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Spending 24 years in The Rooms, I had done several Fourth Steps

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

but I would skip the Fifth Step and, having confessed my secrets to others along the way, I would go straight to the Sixth Step

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Continuing my progress from there, I believed that I was keeping my “side of the sidewalk” clean. Maybe so… but last week I discovered that, just like baking a cake, if we skip a Step, we may not wind up with cake!


I recently conducted yet another Fourth Step which included misdeeds of the past that, although confessed along the way and for which I had made amends, re-emerged at this stage of my recovery in the form of lack of self-forgiveness. The inventory also revealed uncomfortable qualities that I hide in shame–my shadow side–such as irritation, judgment, contempt, impatience. This time I prepared for a Fifth Step, and a fellow Twelve-Stepper, Laurie, agreed to listen.


We discussed my greatest misdeeds, which cannot be erased, and the plague on my conscience. I have lived up to the prophetic notion that We suffer with the objects of our vengeance. The take-away spoke to a need for skills when hurt, anger, and frustration merge. I need to learn how to self-soothe when feeling powerless and distraught. My challenge at these times pertains to discretion and restraint when I most wish to lash out. Otherwise, the cost that life exacts is chronic self-recrimination.


Laurie also helped me to see that I am so entrenched on an ego-level with being nice, open, and accepting of others that I sacrifice my True Self rather than rejecting friendship with someone whom I would rather not be friends. Unfortunately, I enter prematurely into a bond, and then proceed with friendships that later evoke ugly qualities that I hide–irritation, judgment, contempt, impatience. I am not so nice, open, and accepting after all. The True Self prefers connection with people whom I admire. If this is the case, I must reach out to such people.


The other aspect of the Fifth Step involves assets. Regarding the finer qualities that I possess, I proudly own…responsible, reliable, thoughtful, affectionate, generous, cooperative, grateful. Laurie noticed that I assess my virtue in relation to my usefulness to others. The challenge this presents points to my ownership of my innate value.


The obvious lesson, having skipped the Fifth Step on numerous occasions, relates to SOCIAL ECOLOGY. Had I not sought out and received Laurie’s counsel of years, I may have shared my assets and shortcomings but missed the TRANSFORMATIVE piece of recovery associated with a true Fifth Step:

  • We can only heal and grow with the witnessing and nurturing of others.
  • We can only rise above ourselves with the clarity and feedback of others.
  • We can only transform our lives with the cooperation of others.

This is the bottom line for Resiliency Coaching. If you desire the benefit of an inventory of your life, Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Coach, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will work together to improve your life!

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