The other night I had the wonderful experience of helping one of our group members do his 5th Step. Step 5 is where you share the contents of your “Fearless written moral inventory” from Step 4. Step 4 is daunting and isn’t called “Fearless” for nothing. But it can be done and has been done by millions of people. I’ve done it. It was hard but totally worth it. Then comes Step 5 where you share that inventory with another addict who has done their 12 steps and will understand. I was super nervous to do my own and I was also nervous to do my first with another sponsee a number of years ago. But since then I’ve grown to absolutely love doing them!! They truly highlight God’s power to transform people — sometimes in an instant. It is a real life miracle right before your eyes.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. In the Addiction Recovery Program group that I attend there are a number of brethren that have been coming for years who are still on “step 1” or “step 2” and to be frank that kind of boggles my mind. I don’t get it. I love that they come, I enjoy their fellowship, but why punish yourself by avoiding doing the steps? The AA Big Book talks of not trying to persuade people — that our way is one of attraction. If they see what we have they are more likely to want it. So, I don’t say anything about it. I do talk about the freedom from addiction that the steps provide and the rest of our group that has worked through the steps do the same thing. Perhaps someday they will join our happy ranks!
If you’re struggling with addiction recovery and attend or have attended a group but felt it just never worked for you I recommend you ask yourself, really ask, “Have I done all that I can to do my part?” Then, before you answer, ask yourself, “Have I taken every single step with the help of a sponsor?” Not just read through them, not just thought about them, not just studied them in a group, but actually done the work and followed the text and the advice of a sponsor?
If you answered no, even a little bit — this is your lucky moment! You just displayed rigorous honesty. And by being honest you took one step closer to freedom. Don’t delay. Reach out right away. If you have a sponsor you’ve been working with but haven’t called or texted in a while, just reach out right now. “Hi, I’m <whoever you are>, and I know I’ve been absent for a while but I’d like to get my steps going again and I’d like to finish. Will you help me?” Most active recovering addicts will be only too happy to help! I know I would love a text like that. If no response, then they might be struggling and fallen off the path. Offer a prayer for them to find their way back and then reach out to someone else. If you don’t have anyone’s info, then go to a group meeting as soon as you can and before the meeting starts ask the facilitator if he or she can recommend a sponsor for you. Then get to work. Just go for it!
By the way, if you answered “Yes, I’ve done the steps but I’m still struggling — you’re not alone. Just keep going. It’s a journey and a process that only gets better day by day. Some are up and some are down but they always get better even if it’s just a little bit here and there. It’s totally worth it. For more thoughts on this check out my blog on relapse and recovery.
It’s been a while since I’ve written and I wanted to get back into a groove. Hopefully I’ll be able to come hang out more often. If anyone has questions or topics they’d like me to cover, just let me know. I’d love the suggestions. Otherwise, I’ll end with this, “I love where I am today. It is a true gift from God that I have been changed so much. And what has changed the most is how much I love Him and how much I want to be like Him. And in doing that, I’ve found that He takes my hand and helps me with my recovery. And my recovery is good. It is in a place I haven’t ever been before. I have peace in the midst of some of the most stressful stress (is that a saying??!) that I have at work right now. The kind of stress that would have driven me to act out. But instead I just offer a heartfelt prayer and ask for His help and He is there. He does for me what I cannot do for myself. And now I can serve those around me. Especially my wife who I love with all of my heart 🙂 I think I’ll go do some service now.
Have a great day!
My name is Mike