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Big Book 12 Steps (RIP Denis Johnson IV )

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They saved the sex conduct part of the 4th Step for last in the Big Book 12 Step format. Probably good reason for that. It said we probably all have sex problems? Go ahead and treat sex as we would any other problem. I couldn't have done this if it came before looking at myself in my resentments or the "fear" part of my 4th Step. I would have questioned what sex has to do with alcoholism? Or anything really?

I'm not going in there? I don't want to see anything buried in there? It doesn't haunt me if I can just stay distracted. Keep the focus on everybody else and their sexual flaws so I never have to see mine. It's just more "I'm bad". I'm bad so my sex conduct is bad. I had my ignorance covered in a thick coat of dysfunction. Self delusion. Everything I didn't know or understand about sex was kept under wraps. Secrets I kept from myself.  Strings attached to everything, I was always loosing control of it all, again mortified at the memory. It would come out in my self centered attitude, my effort to condemn in others what I hid from myself in hopes of overcoming it. This is where I first began to see myself wanting others to pay for how I felt about myself. I'd probably give this a 9 in the inner turmoil scale. It was pretty much always there lurking as a kind of unresolved issue to be kept under wraps. I justified myself with character assassination. Just look at all these moral lepers everywhere. I'm just a selfish alcoholic. I must surely be forgiven. It's everybody else.


It was all me now.. The constant fear and tension.  Keeping secrets from myself? Guilt and shame I would remember to forget over and over.. Yes, me. I kept it there, I could not let it go. Reminding myself I am nothing, I will never be anything. No one had to tell me anymore, I believed it. People could not convince me otherwise. Again I saw myself beyond human aid.


So...5th Step. Sex conduct part. My sponsor is here and the books are open on the table. We've been at this for five nights straight. I am changing. We pray and I begin reading, surrendering myself to my God and humbling myself before another human, my spiritual advisor. Once again, willing to let my God know what I now know..

The first few Steps were a mess. I am not surprised. But now? The more I read my 5th? The more I am willing to surrender? Things are calming down. I am seeing myself and no longer afraid really. I want to keep going. I can feel the power of freedom, and am not afraid of the unknown. I am beginning to make sense. It's becoming clear I am not controlling my destiny. I am constantly praying for direction, for the right thought or action.

There is a fire in the fireplace everyday. I am taking care of myself. I seem to care enough about myself to care for myself. This is new. This isn't my usual stage show. My usual greeting and warm up followed by, how do you like me so far? The whole like me so I can like myself thing seems to be slipping away. It's being replaced by what? I can't really pin point but... I believe it is my God and I like it. Is this what courage feels like? I'm ready.


I have a list of my sex conduct over years past. There are many. I feel sick. I again ask for guidance from my Higher Power. Next to each name are the questions answered in the Big Book 12 Step directions.  


 SELFISH: I wanted sex.  She was a safe place to be.

DISHONEST:   Hippie style drew me to her. I had no idea what I was doing and was completely dishonest with myself therefore, dishonest with her..

INCONSIDERATE:   I came and went as I pleased always looking for the next best thing. By the time she was pregnant? I had stopped coming around.

WHOM HAD WE HURT:  Eachother with my conduct.

JEALOUSY: I was never accountable, always aloof.

SUSPISION:   I would disappear for long periods..  Always acting unaffected by emotion.

BITTERNESS:  I thought sex was everything. Sex meant you had a relationship. Sex was love.

WHERE WERE WE AT FAULT:   I wasn't capable of caring for myself. Emotionally detached.


 I had seen plenty by now. All these notebooks full of my flaws. I could see my self-will as the creator of my Spiritual malady. It was me who chose to deny God and the power of the Spirit. In my denial the power of my fear and selfishness flourished. The selfish survivor. When I was in control I wanted everything. I fought for everything. I stole my self esteem from others. Manipulated others emotional security for myself.


Could I change? Well I did have the answers I needed. The facts were in and there really was no denying any of it.. I had seen myself as I truly was. My God had brought me this far? Step 1, I had put the booze down. The Step 2 willingness, the Step 3 decision. The praying to pick up the pen in my Step 4, The willingness to let my God know that I know my flaws in my Step 5. Could the realm of the Spirit accept me? All of me? Is my willingness strong enough to let my God have all of me good and bad in Steps 6 and 7? I took the hour of reflection as suggested in the Big Book Step 6.. I was at peace. I had been thorough. I had written down a lot, swallowed and digested some heavy truth about myself. Am I now ready to have my God take it? All of it? Yeah. I am ready. I am ready for the Step 7 prayer.


On my knees I surrendered myself.

God I am willing that you should have all of me good and bad

Take from me all the things I have admitted objectionable

Give me strength to go from here to serve you and my fellows.


I slept good. I woke to a new day. A new beginning. I was feeling a new freedom and new happiness I had only believed applied to others. I felt a part of life as if I now had purpose. The next day I was ready to look at Step 8. It was time to clean up my mess. I was willing. Willingness was as they said in the beginning, indispensable.








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