Find out all the facts before you jump to conclusions. Church people can be the most deceitful, hostile and mean-ness people you'll ever meet all in the name of the Lord.
I am through with y'all you know to much for me. I never met anyone who knew everything but you live and you learn. I hope one day Ill get that smart.
Monday, May 14, 2012, 2:47 AM
I got a couple of messages regarding some church activities please note I am only doing twelve step activities from now on. I will not be doing anymore church anything for personal reasons. I love everybody but I have decided just for me that I get more encouragement and spirituality from this source.
Sunday, May 13, 2012, 7:32 PM
Let me tell you what ignorant people do; Now ignorance is defined as: the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness. In this cause it is lack of knowledge. First of all I really dislike people who don't know me who have never held valid conversation with me, who are not considered to be a friend, lover, etc. to jump to or make any conclusions about me. Now, I don't know what delusion your in but listen and listen intently "You are not the reason my world exists." Anything I wasn't born with I don't have to have.
And one thing I would never have is a flirtous man. Their to unstable. They flirt with this one this week and that one the next week and than another the following week. Than they look at women as if there is something wrong with them when in fact they need to look at the common denominator. Just in case you didn't get it. (THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IS YOU)
Once again you have investigated her to the fullest degree and she is found lacking. Thank God! I have a twelve step program that tells me to always look at me, even when I think it's you it's me.
Stop investigating everyone else and look at yourself!!! Stop being ignorant and acting as if you know something you don't. That's why your by yourself now. Yeah! I said it and I'll say it to you personally!
STOP BEING IGNORANT! STOP BEING IGNORANT! STOP BEING IGNORANT!
Come over here and let me put some oil on your forehead with my index finger and say "YOU SPIRIT OF IGNORANCE, COME OUT!!!
Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:52 PM
Here are the steps we took: 6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
That is what the authors of the Big Book and millions before you did. To personalize the step for your study and action in the here and now, however, you may wish to rephrase it as:
STEP SIX. I am entirely ready for God to remove all my defects of character
READING FOR STEP SIX
|Big Book:Chapter 6, Into Action.Page 76, paragraph 1, line 1-712&12:Step 6
At this point, it would be a good idea to look again at our discussion of step 5, where we define character and list a number of candidate defects. Upon completion of step 5, you should have compiled a list of the character defects which you have. Step 6, the object of our current discussion, is concerned with your willingness to have these defects of character removed.
You have noticed that discussion of step 6 in the Big Book is but 5 sentences in 7 lines. We will look at each of these sentences in turn.
Sentence #1. If we can answer to our satisfaction, we then look at Step Six.
[Big Book, page 76, line 1
What are we answering? On the prior page we are instructed to do certain things after completion of step 5, including:
Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last.
[Big Book, page 75, line 29]
Your arch spans 7 of the 12 steps. It was entered in step 3, when you decided to turn your life and will over to the care of your understanding of God. Upon completion of step 9, which you are yet to do, you will have entered the "realm of the spirit" (step10).
But wait a minute. The design is not yours. Then whose design (path) is this?
RARELY HAVE WE seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
[Big Book, page 58, line 2]
Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. [
Big Book, page 100, line 6]
Time after time, this apparent calamity has been a boon to us, for it opened up a path which led to the discovery of God.
[Big Book, page 116, line 15]
And where do we build our arch?
But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good.
[Big Book, page 102, line 4]
With what do we build?
When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
[Big Book, page 25, line 13]
"God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
[Big Book, page 63, line 15]
The portion of a structure upon which all else (even the foundation) rests is the footing.
He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. [
Big Book, page 63 line 5]
The foundation itself is described in some detail in the Big Book:
Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend.
[Big Book, page 12, line 22]
Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery.
[Big Book, page 97, line 5]
...let him go as far as he likes in helping other alcoholics. During those first days of convalescence, this will do more to insure his sobriety than anything else. Though some of his manifestations are alarming and disagreeable, we think dad will be on a firmer foundation than the man who is placing business or professional success ahead of spiritual development.
[Big Book, page 130, line 2]
Twelve–Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
[Big Book, page 564, line 31]
We should take special note of the keystone of the arch. It is the stone in the center at the top. Both sides of the arch rest upon it. Without the keystone, the whole structure would collapse. Because your arch is spiritual, rather than material, the keystone symbolizes something other than stone.
...we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone...
[Big Book, page 62, line 27]
We have all heard of a cornerstone. To a mason, it is the first stone laid. It is also a stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall, especially a stone lying at the foundation of a principal angle, specifically one laid at the formal inauguration of the erection of a building, usually inscribed with the date or other matters and often hollowed out to receive documents, records or other relics. In a more general sense, a cornerstone is something of fundamental importance; a trait or fact upon which others rest as if forming a superstructure. In the latter sense it is akin to a keystone.
"Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. [
Big Book, page 47, line 20]
For the first time, he lived in conscious companionship with his Creator. Thus was our friend's cornerstone fixed in place.
[Big Book, page 56, line 31]
And what binds the stones together?
The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us.
[Big Book, page 17, line 19]
Entry into the Arch, however, is barred to those without the Key.
We turned back to the list (our fourth step inventory), for it held the key to the future.
[Big Book, page 66, line 23]
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have—the key to life and happiness for others.
[Big Book, page 124, line 22]
Meanwhile, back at the conclusion of step five we are directed to review the adequacy of our construction:
Are the stones properly in place?
[Big Book, page 75, line 30]
Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation?
[Big Book, page 75, line 31]
Have we tried to make mortar without sand?
[Big Book, page 75, line 32]
If the job so far is acceptable, then you may be ready for step 6 and the destiny that is about to unfold for you.
We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us. We can only clear the ground a bit. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway
[Big Book, page 55, line 23]
Sentence #2. We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.
[Big Book page 76, line 2]
The alcoholic mind has little difficulty in translating indispensable to suggested. But if our foundation is one of complete willingness, can we do without it?
Willingness is the foundation of abstinence!
when the broker gave him Dr. Silkworth's description of alcoholism and its hopelessness, the physician began to pursue the spiritual remedy for his malady with a willingness he had never before been able to muster. He sobered, never to drink again up to the moment of his death in 1950.
[Big Book page xvi, line 27]
There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment.
[Big Book page xxviii, line 13]
I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since.
[Big Book page 13, line 11]
But this man still lives, and is a free man. He does not need a bodyguard nor is he confined. He can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude.
[Big Book page 27, line 1]
MOST OF US have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.
[Big Book page 30, line 1]
On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary.
[Big Book page 13, line 33]
Willingness is the foundation of belief in God:
I stood in the sunlight at last. It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.
[Big Book page 12, line 18]
There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me—and He came.
[Big Book page 12, line 31]
We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired. If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try..
[Big Book page 28, line 20]
We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
[Big Book page 46, line 16]
We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.
[Big Book page 47, line 14]
What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker—then he knew. Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him. When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!
[Big Book page 57, line 36
The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines..
[Big Book page 60, line 9]
He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.
[Big Book page 93, line 8]
Willingness is the foundation of a sober life:
Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.
[Big Book page 13, line 33]
If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.
[Big Book page 58, line 25]
For the type of alcoholic who is able and willing to get well, little charity, in the ordinary sense of the word, is needed or wanted
[Big Book page 97, line 33]
To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.
[Big Book page 163, line 8]
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable
[Big Book page 570, line 12].
Sentence #3. Are (you) ready to let God remove from (you) all the things which (you) have admitted are objectionable?
[Big Book page 76, line 3]
Please note that this step does not include willingness to have God remove your nagging spouse, the law suit your neighbor slapped upon you, the court appearance you are facing nor your swollen liver, even though you may be willing to have them removed. We are dealing here with your defects, not those of the world. If you reflect upon the papers you carried away from step 5, one of them was a listing of your character defects. These are the things which you have "admitted are objectionable". Go through your list again. For each item, ask yourself if you are willing to have it removed.
Most of us were not totally willing to have all of our character defects removed totally right away. Pick out an easy one, and become willing to have it removed immediately. Then, pick out a harder one, and nibble around the edges of its desirability. Help yourself be more willing for its removal than you were before. For the really tough ones, pray for willingness to become willing. However, don't postpone Step Seven until you are totally willing to have them all eradicated. Flush your defects one at a time. "Divide and conquer", you know.
One measure of your willingness to be free of a defect is to stop reinforcing it. Don't do it anymore. Or, more practically, postpone its next reinforcement as long as you can. Learn from the experience of defect-relapse. What are the triggers? What, if any, are the benefits? What are some other tools for postponement/eradication that you have not tried?
Here is a little practice we encountered that is helpful. It is called:
the five A's of Adjustment.
|Awareness. Until we admit awareness of a problem or a character defect, we cannot possibly let it go. Steps 4 and 5 apply here.
|Attitude. This is the willingness A. Do we justify our thoughts or actions? Do we want to keep doing what we are doing and get different results? We must not only be willing to let it go, we must stop hanging onto it. This is Step 6.
|Alternatives. What are the various actions or inactions that we might employ to have our defect removed? One of these, certainly, is Step 7! Talk around among trusted folks. What have they done that worked? Do some more research (not the experience of repeating the defect, but the learning variety).
|Attunement. This the first action. Because it is so vital, it has its own A. Take Step 7, and ask God to relieve you from your defects of character, habits that are incompatible with His path for you, wrong thoughts and actions. Take Steps 2, 3, and 11 every day as often as you can. The payoffs in A.A. are wondrous, but they come in phases: (a) we are no longer drunk, and we are delighted, (b) we discover a magnificent fellowship to which we can belong in acceptance and grace, (c) we are reconciled with our families, our work, and our neighbors, and we are grateful, (d) we come to know who we are and we become whole, and (e) we know and love the perfection of the Spirit within us and we are awakened to the truth of the universe,
|Action. In Steps 8 and 9 make a plan for amending the past, and do it. Implicit in this is your discontinuing to reinforce the defect by not practicing it. Privately forgive all those whom you still resent. As a result, guilt, shame, remorse and self-loathing will be removed. Select a promising alternative, and put it to work. Keep at it. If appropriate, keep a notebook in your pocket to record relapses (of the character defect, not the drinking, we hope) and retries until you see real progress. Associate with persons, places and things that will reinforce your growth. In Step 10 revisit all five A's. Through Step 11, follow the direction of God in your life, and be a changed person as you get into service to your fellows, especially suffering alcoholics.
Sentences #4 & #5. Can He now take them all—every one? If (you) still cling to something (you) will not let go,... ask God to help (you) be willing. [Big Book page 76, line 5]
We know of one fifth step partner who, upon completion of a friend's fifth, would produce the character defect list, and they would both go through it, checking off each defect that applied. The stepping friend would then go outside with his inventory, the list of defects, and a large brass urn. He would sit in the yard taking step six alone with his Father, performing the reflection described in the Big Book. When entirely ready, the inventory and the defects were solemnly burned in the urn. The symbolism was total willingness to be cleansed of these defects in the healing presence of God.
Step 7 followed immediately. The principle of step 6 is
Thursday, May 10, 2012, 1:24 PM
It's really hard to let go of a person who has caused you alot of internal pain for so long that you have internalized it, processed it, claimed it and then excepted it as the truth.
Then you wake up one day and find out that your not the person that they have ascribed you to be at all. You have become healthy, healthy enough to have your own opinions and ideas of who you are and what you want and don't want.
But that person can't expect the new you. What even sadder if there is such a word is if that person is your Mother.
Mother's day is fast approaching and I am having anxiety attacks and overwhelmed with grief because I would really like to be with my Mother on Mother's Day but I can't because has painful as it is to not be with her it's even more painful to be with he because here is how the conversation would go.
What's wrong with your hair can't you do something with yourself? why'd you wear that dress I am sure you could have found something better to put on?
And if I try to hold a normal conversation the body and verbal gestures that I would receive would be telling me that I don't know anything or my reply was incorrect.
I would be criticized from the time I sat down until it was time to go and by the time I left internally my stomach will be in knots, my head would hurt and I will feel like a worthless piece of you know what?
I AM JUST NOT WILLING TO GO THROUGH THAT ANYMORE!!!!!
And I refuse to discuss it with some people because all I hear is that is your Mother!
So, does that give my Mother a right to tear me to apart? I think not! I will do Mother's Day alone rather than be devastated with decapitating emotional pain.
I decided to do HEALTHY this Mother's Day.
Thursday, May 10, 2012, 9:13 AM
In Mark 4:35-41 it reads: On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41 ESV)
There are times in life when you go through storms and it may seem as though God is asleep. If your anything like me your saying "Lord, where are you I now you right now!"
I have sent out smoke signals, s.o.s, sound the alarm cause this right here is an emergency. My kids are actin' crazy, my husband has ran off with another woman, the bills are due and even the dog is lookin' crazy at me right now!
My house is about to be foreclosed, the bills are due and I lost my job! Lord, HELP!
Wake Up Jesus! I need you right now. Maybe God is telling us the same thing he told his disciples "HUSH, BE STLL" I got this. Where is your faith?
Remember that time your car broke down and you didnt have any money to fix it?
Didn't I make a way? Or remember when that man left you and you didn't know how you would make it and I provided for you? Didn't I tell you that if I clothed the birds of the air and they neither sow are reap how much more will I take care of you?
"HUSH, BE STILL."
Monday, April 30, 2012, 1:18 AM
Here are the steps we took: 5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
That is what the authors of the Big Book and millions before you did. To personalize the step for your study and action in the here and now, however, you may wish to rephrase it as:
Admit to God, to yourself, and to other human being the exact nature of your wrongs.
READING FOR STEP FIVE
||Chapter 6, Into Action.
||From: Page 72 Thru: Page 75, the bottom of the page.
Why? This step is genuinely therapeutic. "Confession" (not an A.A. term) was one of the six steps in the Oxford Group, one of the sources from which A.A. sprang. It is to be found in some form in most every religion since ancient times. There is some kind of essential mystical property in the act of opening up completely to another human being. There is a sense of initiating the cleansing process in step 5. You have undoubtedly heard that your sickness cannot be removed completely until your deepest secret is purged. This is absolutely true!
In conjunction with your step 4, this bringing in of another person makes a lot of sense. You have done your very best to write out acts, thoughts and emotions which will need to be corrected and which will help to identify your defects of character. You have done the very best you could. Nevertheless, only the most achieved human can see himself in total objective truth. The keys to your behavior, often so obscure to you, will seem to jump out to the attention of your fifth step partner, especially if he has heard a fifth before with others. So, a major benefit is the feedback that will help you as you proceed to later steps.
One of our members noted this on page 75 of the BB:
"We...go to it, illuminating every twist of character...withholding nothing..."
He was concerned that the lists which make up Step 4 did not fulfill this everything requirement. It was pointed out that the everything refers to Step 5, not Step 4. There is always much discussion in Step 5 that goes far beyond the content of the inventory. This is the way it is supposed to be.
With whom? You have heard of A.A.s who select a total stranger (even one who speaks only another language) to hear their fifth. This might satisfy the first reason above for the step. However, it deprives the one taking the step of the response that is so vital to growth. Moreover, it makes sense to take this step with your sponsor or a person to whom you will turn for guidance in the future. When they are informed by the step and future discussions, they can help you see your patterns and provide the continuity that is necessary for unlearning old habits and initiating new (and healthy) ones.
The best approach is to select your partner, at least on a conditional basis, before you begin your step 4 in earnest. They may have definite ideas as to what they want to see when you take your fifth.
Needless to say, you will want more than concern, experience and wisdom from your partner. He or she must be absolutely trustworthy. Not a single episode from your revelation should ever leave their lips. One of the best ways of evaluating the ability of your partner to preserve private information is to listen as they talk about others. Do they engage in gossip? Do they reveal things about others you wouldn't want revealed about yourself?
When? It makes little sense to have an inventory riding around in your pocket. Once you've selected your partner, make an appointment and go to it.
Preparation. The Big Book is clear that once you have finished your step four writing, you are to review your lists, analyze what they mean, and learn something from what you have written. Your analysis will be augmented in step five, but you should not leave all the thinking up to your guide.
Read page 66 again. We are reluctant to repeat the book. However, some of the points it makes cannot be left without comment:
The world is, indeed imperfect, and our lives have been touched by injustice. Our typical reaction has been to try to fix the world. When that didn't work—it never does—we got good and sore and bitched and drank at it. Only in sobriety have we learned there is but one thing in this universe that we can and must try to influence. You guessed it—self. Many of us have then discovered a miraculous truth. When we set about to have our Creator manage our lives, we are often empowered with incredible influence over people near us and in the world around us. The catch (wouldn't you know there would be one) is that we must not attempt to exercise self-will.
The power of resentment far exceeds any conception we had of negative thinking. Were you aware that:
..a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.
The hours in which we allow futility and unhappiness in our lives are not worth while. Resentments waste our lives.
Resentments shut us off from the sunlight of the Spirit, thereby preventing the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience.
When shadowed from the sunlight of the Spirit, the insanity of alcohol returns, we drink again, and we die.
Harboring of resentments is fatal.
Most alcoholics have a deep—almost pathological—sense of justice. If we are wronged (meaning often that we did not get what we wanted), or even conjure up the notion that we might have been wronged, we find full justification to express anger or harbor resentment. It then seems almost a duty to carry a justified resentment. Otherwise those who have wronged us would get off scot-free. And that wouldn't be right, would it? So, we waste our God-given lives judging and punishing our fellows. Relinquishing a justified resentment is one of the most difficult experiences known to the alcoholic.
Yet, it must be done! There is striking evidence that resentment creates a physical poison in our bodies, in addition to the mental and spiritual maladies it feeds.
And, how do we rid ourselves of resentments? Hopefully, this process began in step 4. Our list holds the key.
a) Note the message of the column headings:
Column #1) Whodo you hold a grudge against?
Column #2) Whatdid they do that you found offensive?
Column #4) How did you contributeto their action? and
Column #3) Why did you react with a resentment?
The first lesson is that resentments cannot be cleared up until we know we have them and why. The second lesson is that we have made ourselves vulnerable to the outside world to an extraordinary extent. Our entire self concept has been molded by the opinions and actions of others and our old thinking as to what we ought to be and were.
b) Next, it is necessary to be willing to let go of the resentment. You will learn more about this in step six. Moreover—and the Big Book doesn't give as much help here as it might—we must forgive the person we resent. There will be more discussion of forgiving others in step eight, and you may wish to visit Forgiveness. Just accept right now that you are going to have to do it! There is no other course.
Now look at your fear list. For most of us, fear is the underlying cause of resentments, greed and negative behavior with others. This will be discussed further in step six.
Finally, the harm you have done others, whether relating to sex or not, needs to be thought through. Why did you do what you did?
The ultimate key given you in the Big Book is the oft repeated notion that your life is now on a different basis. A basis is a foundation—that upon which all the rest stands. Your new basis is trusting and relying upon God.
Character Defects. You will note in the steps these phrases: the exact nature of our wrongs, defects of character and shortcomings. Here we have three different ways of saying defects of character, which, according to Webster, are the habitual traits of defective thought and behavior which distinguish a person:
The dictionary on CHARACTER
|3. An attribute , quality, or property; esp., a distinguishing attribute.
|5. The aggregation of distinctive qualities belonging to an individual...; the stamp of individuality impressed by nature, education, or habit...
|6 The estimate put upon a person of thing; reputation; repute.
|7. Moral vigor or firmness, esp. as acquired through self discipline.
We have heard folks point out that nature in "...the exact natureof our wrongs..." is singular. We have performed many wrongs, but there is but one underlying nature for our wrong doing. Having given this idea some thought, we conjectured that separation from God or self-centeredness might be our singular wrong. However, the text in the step could also be interpreted that each wrong might have its own and different nature. Understand it as you will, discuss it with your sober associates, and then move on. There just might not be a "right" answer to this one.
We have assembled on the last page a short catalogue of character defects, which you may expand or condense as you see fit. At the end of your step five you should know which of these apply to you. In the [ ] to the left of each candidate in the catalogue you can place a check mark [P] if it applies sometimes, an [X] if it is a real problem, or just leave it blank [ ]. These are the things we become willing to have removed from us in Step 6. Please notice that unreasonable judges, nagging partners, dictatorial bosses, stupid drivers, overdrawn checking accounts, falling hair and warts are not on the list.
Conduct of your fifth will be guided by your partner, who will be delighted that you have not brought the great American novel, and that you have followed the tried and true formula in the Big Book (as modified, perhaps by their prior direction). They will usually ask you to read your fourth to them. Much valuable communication will be provided by your expressions and voice in addition to your words. If they take notes, which is rare, they will give them to you before you leave. They are yours. This step takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. Schedule enough time, especially in recognition that many partners will combine steps five, six, seven and eight in one sitting.
Promises: we have a whole page on promises. We can't resist repeating here what A.A. members are promised at the completion of a successful Step 5.
"Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing,
(W)e are delighted.
We can look the world in the eye.
We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.
Our fears fall from us.
We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.
We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly.
We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. "
In many meetings we are read the alleged "12 promises" (actually the 18 beginning at the bottom of page 83). Upon reflection, the promises from Step 5 might be even more wonderful. Go to Promises
and discover for yourself.
Writing: for once, there is no writing you need to do in advance of step five other than your inventory. Note, though, that at the conclusion of your presentation be sure that you have at least three pieces of paper to take home with you:
The first will be a list of your defects of character. If you like, use the list on the next page by checking off the character defects that apply to you. This list will guide steps 6 and 7.
You should also have a preliminary list of persons you have harmed for step 8 (This will be a combination of the sexual injury [4d] and persons you have harmed lists [4e] from step 4.).
Retrieve a list of the names of the persons you still resent. You will probably find it necessary to forgive them in order for the resentment to be removed.
It is often a good idea to burn the inventory you brought with you. More on this in step 7.
The principle of Step 5 _____________________. .
Defects of CHARACTER
|[ ] Abusing others
||[ ] Fear *
||[ ] Pessimism
|[ ] Anger 7
||[ ] Filthy-mindedness
||[ ] Prejudice
|[ ] Arguing
||[ ] Gluttony 7
||[ ] Pride 7
|[ ] Arrogance
||[ ] Gossiping *
||[ ] Procrastination *
|[ ] Boasting
||[ ] Greed 7
||[ ] Recklessness
|[ ] Cheating
||[ ] Hate *
||[ ] Resentment *
|[ ] Closed-mindedness
||[ ] Hopelessness
||[ ] Revenge
|[ ] Cold-heartedness
||[ ] Immodesty
||[ ] Sarcasm
|[ ] Complaining
||[ ] Impatience *
||[ ] Secretiveness
|[ ] Controlling others
||[ ] Injustice
||[ ] Self condemnation *
|[ ] Corrupt companions
||[ ] Insincerity *
||[ ] Self-indulgence
|[ ] Cowardice
||[ ] Insulting
||[ ] Self-justification *
|[ ] Criticizing *
||[ ] Intolerance
||[ ] Self-pity *
|[ ] Dependency
||[ ] Irresponsibility
||[ ] Selfishness *
|[ ] Destructiveness
||[ ] Jealousy *
||[ ] Sloth 7
|[ ] Deviousness
||[ ] Laziness *
||[ ] Theft
|[ ] Dishonesty *
||[ ] Lewdness
||[ ] Thrill-seeking
|[ ] Enviousness * 7
||[ ] Lust 7
||[ ] Thoughtlessness
|[ ] Exaggeration
||[ ] Lying *
||[ ] Uncleanness
|[ ] Excess
||[ ] Meddling
||[ ] Vulgarity *
|[ ] Fanaticism
||[ ] Miserliness
||[ ] Waste
|[ ] Favoritism
||[ ] Negative thinking *
* One of 20 character defects identified by an early member of A.A. 7 One of the "Seven Deadly Sins" (try the mnemonic, "GAPLEGS", or, better yet, "PAGGLES
Thursday, April 26, 2012, 12:15 AM
I was reading Chapter 2 of Mark about the paralytic that was healed by Jesus snd the determination he and his friends used to get to Jesus and than I thought I must have that same determination. I must get to Jesus by any means necessary!
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
This just simply lets me know that I must be determined and persuaded that nothing, absolutely nothing can keep me from getting to Jesus. I may have to overcome obstacles but I must dig, push, pull and whatever else I need to do to get to him.
Yeah, he probably called his name "Jesus, Jesus" but sometimes it requires a little more to get to him. So be determined!!!!