Step Five Rewards

By Bob S.

My Fourth Step inventory focused the light of truth onto unrealized driving forces of selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. It also provided certain necessary tools to face and be rid of these newly discovered grosser handicaps (a great reward!) but still, countless other destructive little demons of the grosser variety lurked in some dark dank space deep inside. They freely frolicked in this invisible environment, happily protected from the sunlight of the spirit. It was as though they were protected under a very opaque umbrella, weaved with the fabric of the Twelve Steps: The grosser handicaps of selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.

My sponsor informed me that Step Five was to include a detailed revelation of these grosser defects of character and shortcomings. Those little demons and devils of conceit, jealousy, carelessness, intolerance, ill temper and all the rest were about to be exposed—not only to my sponsor, but to God! Although my sponsor had not the power to close that umbrella, the Big Book tells me that God could and would if he were sought! (Those little fiends must have been trembling down there!). The sunlight of the spirit was about to shine on those little demons, for they cannot survive in the sunlight of God’s truth! 

The Fifth Step promises on page 75 tell us that we now begin to have a spiritual experience. Well, the realization that God is soon to remove the very things that blocked us from seeing and acting on the truth in drink indeed speaks to a radical inner transformation! I believe the main goal of this vital step is to allow us (me) to realize exactly what dominant inner forces have blocked the truth in drink. Only then will I know exactly what imperfections to ask God to remove in Steps Six and Seven. 

It was very important that I acted before my mind decided to remember only what it wanted to remember. I believe that the Big Book timetable is very important here! We are told to do Step Four “at once,” Step Five at “first opportunity,” review for a short period and then” (not later) do Step Six, go right into Step Seven “when ready.” Steps Five, Six and Seven are often referred to as the “same day steps.” 

Although I am still plagued by past guilt, I have the above tools to find relief by simply living in the spirit of Step Ten. When attacked, I ask God for help at once and discuss with others (maybe at my next A.A. meeting). I try to think of what I can do to help other alcoholics and to be a better person. This gets me—as Bill Wilson’s Oxford Group Sponsor, Sam Shoemaker, stated: “Out of self. Into God. Into others.” This sometimes immediately relieves me from the bondage of self and the demons subside their torment. 

Of course, Step Eleven helps as well. Before going to bed I often review whether I have been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid. If so, I ask for God’s forgiveness. I believe that self cannot relieve self of self with self. The same goes throughout the day when experiencing a guilt attack. 

I believe that going to meetings on a regular basis prevents irrational guilt from appearing on the radar screen. I need to remain in fit spiritual condition! 

I am very happy that my sponsor, Carl, helped me close that umbrella via the Big Book directions. I haven’t taken a drink since joining A.A.—thank you, God!

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