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Fifth Step for this Dummy

Posted 02-08-2013 at 01:47 PM by wiscsober
Updated 02-09-2013 at 06:43 AM by wiscsober (wrong cite)

Some men go crazy. Some men believe in ghosts. Most men are alone in the dark. -- I Pet What Drives Me Crazy -- G.B. Anderson


Until you've been beside a man
You don't know what he wants
You don't know if he cries at night
You don't know if he don't
When nothin comes easy
Old nightmares are real
Until you' ve been beside a man
You don't know how he feels
-- Shame On The Moon -- Rodney Crowell


Really it is common sense.

I havenít been privileged to hear another AA/NA memberís fifth step. I am alright with that. I havenít pursued the matter. I would if asked. Since attending Al-Anon I am acutely aware the importance of personal boundaries, barriers, faith replacing worry, and calm replacing anxiety. I think a person who hears a fifth step should have a firm understanding of these areas. The fifth step is a huge step, one that requires and taxes enormous amounts of mental, spiritual, and physical energies.

My fifth step was completed in three stages. I shared 90% with an AA member who sponsored me just for the 4th and 5th steps, 9% I confessed to a priest -- as an agnostic I saw no problems arising from this, and the 1% I admitted to the sober spirit that resides in me. Of course writing what the percentages were is absurd but you get my drift.

My sponsor and I came to a mutual agreement what I would share with him. I think people really need to understand any legal ramifications that might occur by admitting such things to an AA member versus a minister or a therapist. Or any possible legal problems at all by admitting them to anyone. I think for some it is best to go it alone, or come to peace with their maker.

Get off soapbox here


Of great interest and great importance to 12 step members is this article: The Futile Fifth Step: Compulsory Disclosure of Confidential Communications Among Alcoholics Anonymous Members

It can be found here: http://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/c...text=lawreview

and concerns court rulings about AA members admitting to other AA members of several murders, a bit of it reads, "...The courts, however, refused to find a confidential communications privilege for conversations between AA members. ..."

I came up with some guidelines that I would tell someone if they chose me to hear their fifth.

If you havenít done the prison time I donít want to hear about it.
If you are a murderer on the loose, please donít tell me.
If you are actively carrying out criminal actions donít tell me.
If you are physically or sexually abusing minor children I do not want to know.
I donít want to hear anything that might put me in court on a witness stand. I will not put my family or myself in a situation that might cause harm to us.


Seek out a priest or minister from one of the many religions for the excruciating stuff. Share some with a therapist.

Donít drop the bomb at the end of the fifth with no time left to talk about it.

A good portion of my fourth and fifth had already been admitted one way or the other by the time I did it ďofficially.Ē It was so complete I felt like a new man; going in to the eighth and ninth steps I think I was truly changed and ready to make sincere amends with restitution.

I guess I could help listening to parts of a fifth step, but more inclined to defer to someone else.

The best things my sponsor did was to have truly listened, kept awake, nodded, smiled, groaned and grunted when appropriate, and never made judgmental or demeaning remarks. Now and then he said ďhe could relateĒ, or ďthatís a new oneĒ. But, he didnít give advice. Just listened. For him I am forever grateful.

Same with the priest. Out of respect to him I made sure he knew I was agnostic and didnít need absolution. Just being a man of the cloth didn't require him to meet with me.

I am grateful to the members in meetings, for I leaked out many details over the years. I am grateful for my sober spirit who canít help but listen.
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