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Big Book Study - Post #23

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  • Jim K.
    Good Morning, everyone! We are at page 72 - Chapter 6 Into Action - and we re about to embark on our discussion of the 5th Step! Having made our personal
    Message 1 of 82 , May 3, 2004
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      Good Morning, everyone!

      We are at page 72 - Chapter 6 "Into Action" - and we're about to
      embark on our discussion of the 5th Step!

      "Having made our personal inventory, what shall we do about it? We
      have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our
      Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path." Let's pause
      here to ask ourselves what these obstacles are.

      Looking at our 4th Step, last column, we discover that our defects
      are what stand between us and The Man Upstairs. "This requires
      action on our part, which, when completed, will mean that we have
      admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact
      nature of our DEFECTS." Didn't they mean "wrongs"? Reading through
      the book we see that Bill tries not to repeat himself - something he
      learned in school about writing. When he speaks of "defects of
      character," "shortcomings," and "wrongs," he means the same thing.

      We are about to begin Step 5 and it is important to note the mindset
      of it. A former sponsor of mine would say to me how important it was
      to "Live my life as an open book." I had no idea what the man was
      talking about. Step 5 is the first time for most of us to allow
      anyone look into that "book." When we sit down with someone, usually
      a sponsor, and go over Step 5 we are exposing our private selves to
      someone else for the first time. The idea of Step 5 is to begin the
      process of living in an open manner. This is the beginning of the
      end of shame and guilt for these will shut us off from the sunlight
      of the Spirit.

      In paragraph 2 on page 72 we acknowledge that "In actual practice,
      we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient." The book is
      emphatic about including someone else, in addition to God, in the
      process. If we skip this vital step we may drink again. One of the
      things that trips people up is the last sentence in that same
      paragraph: "...until they told someone else ALL their life story."
      Some of us have interpreted that as meaning that we have to write an
      autobiography. Let's look at what is in the book and what was meant.

      First, on the preceding page, we have been told we are on Step 5
      already - our 4th Step inventory is complete. Second, the idea is to
      reinforce the notion that it is a complete disclosure - that
      withholding anything will jeopardize our sobriety. What we expose by
      taking inventory in the manner as described in the previous chapter
      is what makes a difference. Those things that have shut us off from
      the "sunlight of the Spirit" is what is important. Again, the basic
      point of "...ALL their life story" is that we should hold nothing
      back once we begin the 5th Step process.

      Reading through to the top of page 75 we discover one of the few
      places that the basic text is actually dated. Remember, at the time
      this book was originally written, that there were less than 100
      alcoholics sober. It was quite possible not to find someone suitable
      for a Fifth Step. Happily, with over 2 million members, we are most
      likely to find someone within our fellowship to take this vital step
      with.

      Tomorrow we will start at the first paragraph on page 75 and a
      thorough discussion of Step 5.

      Have a great day! And Thanks! to "Honey" for helping out on Friday!

      Jim
    • Jim K
      ***Because I ll be traveling tomorrow to Alva, Oklahoma our next post will be on Monday 1/26*** Good Morning! We are at page 72 - Chapter 6 Into Action - and
      Message 82 of 82 , Jan 22
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        ***Because I'll be traveling tomorrow to Alva, Oklahoma our next post will be on Monday 1/26*** 

        Good Morning!

        We are at page 72 - Chapter 6 "Into Action" - and we're about to embark on our discussion of the 5th Step!


        "Having made our personal inventory, what shall we do about it? We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path."

        Let's pause here to ask ourselves what these obstacles are. Looking at our 4th Step, last column, we discover that our defects are what stand between us and God. "This requires action on our part, which, when completed, will mean that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our defects." Didn't they mean "wrongs?" Reading through the book we see that Bill tries not to repeat himself, something he learned in school about writing. When he speaks of "defects of character," "shortcomings," and "wrongs," he means the same thing; they are synonymous.
        We are about to begin Step 5 and it is important to note its mindset: living our lives as open books. Step 5 is the first time for most of us to allow anyone look into that "book." When we sit down with someone, usually a sponsor, and go over Step 5 we are exposing our private selves to someone else for the first time. The idea of Step 5 is to begin the process of living in an open manner. This is the beginning of the end of shame and guilt for these will shut us off from the sunlight of the Spirit.

        In paragraph 2 on page 72 we acknowledge that, "In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient." The book is emphatic about including someone else, in addition to God, in the process. If we skip this vital step we may drink again. One of the things that trips people up is the last sentence in that same paragraph: "...until they told someone else ALL their life story."Some of us have interpreted that as meaning that we have to write an autobiography. Let's look at what is in the book and what was meant.

        First, on the preceding page, we have been told we are on Step 5 already, because our 4th Step inventory is complete. Second, the idea is to reinforce the notion that it is a complete disclosure - that withholding anything will jeopardize our sobriety. What we expose by taking inventory in the manner as described in the previous chapter is what makes a difference. Those things that have shut us off from the "sunlight of the Spirit" is what is important. Again, the basic point of "...ALL their life story" is that we should hold nothing back once we begin the 5th Step process.

        Reading through to the top of page 75 we discover one of the few places that the basic text is actually dated. Remember, at the time this book was originally written, that there were fewer than 100 alcoholics sober. It was quite possible not to find someone suitable for a Fifth Step. Happily, with over 2 million members, we are most likely to find someone within our fellowship with whom they may take this vital step.

        In our next post, we will start at the first paragraph on page 75 and a thorough discussion of Step 5.

        Have a great day!

        Jim

        It is better to be loved for what you have given
        than to be admired for what you have gained
         
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