HEARING OF 5th STEPS
Big Book - Chapter Seven - "Working WithOthers" (page 96):
"Suppose you are makingyour second visit to a man. He has readthis volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of theprogram of recovery. Having had theexperience yourself, you can give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he wishesto make a decision and tell his story ..."
We find reference to Doing theThird Step with your new man and offering to HEAR his Fifth Step. All the references in Chapter 6 to doing itwith non alcoholics are there because there was no Fellowship - the bookwas for "mail order" sobriety; it was hoping you, the reader, wouldbegin to "create the Fellowship you crave."
In Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Bill writes on Step Five:
"We shall want to speakwith someone ... who has not only stayed dry..." and "Until we talked with completecandor of our inner conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same, westill didn't belong."
Here we find more informationalong the same lines, encouraging us to HEAR a Fifth Step so we can"belong." It is our opinionthatthe "Step process" isincomplete without HEARing at least one Fifth Step. Little is written in our"textbooks" on this.
In our view, to qualify, ithelps to have done a 4th & 5th Step (& preferably not stoppedthere!). We have met many who haveavoided this opportunity (responsibility) for Spiritual growth through fear,laziness or disinterest. Another oftenused "reason" for not hearing a Fifth Step is something like:"Well, I really don't know him that well." That can be turned to an advantage in thefact that you can be even more objective, which is defined as impartial, fairor unbiased. Of course, when thisprocess is done, you will know him (her) as a reflection of yourself! We could write pages (maybe a book) on how weare "all cut from the same cloth" and "tarred with the same brush." These are experiential conclusions that willcome after you have heard a Fifth Step.
We are doing more than justhearing. We believe that we are askingto be a "channel" for God in this highly personal aspect of anotherpersons recovery. It is an attempt toget "ourselves out of the way" for as long as it takes. We are not being asked to "play therole" of doctor, minister, psychiatrist, judge or counselor. In fact, it's a good idea to qualifyourselves out loud that we DO NOT possess these qualifications. Merely one alcoholic with anotheralcoholic attempting to get closer to Him by DOing the Steps.
Praying for Guidance andDirection, we "set the stage" by taking the phone off the hook orturning the ringer off. If there is alikelihood of knocks on the door, leave a note asking not to be disturbed. Together, we pray to have God join us, tobring about this "channel" state of consciousness. We pray for our hearts and minds to be open,that we be given whatever is necessary to accomplish our individual roles.
Ask if you may take notes. Ask if you may give"feedback." Most people arepleased that we are willing to make more of an effort than "justlisten." Notes help us for severalreasons; we don't have to keep trying to remember stuff, which allows more ofour undivided attention. We will, withno seeming effort, often be able to detect patterns of behavior that "justseem to appear" from these notes. Often certain words will "leap out" and form the basis of a"Step 6 & 7 list." We makecertain that they know the notes will become their property as soon as we aredone.
The "feedback?" If we are trying to be like a"conference call to God" then just do what "feels"right. We gently share what has been"revealed" to us in the HEARing. It may seem prudent to ask: " Is there any last dirty rotten littlesecret that you are withholding and will take YOU to the grave?"
Moving toward "TrustingGod" is an experiential process. Toquote a line from the Big Book onpage 63: "He provided what we needed if we kept close to Him and performedHis work well."
When done, we pray together inthe Spirit of Thankfulness for this priceless opportunity to clean house,"live out loud" for perhaps the first time in our lives, and moveanother Step along the Path. Next, thequestions on page 75 of the Big Book "Returning home ..." areanswered. (Again: the Big Book waswritten for "mail order" sobriety - there was no Fellowship.)
At this point, we allow the"giver" of the 5th Step the opportunity to decide if they would liketo perform a "ceremonial burning" of the paperwork (including notesbut excluding Step 6 and 8 "lists"). If these have not been organized, we let this be the opportunity to doso. Regardless of what course isdecided, we, as the HEARers of Step 5, thank the "giver" for theirtrust and dedication to action. We askthat we be called if "more is revealed" and openly share in theirexhilaration as the dark burdens are lifted.
Time? Step 5 takes as long as is takes. We usually set aside the entire day, so thereis no haste to be "done" at any certain time. We do all that we can to avoid rigidity andexpectations. We Trust God with therest. If we need to eat, we eat. If we need to rest, we rest. Sometimes it "feels right" to takea break. We must remind ourselves oftenthat this Step is a process that means the difference between life and death -or insanity / incarceration; between happiness and misery; between isolationand a sense of unity.
Results? What we experience is very individual, so wetry not to "set ourselves up" with a list of expectations. Generally, the "giver" feels a verystrong sense of relief and the "hearer" feels tired and spirituallyenergized at the same time. Pleaseremember, there's no such thing as a BAD Fifth Step for either party if this isapproached from a Spiritual Perspective. We remind ourselves that this is a very individual experience.
Specific results for thoseHEARING 5th Steps are: a sense of belonging, a spiritual reminder that we aremore alike than different, and a deeper sense of commitment, understanding andeffectiveness. Prejudice becomestransformed into compassion, and the power of "shared suffering" cutsthrough resentment with ease. This canbe a landmark on the road to spiritual humility; by placing ourselves in God'sHands we begin to truly experience "freedom from the bondage of SELF."
It's about Spirituality .
It's about Brotherly Love.
It's about Compassion.
It's about Understanding.
It's about Love.
It's about the 'magic' of onealcoholic with ANother alcoholic.
It's about Forgiveness.
It's about God.
It's about the preparation tobe of Service to others and ...
Like the rest of the " instructions: "
JUST DO IT !
JUST HEAR IT!
It is "an experienceYOU MUST NOT MISS !"