The Importance of Steps Four & Five

Recovery has been a process that moves me ever closer to God. Through selfishness, self-centeredness, resentment, fear, and harms done to others, I built obstacles I could not get over, under or around. I moved farther and farther away from Him. When I went to my first meeting, I found a host of others suffering from the same malady, though I did not know it at the time. I do not remember what they said, but I do remember how I felt when I left. That feeling, and the friendliness of the people there, got me to my second, third and subsequent meetings.

Step One was easy. Steps Two and Three took longer than I would have liked, but I persisted. After several starts and stops, sponsors and numerous friends, I finally took the Step Three decision. Then, I asked my sponsor what I should do next. He looked at me dumbfounded and said simply, “Step Four.”

Here is what I found:

The path between me and God was strewn with obstacles; like broken down cars, boulders, buses, rusted machinery, washing machines, mountains of debris, and barriers of every kind. The problem was that the path was completely black. There was no light at all. I could not see the obstacles.

Through Steps Four and Five I began to shine a light on these obstacles and for the first time in my life I could see what was blocking me from the Sunlight of the Spirit. Some of the obstacles disappeared on their own as part of the Fourth and Fifth Step processes, and I began to feel the nearness of my Creator.

I tried over and over to remove the remaining obstacles but failed every time. I came to see that I could not remove these obstacles (defects/shortcomings) any more than I could my lust. I finally asked God to remove the defects that were keeping me separated from Him, and unable to be of real use to Him and my fellows.

Once I completed my Eighth Step list, I talked about it with my sponsor and we worked out the amends I needed to make. Then he told me to do Steps Nine, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve all at the same time. I gave him a puzzled look and he told me, “None of those Steps is ever completed so they can all be done at the same time.”

There are many promises in our literature, but I believe the greatest promise is in Step Twelve. It promises that I will have a spiritual awakening as THE result of these Steps. The blessings that came to me because of this awakening are too numerous to list, but the paragraph at the bottom of page 106 in the “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” describes things that, I can attest, came true for me.

Bob F., Nebraska, USA

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