Recently I heard this from another fellow traveler on the recovery road:
Take a fifth with you on the 4th and you won’t go forth on the 5th.
Ha ha, I can actually physically hear the laughter from recovery people in response to this
tongue-twister. To those who don’t know anything about the twelve steps of recovery, I will give you some needed background on why this is funny.
STEP FOUR: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
In step FOUR, we get down to business and make friends with the truth.
We look deeply into our past including resentments, fears and shortcomings. It is about “owning” our transgressions. It’s about not holding back and finally seeing our part in any interaction we had or will have with others.We need to be thorough in this step in
writing everything down. Everything. Stuff we thought we would carry to our grave.
STEP FIVE: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being
the exact nature of our wrongs.
In step FIVE, we release it all and it becomes the first tangible evidence of our recovery.
Honestly writing our 4th step and sharing with another human being (5th step), helps us let go of any guilt or upset we are carrying into the future with us. We learn that we are bigger than our mistakes. We now move forward, trusting ourselves once again.
Many have relapsed over these two steps because of the weight we put on it. We make it bigger than it is. We make it bigger than we need to. That's why that tongue-twister is funny.
When we train ourselves that this process of writing the truth, owning it and telling it to another human—lessens the bigness of it. We get to incorporate this behavior into our daily lives. We don’t have to relapse over this.
So—I suggest you go forth on your 5th(step) without the fifth. If I can do it, you can too.
I am forever changed because of it.
Get writing (4th Step)
Tell the truth (5th Step)
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”