Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12 Basic Instructions for Step 4/5 and 6

1. Choose any one of the four umbrella topics, resentment, anger, fear or me and my sexuality: take for example resentment, but anyone will do.

2. Then simply begin a sentence with “I resent so and so” and don’t take the pen off the page until the thread is complete. Now the subject may seem to change often as the thread unwinds. It may not seem to be connected. Simply write on and on until the proverbial spool is empty, until you are empty. What I discovered as I did this purging on paper was that it often went on for 26 to 30 pages. Then it often took days before I was ready to write again. Not that it was traumatic . . . oddly enough it was not - I was just empty. Of course there were those times when the tears came, and when that happens, just let it happen.

3. In rotation, choosing one of the umbrella topics, and write about you and what happened to you or about those who influenced you from each of the four perspectives, and know that you will probably do so many times before the well is dry. You may have to visit each one many times.

4. It is imperative that you ask for assistance with Step Five.

5. Step Five requires the outside help of another living, breathing human being by its very nature. It is suggested that you find someone whom you can trust, possibly someone who will not be going through the rest of your life with you, like a priest or member of the clergy or your therapist as your helper or listener.

6. It is also suggested that you have someone else, a sponsor, someone who can be there just to bounce things off and to ask questions of when there is a need as you go through the process of developing your Step Four. Both are important.

7. Often as not, there will be things in Step Five that you will feel should never see the light of day, but to cleanse them, it is an absolute must that they be exposed to the light of day. Sometimes it is too difficult to reveal things with a sponsor or therapist. Choose a neutral third party who is well aware of the necessities of Step Five. Someone who, when you have completed your Step Five work, you can walk away from and leave it all behind.

8. The symbolic gestures are just as important as the work of the step. You may find that your Step Five individual may have a ritual or two that he or she suggests to you as follow through for completion of the step. Do them, it is important. There are many who are trained for precisely this function and if need be your therapist or counselor can assist you in setting yourself up with someone appropriate.

9. Take the time to research and come to an understanding of how different aspects of the recovery movement handle a fourth and fifth step. Attend some open AA meetings or some Al-Anon and NA meetings. All conduct what they call open meetings. Phone numbers are available in the yellow pages.

10. As a suggestion, after you have completed the day’s writing or even after you have allowed several days to pass following a session of writing, go back through the writing and pull out who/what happened and look for the patterns and how those patterns affected you both then and now.

11. Look for the legacy that Susan Forward suggests in her book Toxic Parenting, should be there, the ghost monsters and demons of Xmas past.

12. Ask yourself regularly, “What is the legacy?” Look for patterns! Always be looking for, “How am I complicit in my own pain?” and “What patterns have been established that contribute to my pain, my loneliness, etc.”

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