This week’s HTYH is more about Step 5. Bill Wilson wrote a book titled, Twelve-Steps, and Twelve-Traditions, and on page 56 he said: This practice of admitting one’s defects to another person, is of course, very ancient. It has been validated in every century, and it characterizes the lives of all spiritually centered and truly religious people. But today religion is by no means the sole advocate of this saving principle. Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his, or her own personality flaws and for a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person. So far as alcoholics are concerned, AA would go even further. Most of us would declare that without a fearless admission of our defects to God, and another human being we could not stay sober. It seems plain that the grace of God will not enter to expel our destructive obsessions until we are willing to try this step.
What are we likely to receive from Step 5? For one thing, we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we’ve always had. Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong. Either we were shy, and dared not draw near others, or we were apt to be noisy good fellows craving attention and companionship, but never getting it-at least to our way of thinking. There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand. It was as if we were actors on a stage, suddenly realizing that we did not know a single line of our parts. That’s one reason we loved alcohol; it let us act uninhibited and extemporaneously. But even Bacchus (Greek god of wine), boomeranged on us; we were finally struck down and left in terrified loneliness.
When we reached AA’s Twelve Steps and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting. We thought the isolation problem had been solved. But we soon discovered that while we weren’t alone anymore in a social sense, we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness. Until we talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong. Step Five was the answer, and it was the beginning of true kinship with man and God…To be continued.