What the Big Book says about Step 5 | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 2

What the Big Book says about Step 5

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    If we skip this vital step 72:13

    The reason first: if we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking.

    This is a practical program. We do it because it works. The experience of millions of recovered alcoholics is impossible to deny. If we fail to follow our third step decision with these actions, it likely will have no permanent effects (64:1). If we cannot establish a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, we may not recover from alcoholism (44:3-4).



    Wondered why they failed 73:1-5

    Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their house cleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness, and honesty, in the sense we find in necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.

    This explains why we need to take all of the steps in order. As we work the following steps our understanding of the previous ones broadens and deepens. Picking and choosing which steps we prefer to take produces little or no results. This is a suggested program not a program of suggestions. Each subsequent step depends and builds upon our experience with each of the earlier steps. Few who have not admitted powerlessness will be willing to abandon their old way of life and adopt a new one. Few who are unwilling to believe in a Power greater than themselves will decide to turn their will and life over to the care of God. Why do a moral inventory if we are not seeking to be rid of those aspects of ourselves that block us from God? What admission can we make to God, ourselves and another person if we have not developed the insight to recognize the real problem? We need to take all the steps to successfully overcome alcoholism.

    The authors are being polite and trying to avoid making judgments of us. Let us not fool ourselves into believing that they are referring to someone else. Cross out the word “they” in ever sentence and replace it with “I.” We need to learn the benefits of this way of life first hand. We need to have our own individual spiritual experiences. Practicing the fifth step enables us to directly experience this spiritually based way of life and to reap its benefits.



    Directions for the Fifth Step 75:7-23

    We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we 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.

    Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done. We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better. Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page which contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask is we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand?

    This list of promises, which are the result of taking our Fifth Step, make it all worthwhile. This is a very practical program. It works! If we did not realize results form adopting these principles we would abandon them. One benefit is that humility replaces humiliation. Instead of the pain of humiliation that we fear exposing of our secrets will bring, we gain the peace of forgiveness. We are able to forgive ourselves for being human and full of faults. We can see the path ahead that leads us to the type of life we have always wished we could live.

    Experience is the best teacher. We gain experience by repeated practice of the techniques explained in each of the twelve steps. This is our own personal experience gained through direct application of spiritual principles to solve our problems. As we progress we develop faith that God will give us the help we need.

    These are specific instructions for preparing for the sixth step. We become entirely ready to have God remove our defects of character by taking the five previous steps. Our admission of powerlessness over alcohol and unmanageability of our lives turns us necessarily to a Power greater than ourselves. Making the decision to turn our lives over to the care of God sends us on the quest to face and be rid of the things in us that block us off from God. By indentifying our failings and admitting them to God, ourselves and another human being, we become entirely ready to have God remove them.

    The admission of our defects brings us closer to God. When we draw close, God is revealed to us (57:12). The instruction for this prayer is simple. The expression of our gratitude to God places us in the proper frame of mind to continue with the next steps.

    An arch is a stable and strong structure capable of withstanding pressure and strain. The component pieces of an arch work together to support themselves, thus each component part of the arch is necessary. The omission of any part of the arch will cause the whole structure to fall.

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