Step Five. Sponsor's role?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby leng12 » Tue May 10, 2016 3:14 pm

Hi. My Sponsor wants to do at least one all day session on this. I believe this is a mistake. Sessions with my therapist last one hour for a reason. I'm worried about having a mental 'snap' doing any lengthy work. Also, what can a non-qualified person help me with? I can see him doing more harm than good. I'm still hyper - sensitive regarding criticism. He'll be reading/hearing things that need context explained. Already had heated words with him over page 62.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Stepchild » Tue May 10, 2016 3:43 pm

I know when I came into AA I had some serious trust issues. Basically....I was loaded with fear...Through and through. I did a lot of praying on this....And I hadn't prayed in 30 years. At some point I had to start having a little trust...Not only in God...what I understand God to be....But also in the person that was putting in his time to help me. I had to face it....My way didn't work. His way obviously did.
I met my sponsor in a park...We sat a picnic table next to a lake on a beautiful day and I brought my fourth step and my book. And we talked for a couple hours....He shared his story as we went over mine.....It was beautiful. I knew when it was done that this process would work for me...I could feel it.....And it did.
Sometimes it just takes a little trust Leng12...Nothing more.

How are you doing with your fourth step?

We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.
Page 65

We need to do these in order.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue May 10, 2016 4:45 pm

From AA's Daily Reflections, May 7:

"....When I take the Fifth Step it's wiser to choose a person with whom I share common aims because if that person does not understand me, my spiritual progress may be delayed and I could be in danger of a relapse. So I ask for divine guidance before choosing the man or woman whom I take into my confidence...."

If you haven't already, my suggestion is that you ask your higher power for guidance on this issue. If you have already done this, and your gut is telling not to take your 5th Step with this sponsor, I'd suggest you listen to your gut.

Our BB says we can do our 5th with anyone we choose--an AA member, priest, pastor, therapist, etc. I did my first 5th Step with an AA member (took about two hours), but I generally prefer to do my annual 5th Steps (50,000 mile check-ups) with a clinical psychologist in a one hour session because I want objective feedback from a qualified professional.
That's what worked for me.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue May 10, 2016 6:20 pm

I've heard of people taking all day on their 5th steps. I think that s overkill.
My longest talk was 3 hours.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed May 11, 2016 3:34 am

Also, what can a non-qualified person help me with?

Although I agree with you about the duration of the fifth step session, it doesn't have to be a day long process. People who don't understand the process think that they have to hear the whole story.

But having said that, you have a very closed mind about this process. There are some good eggs in the fellowship who could help you where these counsellors couldn't help. First of all I don't think even the medical community that understands alcoholism. I sponsor a doctor for crying out loud. I know you have issues around selfishness and self-centeredness. If you don't overcome those, you are bound to drink again. And thats what the sponsors role is. To help you drop those root patterns and accept the way things are and lead a peaceful life. Somewhere down the inventory process the book states "grouch and brainstorms are dubious luxury of normal men". And when you have brain freeze you will be shut off from the sunlight of the spirit. Boom the blank spot, then the first drink and the vicious cycle.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Stepchild » Wed May 11, 2016 4:06 am

I did respond to your post yesterday but it looks like you started another one...So I'll try again.
(Moderators note – There were in fact two threads with the same topic, they have been merged, Stepchild's original post now appears as the first response).

Also, what can a non-qualified person help me with?

That's one way you can look at them...My experience has been more along the lines of what the founders talk about in the book...

This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail.
Page 89

We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.
Page 132

That sounds more than qualified to me. How long does this step take? I haven't run into anyone that spent an entire day on it...I'm sure some have. What does the book say?

When we decide who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk.

Page 75

You have to remember this guy isn't on the clock with you...You aren't being charged. He's doing this on his own time...To help you. It's pretty selfless when you think about it.

And most importantly...Why do we take this step?

We will be more reconciled to discussing ourselves with another person when we see good reasons why we should do so. The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.
Pages 72-73
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Noels » Wed May 11, 2016 9:45 am

Hi my old group also suggested starting early and keeping the entire day out for step 5. That was just for incase there was many issues to discuss so that neither the sponsor or sponsee had to leave halfway through. To ensure there was sufficient time in case it took longer than anticipated. Also after step 5 it is suggested to take an hour or so to reflect. Obviously if the process is finished in 3 hours both the sponsor and sponsee go their separate ways :?

Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Larryp713 » Wed May 11, 2016 10:09 am

Your sponsor is probably doing it the way he did it with his sponsor. I don't know if that is right or wrong. My sponsors did not have such guidelines, but I wanted to get the 5th step done so I plowed through. It took about three hours both times I did it, and when I did a 5th step with a sponsee, it took about two hours but we had already talked about some of his major resentments.

My sponsors are just recovered alcoholics willing to share with me what worked for them. They are not professional therapists. When my expectations go beyond who they are and what they are offering, I am setting myself up for disappointment.

Pray about it and you will (hopefully) intuitively know with whom to share your 5th step. I tell my sponsees this is their 5th step, and if they feel they should share that with somebody else, I will support it. If we don't get through it in one session, we'll schedule another. Whatever you do, I think it is great that you are working the program and wish you all the best! Larry
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Brock » Wed May 11, 2016 12:08 pm

I agree with those who say the time looks a little long, the only time I used a sponsor was for this step and he also said one day, even bought his own lunch with him because he was on a special diet, I was better prepared with stuff written out than he expected, and it only took about two hours.
I'm still hyper - sensitive regarding criticism. He'll be reading/hearing things that need context explained.

Nobody has answered this so I will have a go. Firstly I believe he is not there to criticize, and has no right to do so, also rather than him reading, the way I expect this to be done is that the written stuff is for you only, just guidelines to jog your memory about crap you may have done. Not sure if the context is any of his business either, I was drunk I cuffed mother Teresa or stoned the Pope whatever, I am sorry and will put them on a list to make amends to.

One of the popular speakers I think it was Clancy, has a tape in which he speaks of the way he does this step. He says he sometimes goes to a meeting about one and a half hours drive away from his home, he takes the person with him and on the drive home he hears the step, so he couldn't be reading anything while driving. He says words to the effect that he tells the person something like, if you have a story about having sex with a goat warn me first, in case I get bored and fall asleep while driving. This is a first class example of putting someone at ease, so they will know we aren't there to judge, and have heard all sorts of crazy stuff.

Others have mentioned that this fellow is going out of his way to help you, while this is true keep in mind that you are helping him as well. My opinion and experience is in this step as in many things we don't want to do, we imagine all sorts of scenarios, what if he says this or that, or pees his pants all sorts of crazy thoughts, then we do it and smile after because none of the bad stuff we prepared for happens, trust the process say a prayer before and during if you need to, it really won't be a big deal and you may well find the results worthwhile.

Lastly, a couple of contributors have spoken about doing this step more than once, one even said every year. We have had topics about this here already, and while it was agreed that everyone can work the program however it works for them, there is nothing in the literature to support doing it more than once, and the books actually indicate that we don't do it more than once. Maybe it was said to put our fellow leng here at ease, sort of I do it every year so it can't be that bad, but this can have the opposite effect on newer people. Some of us here even have to keep reminding the newer ones, that after doing the steps going to meetings several days a week is unnecessary, because some 'meeting makers make it' type of members keep indicating that it is. This program was frighting to me at first, and many others report the same experience, the idea of doing these steps more than once, or attending meetings like a robot for life, would have me heading for the hills.

Best of luck with this step leng, I guarantee it's not that hard and you will find you have been over-thinking it.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby tyg » Wed May 11, 2016 12:39 pm

Hi leng12...welcome to the forum. I look forward to reading more of you.

It is normal to balk at this Step but if we skip this vital step we may not overcome drinking.
By now you should have turned your will & life over to the care of God as You understand God. So, pray for honesty, courage, willingness, open mindedness. Ask God to show you why the resistance and give you courage to get this Step done and ability to move on.

Remember, we don't have to do our 5th Step with another alcoholic as long as this Step is thoroughly done. However, doing it with another alcoholic will have definite advantages.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby leng12 » Thu May 12, 2016 8:28 am

Hi. I notice the other thread is now locked. (Probably for the best!). To clarify, I didn't say I wasn't selfish. Just that I'm easily one of the least selfish people I know. Lali, I don't blame anyone. I'm now dealing with what happened.

Thank you all for the comments on Five. What I have to go through won't take long. He's obviously comparing what he went through and expecting I need to do the same. I'm having difficulty writing this down. Keeping at it, though, and will ready for our sit-down.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Stepchild » Thu May 12, 2016 9:00 am

leng12 wrote: I'm having difficulty writing this down. Keeping at it, though, and will ready for our sit-down.

That's awesome. Remember this is key....

We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him. If you have already made a decision, and an inventory of your grosser handicaps, you have made a good beginning. That being so you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.
Page 71

Keep moving forward Leng12.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Noels » Thu May 12, 2016 11:37 pm

Hi Leng :D that's all that's required - that you do your best. I myself didn't remember much of my drinking days - I don't think it was because of black out, I think it was more for my own protection if that makes sense - so step 4 was initially quite difficult for me in that how do I write down what I don't remember. As I went though memories returned and when it did I quickly jotted it down regardless of where I was at that moment. Then I revisited it when I could get down to transferring them to my proper step 4 paper work.
So I can't tell you for definite that I covered every detail in step 5 due to my memory loss of that time but I can tell you that I covered whatever I remembered and it has worked . Some defects just left. One the very next day after step 5 and I feel light, happy, whole and complete.
If anything else from my past pops up I will deal with it at that time but whatever I released already is possibly what was required at that time.
So well done. Your best is good enough.
Have a great weekend and we'll chat again.
Mwah xxx
Love and light Noels

Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby clouds » Fri May 13, 2016 7:31 am

This might be a little unusual but I did most of my Step Five with my sponsor. I did part of it with a priest and another part with a professional psychiatrist. The priest I wanted to help me with some spiritual defects I had. My sponsor was there for me as I did it like the Big Book says, with the columns etc. I had some other things in my life as a child that I needed to know would be held in strict confidence and I wondered about effects of those events and their impact on my ability to resolve resentments so I sought advice from the psychiatrist. Only the psychiatrist charged for his time. :lol:

These people all did their best to help me with the Step Five and I felt the freedom it describes on page 75 in th book 'AA'.

I really support you to search for trusted people to do this important step with. I didn't find saving some parts of my inventory for different people lessened the positive effects of taking the step.

Best of everything as you prepare for step 5.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Step Five. Sponsor's role?

Postby Troy M. » Thu May 19, 2016 4:03 am

I've been working on my 4th step for about 5 or 6 weeks. Last night my sponsor and I scheduled an afternoon to do my 5th step on next Friday. For me it feels good to have the time blocked out even if it feels a little "funny" to have to compare calendars to come up with a time. Despite the fact that my recovery is the MOST important thing in my life right now, its not the only thing in my life or in my sponsor's life either. I'm a school teacher and year end activities, graduations and what not fill up my days and nights right now so we just have work around that, but I definitely have a focus.

I have no idea how long it will take. We have 3 or 4 hours available but it may take less or more. We'll see how it goes.
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