5-5-2016 Step 5

UCE Addictions Ministry
May 5 Agenda

Opening Words

Portal of the Future

There exists an opening, a portal,
A portal of the future, hidden somewhere,
Hidden somewhere deep in the world,
The world in which we live,
We live to find that portal,
That portal will take us on a journey,
A journey to our futures,
Our futures which we aspire to learn,
To learn our fate,
Our fate for which we strive,
We strive for love and peace,
Love and peace is our lives,
Our lives in which we choose,
We choose the path,
The path for greatest success.

Welcome

Welcome to the UCE Addictions Ministry Group. We are a group of people who have struggled with our own addictions and the addictions of others. We hope to struggle well together as we work towards finding sanity, peace, love, and healthy relationships in our lives. We will strive to spend our time together in a spirit of love embracing the inherent worth and dignity of all. We accept and respect the varied paths that our members will take to find sanity, peace, love, and healthy relationships. We covenant to be together in a safe, confidential environment where we can explore our paths and our stories.

Our Relational Covenant

Embrace and practice deep listening
We will strive to be respectful of our limited time and try to keep our comments focused on the issues that have brought us here.
Experience the group in a non-judgmental frame of mind.  Build trust within the group.
Confidentiality about specifics shared or discussed is imperative for our success.
We each take full responsibility for what we share or say, recognizing retractions are acceptable as well.
Meetings will always start and end on time.

Topic Step 5

Will talk to another person about our exact nature.

Principles: Trust, Personal Integrity

When we commit to the Fifth Step, we agree to “talk to another person about our exact nature.” We agree to reveal to another human being the things we have found in our Fourth-Step search. This is not something most of us do easily. We would rather pick and choose among the things we tell others – we would rather carefully control the image we show the world. Step 5 requires that we change this. Talking with another person breaks down our emotional and psychological isolation, and we stop anxiously hiding our secrets. Working a Fifth Step is a safe way to allow our internal and external worlds to meet.

Most of us are afraid that if someone really knows who we are, they won’t like us, they’ll turn away. Step 5 teaches us this doesn’t have to be true. Another human being can actually know all about us and still accept us. When our guide hears about our “bad” behavior and our “awful” thoughts and doesn’t judge us, our shame lessens and its power fades. We no longer have to hide, protecting our secrets and problems. A guide’s non-judgmental feedback helps us break through denial and decreases the probability of self-deception and helps us examine our values and explore new options. Finally we listen to our guides, really hear what they say and then have to confront our mental backtalk that instantly contradicts the good things others tell us about ourselves.

Our guides are important and we must choose them with care. A therapist, AA sponsor, spiritual advisor, physician – any of these will do. The only criteria are that the person . . .

  1. Must have true objectivity (which rules out family, friends or anyone with whom we have or might have a social history)
  2. Understand the Fifth Step, its purpose and his or her role in it
  3. Be trustworthy
  4. Know how to listen with non-judgmental respect.

Fifth Steps happen in many different ways. They can be emotional, mental or spiritual exercises. A Fifth Step can be liberating or seem to make little difference. It might have an immediate emotional or physical impact or have a delayed effect. The crucial thing about this Step is that we can do it and actually come out with our trust intact – we can trust ourself with another human being.

The way we do Fifth Steps will probably change as we become more comfortable with ourselves and with others. Early Fifth Steps are apt to be formal. We select a specific time to do the work with a chosen person. We may do this once or several times. As time passes and we become familiar with the process, we find that working this Step changes. It becomes increasingly informal and we do lots of “mini” Fifth Steps.

Our criteria for the people we choose as guides change, too. We may discuss a particular vulnerability with a spouse or trusted friend. We may tell a group of people about a particularly courageous thing we did. We never strip ourselves bare for the world to examine, but we discriminate, choose appropriate situations and talk. We have learned to identify with others and let them identify with us. With relief and joy, we have joined the human race.

Step 5 is a way station. It’s a place to off-load painful memories that haunt and hurt, to leave behind things that hinder, hamper or slow our journey. It’s a place to repack other things that will make our lives safer, richer, happier and more productive. Its a place to pick up a ticket to our potential. Our guide helps us be certain that, as we shake out and repack our helpful things, hurtful feelings and troublesome behaviors don’t hide in the creases. We get back on the train and carry on with our journey, lighter and more free.

Will talk to another person about our exact nature.

Today I will make an open and unpretending connection with another person, being faithful to myself in the process.

This is a chapter from the pioneering book: The Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery.

 

Closing Words

We Need One Another

We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted.

We need one another when we are in trouble and afraid.

We need one another when we are in despair, in temptation, and need to be recalled to our best selves again.

We need one another when we would accomplish some great purpose, and could not do it alone.

We need one another in the hour of success, when we look for someone to share our triumphs.

We need one another in the hour of defeat, when with encouragement we might endure, and stand again.

We need one another when we come to die, and would have gentle hands prepare us for the journey.

All our lives we are in need, and others are in need of us

by George Odell

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