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current weekly topic Step 6: How can we tell we're entirely ready? Sunday 7pm topic

Chad Sunday, 17 June 2018 11:11 pm
Chad, alcoholic.  Thank you for the wonderful shares, Alan.  My friend, hero and brother in recovery Mel B, who got sober at 24 like I did and reached over 66 years of sobriety before he passed, did not talk to me directly that I remember about his own spiritual beliefs, but I heard him say in a recorded lead that he was a "believer in synchronicity," if I remember right, and I am reading your share just 3 hours or so after a counselling session where my difficult relationship with my mother came up.  These days, I believe I'm blessed with perspective on how therapy fits in with my 12 Step program--showing me my defects, maybe old ideas that they started to sprout early in my life, and emotions that I get to acknowledge and turn over if need be, and accept that I'm powerless over these, too, rather than trying to fix them like I started trying to do maybe around the time I started drinking.  My sponsor suggested seeking healthy, platonic relationships with women in AA, and it seems like more synchronicity that my old timer friend Lisa S, when I told her I was going to therapy, said "you go, baby!"  Everything within me is acceptable to the God of my understanding, who maybe made me to be every way that I've ever been and ever will be; I don't know.  Grateful for great company like yours on this great journey of recovery!

alan Sunday, 17 June 2018 8:38 am
Alan alcoholic
Yesterday I played at a funeral for a 90 year old lady I very much liked, respected and admired. The accompanist comes from Colorado every year to spend the summer in France and she's a divine player. Her virtuosity as a reader and musician is without question but she also has qualities over and above such as complete attention, beautiful observation of musical nuance, telepathy and anticipation as she communicates whilst faithfully and humbly following the solo violin part as I played the Ave Maria by Gounoud.
Today I was rerunning this in my head and I suddenly thought about respect for women and how I'm acquiring so much more thanks to the help from this step.
One of my big shortcomings and defects, whetever the cause might be, is lack of respect of women or I should say the "ability" to respect them because, although I've tried enough to make amends for my part in the bad relationship I had with my mother, my efforts fall short when they meet certain obstacles.
God needs my help in surmounting obstacles and He is call me to do just that in this fifth step and being "entirely ready" means admitting that there are things I need to make an effort over and actually do something about them.
He spoke to me this morning about yesterday's playing experience and I could see how it was tied to the respect of these two women: the dear departed old friend and the elderly lady who was such an amazing accompanist. They both helped me to clear the way and God's voice did the rest: All I felt then was love.

alan Thursday, 14 June 2018 5:22 pm
Alan alcoholic
Thanks Chad, not only for your continued service helping me to stay sober but for shining the light on the path to tread as I work through the steps.
I love the Yellowstone Park story, it makes me think that my character defects can be replaced by something else; as the flowers grew in place of the ashes fear can be replaced with faith and much much more.
It's given me the opportunity to think creatively about STEP SIX, I'll keep this short right now but will soon be back.

Chad Thursday, 14 June 2018 5:53 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair for the rest of June, and maybe it's the GoMU working that I couldn't log in to the chair's section to change the topic--the whole Step was part of the discussion at my home group earlier, and there's plenty that it helps me to share about just on that!  A couple of friends sober longer than me were sitting at the same table, and shared--one, Denny, about how it's helped him to pray to have the benefit of a defect removed.  That helped me to try praying silently there in the meeting.  The other one, Charlie, shared, maybe about Step 6, 7, or both, a story that he went with someone to Yellowstone national park, to a section that had been burnt, expecting to see burned ground.  Instead, he saw an amazing display of wildflowers that had grown out of the ashes, with no trace of those ashes anymore--all flowers.  Maybe that's what I start getting a glimpse of when I become entirely ready, or as close as I can humanly get, to having the God of my understanding remove my defects of character.  

Also, it came to me when I was talking to my sponsor after the meeting that I heard a talk by Paul O, who wrote "Acceptance Was the Answer" in the Big Book, and he said something like "my book says I'm powerless over my defects."  

Just remembering now, an old timer friend of mine here quoting Don M, another wonderful member who lives maybe 2 hours away (and whose house i hope to go to for a meeting soon), talking about wearing the defects that haven't been removed like a comfortable pair of shoes.  Maybe that fits with being entirely ready for me, too.

Either way (and this came to me to share in the meeting, maybe because I needed to hear it), I remember being maybe 5 years old and having such a painful drive to fix myself, to cast out this overwhelming load of sin I felt I had in me, and when I came to AA I feared it meant returning to being that kid, which had maybe nearly killed me already.  Instead, a guy, Chuck, said at my first home group, "you are incapable of change," and it hit me that, okay, this is the place for me.  

Recently, I heard that in a talk by Bob W that I believe is on youtube, from 1984.  He said he believes we only have one choice in life--to let God change us.  Which, I now realize, sounds a lot like Step 6 to this alcoholic!

Grateful for your part in my sobriety today!

Chad Monday, 11 June 2018 8:46 am
Chad, alcoholic.  Grateful for the chance to chair last month!  If there are no volunteers to chair this month, I'm happy to do it.  On Step 6, it seems like the God of my understanding has been showing me these things in myself lately that may be defects, or connected to defects, I have:

--not asking for help unless I absolutely am desperate for it, and the minimum then
--trying to say things, maybe in meetings and elsewhere, for maximum recognition/self-importance, rather than to be of maximum service
--trying to be who people will need, rather than the me the God of my understanding wants me to be
--hiding from my heart and other wonderful parts of reality in my mind
--the more I need to talk about it with the right person and the God of my understanding (and myself, maybe), the less likely I am to--it's like I skim some to share off the top of whatever's going on, and the turmoil bubbles on below
--(earlier, this one was in a dream I had, and it might be true) self-sabotaging so I don't end up with a wife, house, kids, car, career, and/or other trappings of adulthood

Grateful that these are what's going on with me today, not coming to after blackouts in which I might have killed people by driving drunk, or the other horrors I couldn't stop happening during the hell decade of my drinking and drugging.  

Show you care with a share!

alan Friday, 1 June 2018 9:54 am
Alan alcoholic.
We are now on Step Six, it'll show a bit later today when western time catches us up!
I want to thank Chad SOOO much for his service as chair during May and ask if there is anyone out there willing to take the service in June. It's helped me on numerous points with working the steps and I'm all ears for more of the same!
There's not much to do really other than share on the step once in a while.
Just rounding off on Step Five, It's recently been mentioned here that a lot of our guilty secrets weren't so bad as we thought when once we brought them out into the light before God and another human being. I think this is really good to know for those who hesitate through worrying that they may be Rasputin reincarnated!
When the sharing is about recovery the whole horizon seems to light up for me, thanks to AA for the miracle of my sobriety!.

alan Friday, 25 May 2018 9:56 am
Alan alcoholic.
Thanks for the shares helping me to think more and stay sober.
I seem to have a lot of questions in my mind at the moment and one of them is "why can't there be better communication between humans?" I bring this up because I was thinking that Step Five is about communicating with God and another human being and the difficulty seems for me to be the latter. The main problem seems to be the lack of candidates either for sponsoring others or as recipients of the 5th step whic is, in a way, a form of confessional.
Of course in online AA it's different without a flesh and blood fellow alcoholic in front of me although I'd have thought that somebody, by now, would have worked out how to turn the marvellous advantages of online (no distance restrictions other than time zones) better to help the alcoholics who are isolated, ex-pats or what are commonly referred to as "loners". I remember from my Paris AA days that it wasn't all that easy to find a sponsor but online seems incredibly difficult although logically all the technology has so many inherent advantages.
Communication seems to have been warped somewhere along the way, as if it wasn't always a knotty question, but today's rush into hi tech adventures where the formerly unthinkable has become commonplace. Social media seems to be destroying something in society and it's difficult to even emagine what kind of legislation and shift in social attitudes can even begin to fix the problem.
On the face of it, using such tools as Skype, Zoom or other audio and video means, it should be easy to do something like a fifth step online in front of another human being but the truth is otherwise. I think the tools have somehow outdistanced their purpose, lost their way and are now, far from bringing people together, actually pushing them apart. I'd like to try harder with this website but are people too busy pushing buttons to actually help other alcoholics online?
Please! nobody take offence at my share! or feel got at, this is just me airing a personal dilemma and perhaps just me asking for guidance. I do sincerely thank those who so generously help online, including on this website, giving their time through sharing or service to others.

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.

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