- Mental Health»
Alcoholism and the Fifth Step in Alanon
Find An Al-Anon Sponsor You Can Easily Talk To
What is the Al-Anon Fifth Step?
Are you a member of Al-anon, the program which has helped millions of people around the world find peace, serenity and happiness, despite having an alcoholic or drug abuser in their family or circle of friends? If so, you are probably aware of the 12 Steps which we follow. They are nearly identical to the 12 Steps used by members of Alcoholics Anonymous for over 50 years. The information below will help you complete your 5th Step.
Once you have completed your self inventory in the Al-Anon Fourth Step, your next responsibility is to admit “to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Although it may frighten you at first, to imagine telling someone else all the times you were unkind, selfish, emotional, or did something which may have harmed someone else, in the years to come you may find that this process of working on the Al-Anon steps is also one of the most rewarding experiences you will have gone through in your lifetime.
Often, new members wonder how they can share their deepest, darkest secrets with someone else. First of all, you may find it easier if you do it a little at a time. You will want to start by working on your Alanon Fourth Step and using the “Blueprint for Progress,” which can take months to complete. As you go through it, you will probably discuss your self-inventory with your Al-Anon sponsor a little at a time. In this way, you will carefully go through the process, without feeling hurried or stressed. In fact, most Al-Anon members feel a tremendous sense of relief when they discover there are other people who have shared similar experiences, and are willing to listen as you unburden yourself.
While working on your Al-Anon Fourth Step with another person, usually your Al-Anon sponsor, you will discover that you are also sharing your inventory with another person, an important part of completing your Al-Anon Fifth Step.
The final action necessary to complete this step is to share your inventory with the God of your understanding. No matter what your religious beliefs, you should share the results of your Fourth Step Inventory with your personal Higher Power. Only you can decide how best to do that ... prayer, a "letter to God," meditation, or however you think is best. Al-anon does not support any particular religion or set of religious beliefs.
If You Have Not Already Used the Blueprint for Progress for Your 4th Step, You Will Want to Use it Now
This is the workbook that most Al-anon members use to complete their 4th Step or personal inventory of their strengths and weaknesses. It is a very interesting experience. After you complete it, you will want to discuss it with your Al-anon sponsor, which means you are working on your 5th Step at the same time. Some people go through it in a small group or one chapter at a time with their sponsor. As someone who has sponsored many other members of Al-Anon over the past 35 years, I have actually gone through the "Blueprint for Progress" several times, myself.
Finding an Al-Anon Sponsor
Before you even begin your Alanon 4th Step, you may want to pause a moment and consider who you will want to do your Alanon 5th Step with. If you haven't already found a sponsor, this would be the ideal time to ask someone to fill that position. This will be the person who will help you complete all the Alanon steps, so you need to give careful consideration when choosing a sponsor. Does this person have at least a year's experience in Alanon? Have they completed the steps themselves? Do you feel comfortable talking with this person? Are they someone you can identify with? Are they someone you believe is doing a good job of living by the Al-Anon principles?
Remember that you may be sharing some pretty embarrassing things about yourself. Listen to different members share at your meetings. Ask a few to meet for coffee, or give them a call sometime between meetings. Once you find someone that you are comfortable talking to, ask him or her to be your sponsor. Most groups recommend that you choose a sponsor who is your same gender.
Once you have a sponsor, they will guide you through all your steps, particularly steps 4 through 9. When you are ready, complete your 4th Step and then share it with your sponsor. This is how you do your Alanon 5th Step.
This Book is Perfect If You Want to Learn More About All of the 12 Steps of Alanon
It is a good idea to have an overview of all the steps when you are in Al-anon. This book explains them all. You can order it and read it in the privacy of your home between meetings. I have found this book to be one of the most useful pieces of Al-Anon literature I have. Whenever I wonder how to discuss an Al-Anon step with someone in the program, I read about that step in this book.
Meeting With Your Alanon Sponsor
Once you have a sponsor to help walk you through the Alanon Steps, you need to decide when and where you and your sponsor are going to meet. Most people meet one-on-one with their sponsors, completing a little of their "Blueprint for Progress" at a time, and discussing it as they go. In this way, doing an Alanon 5th Step becomes a process that is completed at the same time you do your Alanon 4th Step.
However, there is another way of completing your Alanon 4th and 5th Steps that has been gaining popularity in some parts of the country. If you wish, you and your sponsor can form a small group of members who are completing their Alanon 4th Step at the same time. This is usually a group of 4 or 5 people who are all of the same gender, and who have the same sponsor. This enables the sponsor to work with several newcomers at the same time, if they are all comfortable with that arrangement. You'll find that completing your Alanon 5th Step this way will bring you closer to a group of members who may become lifelong friends, as each of you shares your strengths and weaknesses with each other.
However you proceed with your Alanon 4th and 5th Steps, you are on a great adventure in self-discovery. Enjoy the journey!