When I arrived in OA, I was full of anger, resentment, blame, guilt, and a lot of other negative emotions. When someone did a “wrong” to me, it was his or her fault and never mine. Everything that happened to me was not my fault.
Life wasn’t good to me; I was always the innocent person being hurt. When I found out that in Step Five I had to look at my part in the pattern, I was confused. I wasn’t responsible for people treating me badly and doing the wrong thing; I had no part in what they did to me.
My sponsor helped me work that Fifth Step. I looked carefully and saw selfishness, self-centeredness, dishonesty, and other character defects. At the end of my work, I felt so much lighter and freer. As the promises state: “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 83).
Afterward at meetings, I kept sharing about how much that Step meant to me. It taught me so much about myself. I had been blind to my defects. Through this process I learned to accept and love myself for who I am, not a bad person but a very sick person recovering in this program.
Step Five has helped me find natural happiness—I used to rely on others to make me happy and felt resentful if they did not fulfill my expectations. Now I have a great big smile on my face and just want to bounce all the time like a bubbly cartoon character.
Now when I feel angry or resentful at a person or situation, I sit down and ask myself what my part is. I have a very honest HP who never fails to let me know. Then I can make amends if I need to. If I have trouble letting go, I turn to page 417 of the Big Book and read about acceptance. Until I accept everything as it is and not how I want it to be, I have to keep praying to my HP for acceptance. I can’t change anyone except myself.
I have worked all Twelve Steps now, and I still maintain that Step Five was the best Step I ever worked. It was a real eye-opener to the true me. It also gave me freedom, peace, and serenity. I can let go of the past and live in each minute of the day, enjoying life to the fullest.
— Julie B., Adelaide, South Australia Australia