I was thinking back about telling the truth, in life. Times when I had told the truth and what I believed that eventually became lies without the support of others.. Like, "I'll never do that again" for instance. How I believed in myself for that short while, self reliance was good as far as it went as the Book says. How one philosophy is "the truth will set you free" or honesty is the best policy. Then there are the times when I out right lied to myself and others. This led in time to telling the truth but no one would believe me. Even how in my extreme insecure emotional state I believed my lies to boost my self esteem.. Like, I remember taking a Corvette for a test ride once when I was young, maybe 18ish. In the test drive time I had behind the wheel I had enough information on a 76 Corvette to believe I had one, a blue one actually, T-tops with a four speed. Eh..When I lived in California, that's why nobody on the east coast knew. Lies.. Lies and more lies. I was whatever I thought you wanted me to be, whatever I thought I should be to impress, gain support, control. How do you like me so far? Let me tell you what I think you want to hear or assume you would say. It got so I couldn't tell the truth, I didn't know what it was. Besides, with a history like mine living with such low self esteem it didn't much matter what I said, the outcome was predetermined. Truth? lies? I jockeyed for position no matter what was said. Nobody can hear me anyway. It's like I'm talking on a different wavelength. A walking infomercial, a commentator. Problem is I am trying to carry on intellectual conversations with only my emotions to guide me. I am talking at people. What you think of me is more important than what you say to me. In my extensive 4th Step I have seen myself as the worshipper of people that I am, the user.
Step 5 is in a way telling on myself? Letting my God know that I know? Being honest with another human? A witness? well, yeah. This is my experience. I can't speak for those who follow the order of their Religion, confession or the like. I have no experience there, that is your business. I am also not speaking of admitting your faults to a counselor or therapist or other professional authority. I have not done that and have no experience there. I am following the Big Book 12 Step directions. I am searching for a Spiritual advisor who will keep a confidence and not try to alter my 12 Step path. For me that person is my Sponsor, a phone call away waiting.. He is actually my Spiritual Advisor. The word Sponsor is commonplace and I use it freely but in truth? If a Sponsor at all he is a Big Book 12 Step sponsor..He is the one who helped my with my search for Spiritual willingness in Step 2. He reviewed the 3rd Step idea with me until I was clear on my purpose and made my decision. He suggested using my 3rd Step prayer when I wrote in my 4th. Suggested I pray for Spiritual guidance, let my Higher Power to put the pen to the paper. When I would call him all whacked out with people places and things in my way he would suggest I ask for help first before I say anything. He has advised me well. So here I am at Step 5, why would this be any different. He is my trusted friend. He understands what I'm doing here, he himself had done a 5th Step before me. I'm not an AA guinea pig, sober lab rat, I am into the Book, not what he thinks or his newest brilliant Big Book rewrite suggests. I am ready.
So I have a written inventory and am prepared for a long talk like the Book says. Actually, I have a pile of notebooks. I have four (resentment) notebooks, a (fear)notebook, two (sex conduct) notebooks. I did what it said to do to the best of my ability. I prayed and got it all down on paper and looked at it like it said to do.A fearless and thorough moral inventory of myself. It was " fearless" because I prayed for courage and strength and "thorough " because I asked for help until I had nothing left to write, "moral" because it was my character, inventory. The likes of which I had never attempted or imagined for that matter. My Sponsor and I decide to not waste time like it says in the Book and begin the next night. He showed up at about 5. I was nervous as I heard the familiar plow frame rattle from his truck bouncing up my driveway. I remember being in a kind of fog really. By the end of my 4th I'd been writing for days, all day into the night. My finger had a bleeding blister from holding the pen. The house was still more or less like a bunker. Weird, I did notice I hadn't had the TV on for a while, maybe days? I also had felt good enough about myself to cook myself some decent food too. Just days before it seemed I couldn't be alone without some kind of noise or distraction from myself. It seemed as if It was ok to be alone. Like what I was now doing was more important than obsessing over my life's failings. I was beginning to get the picture here, when I let my mind wander ungoverned into fear and selfishness I'm the one that gets the beating. Maybe I didn't have to treat myself that way? Like the "better way" described in the fear part of the 4th. I would begin to care for myself? Willing to pray for direction? I still could not understand how this was all happening by writing down a bunch of crap. I didn't understand the Spiritual realm of things I had begun to tap in to. I was basically just reading and writing, following directions and things were changing, just like the Book said they would.
The Book said we explain to our partner ( in my case Spiritual Advisor) what we are about to do. He already knew but this wasn't about him so I said I am willing to surrender myself, my past flawed conduct, to my God and would use him as my witness. He said a prayer about keeping a confidence which I thought was cool, we were on the same page, the Spiritual path. Then we got down to it. It started out slow. I had one notebook of resentments opened to my left and the other looking at myself on the right. They were numbered so I read right across like, I'm resentful at Ray, then what the resentment was, then what was affected in me. Pretty much pointing the finger, usually feeling myself justified in my anger and resentment. Then to the next notebook on my right, the same number Ray. Where was I at fault, where was I selfish dishonest, self seeking and afraid. What was my part in it. Over and over I read this stuff. I'm resentful at so and so. then where I was at fault. After a few hundred of these it not to difficult to understand how I treat myself like crap. It's not them, it's me. It says we would straighten out the past if we could. Yes, I would if I could, maybe I can? I treated these people horribly. I was atleast willing to humble myself, to accept some responsibility for my conduct even if half of it was only in my head. Damn, these resentments owned me. People I was convinced were against me if not out to get me. I understood why the Book said they had the power to kill, they certainly were destroying me. I was destroying me. Why I could never see this before I didn't know. We'd been getting together for a few days straight at this point. He shows up at about 5, we get down to it till maybe midnight. Now as I wrap up my resentments I am ready for fears. I get out the fears notebook and we again pray and I read. My list of over a hundred fears. Why I had each one, where self reliance failed me each time, where I was cocky, what is the better way? How I am willing to trust and rely on my God. Man I was full if fear. Fear dominated me, self centered fear. Everybody was everything and I was nothing, over and over. I had no self worth, no courage or strength, I basically relied on others for everything yet I myself selfishly took credit for it. No wonder I drank like I did. No wonder I would do anything to shut this thinking off..
Yikes, now the sex conduct notebooks. I'll tell you there's probably a good reason this is last. I needed to be as Spiritually willing as possible to start spewing this selfish garbage. The name, then answer the nine questions, where was I selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate, where did I arouse jealousy, suspicion, bitterness, who did I hurt, what should I have done instead...I was only concerned with getting my own needs met. I didn't know how to care about anyone but myself, this was absolutely clear at this point. Even at my best I was the producer of confusion. Man did I emotionally hurt people. What an awful way to live, everyday, self will run riot yet I think I'm doing my best. I can't understand why life isn't treating me right. An extreme example of selfishness and fear. Day after day, one emotional hostage after another I hope will finally save me, fix me, be my mommy and I'll be the daddy, make my pain go away.
I finally got it all out of me. Even the weird stuff I hoped would never see the light of day. It was all there on paper. All the shame and guilt, all the fear. I said a prayer on my knees, I prayed that my God take me to better things. I felt closer to my God like I was exposed, no more lies, no more secrets. Well it had been about a week of reading this stuff to my Sponsor and my God. I was ready to look at Step 6 for the hour suggested after my Sponsor left. I sat there reviewing the first 5 proposals and couldn't help but notice I had a nice warm fire in the fireplace. The shades were up and I didn't care. The kitchen had somehow been cleaned and laundry was done with fresh towels in the bathroom. Something had happened to me, I had stopped smoking cigarettes? I was a butt fiend just days ago and now I don't smoke? I was baffled. I remembered a few days ago being so messed up in my head that I surrendered them like some kind of sacrifice to God but hadn't realized I had actually quit. I sat there amazed at this great effect. I didn't even want a smoke? I wasn't sure, did I see that the smokes were killing me? This is all new. It's like I had begun to take care of myself, just me I mean. I would enjoy a nice fire so I lit one for myself. I would like a clean house so I cleaned it. Me, I was doing this for me. I was outgrowing my addiction to people. I was becoming a free man. The psychic change sufficient to overcome alcoholism I had heard of but never seen. I had solved the drink problem for one day, one long and full day.
I am ready for Steps 6 and 7.