Monday, May 14, 2012

Step 5: How Did I Get Into This Mess? How Do I Get Out?

Step 5:  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Koan:  From a very young age, you raised a goose in a bottle.  Now it is fully grown.  How do you get the goose safely out without breaking bottle?

Sit with this koan and Step for a spell, then read on.

 - - -

No one would readily choose to admit one's faults to another person, especially to the degree of honesty asked here, without a significant pay back.  I've heard at many a meeting that the chances of going out (relapse) are dramatically increased if Step 5 is not completed, not perfectly;  but to the best of our ability at the time.  It is very well a life and death situation.   Step 4 is where we realize the significance of the situation we're in, Step 5 is doing something positive about it.

This koan came to me via one of our other group leaders.  It was the koan his group had been sitting with. "Feeding" was the word that got my attention.  Presently I am taking a couple of men through the Steps and both were working on Step 4 and 5.  My oh my how we can feed our resentments…and we know the devastating affect they play in our lives (mostly in our own minds, yes?), still we feed them more, hoping for some kind of relief;  but it never comes.  Our resentments have an insatiable appetite to the bursting point.

Our 12 @ Zen group last week offered up a number of different possibilities and questions.  "How did I get into this bottle?" one asked. "What or who is the goose, anyway?" "Who is doing the feeding?" "What does it mean to be safely out of the bottle?"

Before my recovery, the usual response would be to smash the bottle (self will) … to force the issue to suit my needs.  This never brought about the results I wanted -- like trying to push a rope uphill. At the Sunday meeting a person brought up the notion that "we pause."  Take a step back.  Somehow, in the pausing, great things can come to be.  Pausing in prayer.  Pausing in meditation.  "No, No, No, I'll never tell anyone what I did!  But this is what we do in Step 5.  "Outwardly it is sharing our deep dark secrets with another person.  "Once we have taken this step … we can be alone at perfect peace and ease." (Big Book, P. 75).  The bottle has disappeared.

Now if you'd like, sit with what I posted here.  When have you been trapped in a bottle, then given up the struggle, to eventually find freedom in realizing that the bottle has disappeared?

Bill K.

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