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current weekly topic STEP FIVE: how can we tell we're holding nothing back? Sunday 7pm topic

Chad 24 05 2018 11:56 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  One of the life-saving gifts I've gotten with 5th Steps I've shared, maybe most of all when the other person has shared from his own dark past, is the release from the horrible idea that my alcoholic mind maybe started feeding me around age 5 or 6:  that I'm alone in sin, maybe.  Looking at that magnificent relief, with the word "admitted," I'm reminded of how opening shades or blinds can admit daylight into a room.  Grateful for the transformation!

alan Tuesday, 15 May 2018 9:26 am
Alan alcoholic, thanks Chad for your service here.
In terms of Step Five and uncovered versus undiscovered I think that pain is a healthy indicator at times, put there to remind me that I'm holding back something I shouldn't. I believe the admaission in front of God another human being will be fluid as my sobrietu progresses; in the same way as my honesty in prayer progresses with my faith.
I've seen so many in AA who had seemingly done a "done and dusted" 5the step but didn't strike me as role models, at least for myself. This is the difficulty of who to follow in AA, the ones who seem like winners today may no longer be so tomorrow.
At the end of the day, it's a day at a time that I stay sober and also I require a daily examination  of my conscience, accepting the principle of progress not perfection.

Chad 15 05 2018 5:58 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chances to chair and share, both helpful for my keeping this magnificent gift of sobriety one day at a time.  At the wonderful 730 meeting I went to, my old timer friend John B chaired, and Step 5 came up as the topic.  It came to me to share that one of my defects or defective behaviors is stuffing things, and sometimes it seems like my disease puts the most toxic things in the "least important" mental file.  But the God of my understanding is in this with me, and a prayer that I heard in a lead by Don P, that I can't remember the exact wording of, seems to keep coming to me to say.  It's something like "don't let what I haven't uncovered yet kill me before I get to it."  Maybe especially after my 2016 PTSD diagnosis, that one helps me to say.  Grateful for my secrets coming out as needed so far on this wonderful journey, one great sober day at a time!  

Chad Thursday, 10 May 2018 11:24 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  Thanks for the helpful shares, including that story, Alan.  Maybe it was the next 5th Step I did after we met (months after that, in Iowa), I did partly with my sponsor and partly with a priest, and it helped me tremendously, like they all have.  If I remember what's in the Big Book right, it says something about finding someone who will keep what we said private, and who understands what we're doing?  That reminds me that a wonderful old timer friend of mine recently told me that anything I tell her is private; I had gone to her about something that has seemed really important and difficult to open up about in the last year or to, and thank God (of my understanding), she had shared about having gone through a similar or the same thing.  Grateful I've also been able to share about it with my sponsor and several other friends with long term sobriety who have been there, too!  That's been more 10th Step than 5th Step, I guess, but the 5th Step started opening me up to share things I need to get out, and, wonderfully, to listen when others do the same. 

alan Monday, 7 May 2018 9:06 pm
Alan alcoholic

Thanks Chad for the new topic, it's so important to choose the right person, perhaps prioretising listening skills rather than advising skills?

I heard of someone who did the step with a priest and it took hours. The priest nodded off and suddenly woke up at the end. He apologised but the guy brushed that aside and thanked him for the added relief the step had brought!

alan Monday, 7 May 2018 8:39 pm
Alan alcoholic

Welcome Sheldon, you have certainly come to the right place and we look forward to sharing our recovery with you.

sheldon gelinas Monday, 7 May 2018 8:36 pm
Sheldon Gelinas, an alcoolic, 18 years old from canada, i am also a narcotic addict, but 6 months sober very soon 5 days! :) 

alan Sunday, 6 May 2018 9:00 am
Alan alcoholic.

I definitely keep coming back to AA because all those I meet have the same disease. They don't all see it quite the same way but I keep hearing the same things over and over about selfishness, egoism, dishonesty...and this helps me to keep my own list "current" as I may well slack off and begin to give myself some exemptions as mentioned by Dave. When I do so I need to invest anew in my recovery, check out my honesty level and use the tools and suggestions offered by the program.

We claim spiritual progress and not spiritual perfection; none of us is perfect and the sheer realisation of that is a relief in itself! I do seek honesty which can, at times, seem to be a moving target. Admitting to God, to ourselves, and to another humen being, the exact nature of my wrongs is a great AA step but honest sharing to the group, as we've seen here today, is a cornerstone of recovery.

David Sunday, 6 May 2018 4:06 am
the exact nature of our wrongs, 

I had a dual set of standards in life coming in the program, I had a standard for the world and everyone in it and I had an exemption card for myself. Wrong thoughts, wrong actions, wrong feelings, taking things the wrong way, taking people and their actions the wrong way, thinking the wrong things about situations, having the wrong attitude towards the program, taking the wrong actions out of revenge or anger, instead of better controlling myself, making other people suffer because of my stupidity, not owning up to my own shit, being scared to death of people truly knowing me, realizing that alot of shit that had happened in life was just a big deal in my mind, but in reality most everyone else had already forgotten about the matter years before. Having a all or nothing attitude and mentality, being selfish and self centered without any thought or concern for others. Those are a few that come to mind.

Regards, David

alan Friday, 4 May 2018 7:27 pm
Alan alcoholic. Thanks to Chad for taking service this month on Step Five.

"The exact nature of my wrongs" I find to be a constant variable (excuse the contradiction but I think it expresses something indescribable otherwise; maybe as the shifting winds of my sobriety)

I've nerver felt cut and dried in this program and I'm happy for that to be. I don't think, for one thing, that my admissions will be the same today as they were five years ago. It's funny how it seems to get simpler as I turn things up, wrongdoings which used to baffle me suddenly no longer do so, either because of a new clarity of vision or because I'm able to sweep that particular wron away. Some, a lot, of my self reproach along with it's accompanying self loathing has been committed to the scrap-yard as unneccessary bagage and this is enabling me to really crystalise the important wrongs I've done in my past life although I'm not able to make amends for them all as to do so would harm other people and me too.

Decluttering my amends list has got me to get ready for throwing out that last piece of furniture that's being hung on to and is causing me pain, the sofa who's horsehair is torturing my very bones. As I do this, light and revelation flows in together with new energy and I think I can describe it as exaltation far beyond that which I sought through alcohol. I still need to return to the step and one of these days I'll again be admitting before God and another human being, the exact nature of my wrongs.

Meanwhile, sitting on the floor proves to have some healthy benefits!

Chad Friday, 4 May 2018 5:10 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair and share on Step 5 this month.  As an add on for this week, I tried posting a quote from Step 5 in the Big Book:  "We must be entirely honest with somebody."  The full sentence:  "We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."  One of my heroes in this program, Gene O, 57 years sober last December, shared with me in an email that someone once told him he needed to "erupt," letting out things he had been holding inside.  For me, the 5th Step was the start of really doing that for the first time in a real, meaningful way.  My sponsor helpfully listened to me share from my 4th Step, and humbly and helpfully shared something he had done; suddenly, I was not alone anymore.  Maybe I haven't been since!  Thanks, Alan, for the PDF of the 12 and 12 chapter being available; we were just talking about ghosts before the 730 meeting, and there they are mentioned in the chapter--"synchronicity," Mel B might call that ("please save me from living alone with tormenting ghosts of yesterday" might be a helpful prayer for me to pray!)

alan Thursday, 3 May 2018 1:00 pm
Alan alcoholic.

Thanks so much Chad, I heartily second your chair service in May. You can change or not change weekly topic as you like and I hope we will eventually have a Step cloud meeting as well.

It's so heaven sent as I just started taking a guy through the steps and I want us to source and inspire from this Step group with the help of a few oldtimers. I'll be a willing participant sharing on the fifth step!

Alan, grateful to evolve spiritually through step work.

Chad 03 05 2018 11:42 am (sent from my mobile)
Chad, alcoholic.  It would/will definitely help me to share on Step 5 this month, so I'm happy to serve.  Chuck C said memories are part of what's g reat about staying sober in this program, and I treasure the ones of the 2011 meeting at your house, Alan, and the many helps this forum has given me since then.  Grateful for your service, my dear friend!  is the commitment posting a different topic related to Step 5 each week?  

alan Tuesday, 1 May 2018 8:02 am
Hi All, Alan alcoholic.

Just changed topics to STEP FIVE as we are now May.

I have been neglecting this step meeting but have been occupied with trying to get beginners kick started and - miracle rather, than any "kicking" on my part, Sunday evening we had three newbies all with extensive AA experience and we had a great meeting.

We are now using Zoom for online cloud video meetings rather than Skype. The 14€ monthly cost is well worth it as we have reliability and simplicity plus security. I keep faith that we can build up new members and continue improvements and modifications with group conscience consultations. There could easily be a step meeting created on Zoom.

Mark has meanwhile offered to take beginners chair online in May although I'm standing in for him this coming Sunday. I'll continue to look after the text based web page for beginners.

Could there possibly be a taker for chair of this Step meeting? I feel that I'm not doing it justice and would hate to see it disappear. Somewhere for beginners to eventually work the steps seems a good idea although not everyone wants to write shares...Meanwhile ANY CHAIR OFFERS FOR MAY?  I would so appreciate working the current step with an experienced old timer.

I don't believe I'll ever give up doing this service as I feel I must give back and carry the message to stay sober. But others are needed to breathe new life into our site which has carried the message and created numerous meetings for over fifteen years.

Alan, grateful alcoholic

Chad 01 05 2018 5:16 am (sent from my mobile)
For over 6 years now, so over a third of the time I've been sober, the Corrections Correspondence Service done by GSO has helped me work Step 12. When the committee in my head was driving me nuts, in 2011, I talked to my wonderful old timer friend Guil M, over 40 years sober at the time, and he suggested it. It took, and takes, me back to when I started following my sponsor Bill L into jail meetings, maybe when I was 3-4 years sober, in Colorado. And getting to walk out after it was over! The God of my understanding gave me, like my friend and hero Mel B wrote about himself, "a flair for writing," and this might be the most wonderful use it gets put to! Grateful that it's an important part of my sobriety, either way. So are you. 👍

alan 19 03 2018 5:11 pm (sent from my mobile)
Alan alcoholic. For me the exercise of humility needs perpetual attention. However nowhere is God nearer to help me than in our Step Three. Therés another thing about the step I was advised to do; "fake it until you can make it". When I heard that I decided to take the leap rather than letting my denial have an excuse to prevent my progress in recovery.

alan Friday, 9 March 2018 12:33 pm
Alan alcoholic.

"We are not saints", we read in the AA Preamble from Chapter V P60. So the handing over of my will to the care of God is never expected to be perfect. A great thing in the AA programme is that I'm just required to do my best and not asked to attain perfection.
If the question of perfection does come up as a problem I will be creating it myself and can try to work in that area by, for example, decreasing my expectations.

Andrea Saturday, 3 March 2018 9:39 am
Andrea alcoholic

With respect to handing my Will over to God….I believe that to be impossible to do in its’ entirety. Even a Saint would find it difficult to completely let Ego go….and to completely understand what Gods’ will was for them.

This is how I am trying to work through each day – I make a conscious effort to ‘hand’ my will completely over to God for certain time periods, for example when I am writing, studying and want to ‘share’ something. I say a small prayer before I begin, thanking God for where I am today and I hand my will to God and I ask that I might serve….this way I might be inspired to say something that will help another. I ask that my heart, mind and soul be filled with His light and love...and that it guide everyone one of my actions and thoughts. I am doing this every day.

When I do that consciously, make that effort, the rest of the day seems to move on its’ own with perfect synchronicity. Something that I might be curious about and want to mentioned by another without prompt. I might think of a friend….and then they call. I cook and it was just what someone fancied eating...all sorts of little things like that, perectly timed. far and so good but how does that get us through our life problems? And how can we find the ‘wisdom’ to know which things we should just ‘accept’ and which things we can ‘change’. The answer is really in living each day, one at time – just living and dealing with ‘today’. As alcoholics we’re already beginning to do this...we stay sober one day at a time..we tell ourselves that drink we might want is available tomorrow….but tomorrow never arrives because we’re always practicing ‘today’.

Fear and worry are closely linked and both are actually about the future. We worry about something that might happen. Why? It’s not happening today, it hasn’t happened yet...why worry about it? If it was something that happened yesterday….it’s in the past now, why worry about it? Learn from it yes but don’t worry about it. Okay you say, I have a problem that I’m worried Ask yourself, can I fix it today? Yes? Fix it – no worries. No? can’t be fixed..why worry?

Accepting the things that we can’t change today I believe is us living by the will of God. If we can’t change must be something that we’re meant to go through, experience and learn from – it’s one of the ways that we grow and evolve spiritually. So, it is perhaps better to say ‘accept..until change comes or can be brought about and until I have learned from this experience’.

Living for ‘today’ and letting your fears and worries float away is YOU letting God move your life in the directions He would like it to go for you. You are giving your will over to Him. In realising that I would then say that we have to have FAITH and TRUST in Him to keep us safe.

alan Thursday, 1 March 2018 6:50 pm
Alan Alcoholic.

I changed the weekly topic to FAITH NOT FEAR as we are now on Step Three.

Turning over control to God required some faith on my part as I was fearful about giving in completely. Then I was in a meeting where it was read from somewhere "replace your fear with faith".

This showed me yet again how there are actions I can take to further my spiritual progress.

alan Friday, 23 February 2018 12:50 pm
Alan alcoholic. regarding LETTING GO OF MY OLD IDEAS

I believe Nietzsche once said "the only thing worse than ideas is opinions".

Ideas are after all composed of many elements from many places such as CONDITIONING for example. Is someone who has been conditioned by past environment and treadtment really voluntarily holding ideas or opinions which have been foisted upon them as in islamic fundamentalism?.

Ideas may be, after all, only the tip of the iceberg, the visible manifestation of underlying currents which may be beliefs or just instincts. The composition of such currents must be a complex stack of circumstances and conjunctures, as anyone who has tried to understand why they or anyonme should have the urge to drink to destruction.

What Nietzsch might have been saying is that mere pragmatism is often best avoided and intuition, faith and spirituality favoured. That's the view I tend towards in any case.

Chad Monday, 19 February 2018 12:27 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the helpful topic and shares, Alan.  Earlier this month, an old idea came to me that I believe I need to let go:  "it's self-centered of me to get mental health help, because I need to be focused on my mother's mental health."  Like maybe all of the old ideas I've needed to let go, I wasn't conscious of that one, but it surfaced with what I believe is a sense of truth. 

Either way, the old idea that nearly killed me, from 1991 to 2001, was the one that I needed to be able to drink normally, and maybe also the one that I needed to do whatever drugs were being done by the crowd I was in or near. 

The first time I swore off alcohol, I was maybe 14 years old--it was shortly after I had gotten blacked out drunk for the second time, and maybe my spirit knew at that point that there was no normal drinking for me.  But that great obsession, like the Big Book talks about, would not let go, even after I had nearly died, had lost everything that seemed even faintly meaningful to me, and had lost a lot of time in blackouts. 

The gift of surrender to this program, that came into my life in 2001, I don't get any credit for; like you, I found myself broken down and the willingness came.  Grateful for the wonderful daily reprieve I've gotten since then, through the 12 Steps of our program!

alan Saturday, 17 February 2018 10:14 am
Alan alcoholic.

I changed the weekly topic to LETTING GO OF MY OLD IDEAS.

My old ideas got me into a bad state so surely I ought to be willing to listen to a way to break the deadlock? It's surprising, on being honest, how much reluctance I had to take certain steps...

alan Monday, 12 February 2018 11:08 am
Alan alcoholic.

ME? INSANE? In Step Two what seems like an affront kicks dust into my face.

When I think about it, however, I can come up with any number of examples of my insanity while actively alcoholic and even a few in recovery up to present day. The current ones I'm addressing are nothing like the past instances and they tend to hurt me or put me, rather than others, in danger.

The classic case, usually cited, is that thousands of times I vowed to never take another drink and yet did so - a pretty good definition of insanity if ever there was one...

Once I came to admit these things awich I professed not to see then they came in series. Sometimes it's scary or painful to look back at the scrapes and situations I got into and I remember frequently being labeled as "mad" although I used bravado as a cover-up. I had to come to see and to believe that there was a way other than that I practiced stubbornly on my own terms. But my terms drove me to the wall and made me hit rock bottom.

I'd be interested to read any helpful examples others can give of crazy behaviour related to their alcoholism. We are not often asked to relive our crazy moments so here's a chance, without making a "drunkologue" out of it.

alan Friday, 9 February 2018 11:03 am
Hi all Allan alcoholic.

Firstly, thanks Robbie for your chair in January and thanks to those who keep coming and sharing which helps me to stay sober and also carry the message.

I've (belatedly) put my name in as chair for February and remain grateful to have the opportunity to serve an work the steps in this way.

On the monthly topic I set it to WHAT HIGHER POWER? so we might discuss 1. ways of seeing and defining that power and 2. what might prevent me from "coming to believe" in such an entity.

Where 1 is concerned, my personal definition is "someone who isn't me" as I feel that it's the most helpful in keeping me away from thoughts which are preventing me from letting go of the desire to control - to be THE POWER myself. This (being the power) is, of course, the goal society generally might give me as the key to success in business or other walks and, whilst for a non alcoholic this may fit, for an alcoholic it inevitably leads to disaster.
I would myself avoid any polemic about powerlessness and concentrate on the powelessness which KEEPS ME DRINKING as THE MOST IMPORTANT one. Once I get into recovery I will discover many instances in life where my desire to be that power has been leading me into trouble. This might be seen as a case of "first things first".

2 is really about my ego standing between me and my goal a classic case of where an individual sets himself up into a catch 22 dilemma - basically asking for help and then refusing it. This is where the co-relation between the two things my work in the first step made me examine: Powerlessness over alcohol; life unmanageable. If I have not set that foundation properly then I'm sure to have trouble with step 2.

It's not rocket science but alcoholics tend to apply rocket science to the waggon wheel!

alan Wednesday, 31 January 2018 4:33 pm
Alan, alcoholic.

I'm glad to have the arrogant world thrown into the humility equation, it's the whole point really as all the qualities we seek need to be practiced "in the field" so to speak.

If I rationalise, I would say that the arrogance of others is their problem and I am powerless over it - or am I? It may also be that, through setting a good example, I may be able to bring a good influence to bear on others; the cardinal example of this is the "turn the other cheek" as written in the Bible but I'm not sure that I would go to sech extreme lengths.

The famous plaque on Dr Bob's desk brings me clues though:

Humility is perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble.

There's enoughof a lesson for me in there regarding humility in this world, I just need to follow it and the only action seemingly required from me is to kneel in prayer.

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