Featured Post: The Step of the Month
Step 5 For May 2021 RBA Dry Sheet
Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs…….
Having made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (a deep dig of those thoughts & feelings we sought to avoid all the way to the bottom of the bottle), what do we do with all of those now surface feelings we dredged up? We must release them and fast! If we don’t, we will surely drink or use again.
Paraphrasing Joe and Charlie, I like to say it this way. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the chapter after “How It Works” is called “Into Action” not “Into Thinking”. To me this means we should not dwell any longer on the mighty list of resentments, fears, ill conduct, etc. Yes we must own it. But to release it, we must also share it with another, then give it to our Higher Power in order to be free from it. The sooner we do it, the better chance we have to be happy, joyous, and free.
What does all that mean and how do we do that?
Before we can recover from alcohol and addiction, we must face ourselves and own everything in our fourth step. It’s not about what others did to us anymore; it is what we did to others. We need to share this with someone else, preferably one who knows and understands alcoholism and addiction in general such as our sponsor or another member of the fellowship. In that way we have a mirror of ourselves from someone who has walked the path we are walking in recovery. The point is to admit it live to another safe person who isn’t going to be harmed or harm us with what we reveal in confidence. Ideally, we won’t walk away humiliated, but we feel a more right sized version of humility. The presence of the God of our understanding further sets up the relationship we are building with each other. We may even feel growth and change as one of the intentions of this work is to make room for our Higher Power to work within us. We may even get a shimmer of the 5th Step Promises on Page 75 of the Big Book.
For me, I did my 5th Step as part of a 7-week 4th Step Seminar I attended. I had found the first three steps easy to grasp having had exposure to program fundamentals from another perspective but never proceeded past these first three. I heard from another member at my home meeting that the next session of this seminar was about to begin, and I felt moved to sign up for it despite my infancy in AA.
I didn’t have a sponsor at this point but was definitely seeking one. Since doing the 5th step is so critical after doing all the work in Step 4, fortunately, the people who ran the seminar had a list of former participants who were willing to take 5th steps from current participants. Throughout the first weeks of the seminar, I did make a small effort to find someone to hear my 5th step, but really I had sunk into one of my old ways of wanting the easier softer way, and thankfully, the seminar had just the guy for me. Or perhaps the truest way to say it is – my Higher Power had just the guy for me. In the end, I asked him if he would continue working with me as my sponsor, and he replied that he was definitely willing to work with me - as a temporary sponsor.
When the seminar coordinator handed me the sheet of paper with this guy’s name and number, I was initially unnerved. Would he be able to “handle” all the evils I had done? Will he shame me like so many of my family, friends, doctors, and general people had? Will he have three heads? I called him and he quickly returned my call. I asked him if we could meet for lunch to dispel my fears and let him know I don’t have three heads either. It was a great experience just having lunch – I felt an immediate connection and kinship with him as we talked about the program and shared our stories. We set the date for the following weekend (the deadline for the seminar participants to have 5th steps done).
We met at his house and he brought out a candle and lit it to invite God into the conversation then said a prayer. I was afraid and nervous at first, but soon the resentments and fears of persons, places, and things came flowing out of me. We talked for a long time. I felt no shame or backhanded comments coming from him. He told me stories of his own experience that showed me I am not alone. I felt loved and accepted just for being there as myself as if none of those things mattered anymore. I felt the presence of my Higher Power igniting something like a pilot light in my chest (that’s where I feel the God of my understanding working within me).
After we finished for the day, I felt exhausted but inspired, peaceful and calm, joyfully free. I drove to my favorite local coffeeshop and thought about how far I’d come at the same time knowing I was not “done” yet unafraid of the journey that remained. For days I felt a peaceful euphoria that was better than any drink or drug, and it stayed with me in differing degrees as I continued to diligently work the other steps feeling my Higher Power’s fire in my chest. And my temporary sponsor somewhere along the way without ceremony dropped the “temporary” when using the word sponsor.
In the end, I experienced as Page 75 asserts, “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”
Though the 4th and specifically the 5th Step may seem daunting, if we trust the process of the steps and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous working them to the best of our ability preferably with a sponsor and other alcoholics, we will see the Step 5 promises come to pass.
-Doug R., Squad 5C
RBA Board of Trustees Minutes
Monday April 12th, 2021
Meeting Opened at 7:02pm
Opened with the Serenity Prayer and AA Traditions One and Two. Our mission is to manage the property, finances and 501C3 for the RBA.
1. Members Present:
Dana Jo F., Norton L., Joe R., Jeff S., Bill M., Isaac S., Rik L.
Jerry Z., Maintenance., Jim B. Visitor, Kate M. Visitor
2. Building & Maintenance Report (Jerry Z.):
Jerry has been working closely with our janitorial vendor to ensure the new person assigned to RBA understands our expectations. This new janitor has been doing a nice job so far and has encouraged us to communicate directly with them if we have concerns. Jerry was asked to examine the front entrance to determine if he can make this more accessible for wheelchairs, and he has a solution in mind he will implement in coming weeks. Jerry also proposed a solution for the back door to ensure we have no further issues resulting from the water pooling in the parking lot. He plans to install a new door directly on the concrete apron to ensure the rising and sinking of the blacktop no longer obstructs the opening and closing. Lastly, Jerry pulled the return air vents to clean the dust and noticed the inner ducts need cleaning. He plans to contact Wenzel to see what our options are.
3. Financial Report:
Jeff spoke about the financials from the month of March. There were no unusual expenses from last month and we brought in more cash than we spent. A payment was made on the parking lot line of credit, and RBA now has less than $10,000 remaining on this loan. Jeff mentioned more members have chosen to utilize the online donation option through the rbaaa.org website. Members have been said to have tested the QR codes posted throughout the club and they are working as they should. Dana Jo suggested italicizing the online donations on the pledge recap reports so squad treasurers can identify how much is being contributed from each squad online. Jeff agreed this would be helpful and will work with Will, our Bookkeeper, to accommodate this request. Jeff then asked board members to restate the ongoing need for pledges and donations to squad leaders and treasurers. The board approved the March financials and voted to have them displayed in the glass case in the hallway for members to see. The board encourages members to ask questions about these financials should any concerns arise.
4. Old Business:
The board reviewed the meeting minutes from March and approved them without exception. Jeff is closer to having the Microsoft 365 subscription installed and plans to learn the program in coming weeks. Bill M. proposed a “Back to Basics” step and Big Book Study during the March meeting, and this has been up and running during the month of April. Members have commented on how exceptional this meeting is and Bill is confident it will continue to be a success.
5. New Business:
The board detailed a plan to satisfy the City of Bloomington’s requirement to install a barrier between the front parking lot and the road. A decision was reached to plant shrubs rather than fence paneling because shrubs will be less expensive, require less maintenance, and look more appealing. Chris M. from the Sunday morning meeting has volunteered to coordinate the labor needed to complete this project in coming weeks. Jim B. provided general guidance on where the shrubs should be planted and gave some options on which would look nice in our lot.
Jim B. visited the board meeting to provide an update on the lighting project for the back lot. In previous years, the City of Bloomington had notified us of the need for lighting in our rear parking area. Jim found recent information indicating this requirement may be reversed or amended, so we have tabled this project until future years.
Spring cleaning and general club cleanliness were discussed. The board has decided to remove the tattered bookcase on the north wall by the vending machines to make room for other items. Many outdated pieces of furniture and electronics were removed during March to improve the overall appearance and comfort in the club. Sean from Squad 5C waxed the floors in April with help from other members, which has also improved the cleanliness of the club. Dana Jo volunteered the Thursday night women’s group to clean the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. The board is evaluating the number of, and condition of, the chairs at RBA and may decide to remove some in future months.
Roger was pleased to announce progress towards the annual RBA Banquet which is scheduled for June 5th, 2021. The board thanks Roger as we are all very exited to attend the first fellowship event in over a year. The chosen venue is the Knights of Columbus hall in Bloomington. We plan to begin selling banquet tickets in coming weeks for the price of $20. Raffle tickets will also go on sale soon. Budgeted amounts were agreed upon for banquet tickets, catering, hall rental, and raffle prizes. Dana Jo and Kate M volunteered to help with decorations. Expect to hear more on the annual banquet in coming weeks.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was passed at 8:14pm and we closed with The Lord’s Prayer.
-Joe R., Secretary
Fifth Step Meditation
Tradition of the Month
Importance of the Fifth Tradition
What does the fifth tradition mean to an alcoholic? Tradition Five is written in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” But what is the importance of this tradition? Tradition Five is like Tradition One in that it has some focus on unity. However, instead of a focus on accepting all alcoholics based on all backgrounds, Tradition Five is more catered to providing a message of fellowship to newcomers and still suffering alcoholics. Along with a deeper focus for the still suffering alcoholic, the tradition emphasizes the singleness of purpose for an AA group.
Through working a twelve-step program, attending meetings, and obtaining prolonged sobriety, alcoholics learn they can help problem drinkers like themselves obtain sobriety. This ability is something that seldom others, other than alcoholics, can provide. It does not matter an alcoholics’ knowledge, speaking ability, or special skills. What matters is that alcoholics have a key to sobriety. Groups can convey to newcomers the message of fellowship through their legacies of suffering as well the recovery from them. This helps alcoholics maintain their sobriety, and lets people struggling know that they are not alone in their desperation.
There are several means in which people can get help for their sobriety. Treatment, therapy, and prescriptions are all great tools to aid one’s journey to sober living. While sobriety is great, it’s working through the fellowship of AA and its program that provides a prolonged happier version of sobriety that a newcomer has not yet imagined. Groups and fellowship know this, and it shows the need for this tradition. This is why sharing the message to the alcoholic is crucial. It can show someone that years of sobriety can be achieved. It shows as well that an alcoholic can truly be happy, joyous, and free in their recovery even if all might seem lost in the current moment. It should be noted that not all will be willing to accept the messages provided. This happens, and its not a group’s purpose to go over and beyond what this tradition states.
Tradition Five also provides a single simple purpose rather than many complex ones. Preservation of AA rests on this principle. If a group does too much, it might splinter the group or push away people in need. This does not mean that individuals should have their own unique qualities hampered. The 12x12 explains it as:
“Alcoholics Anonymous can be likened to a group of physicians who might find a cure for cancer, and upon whose concerted work would depend the answer for sufferers of this disease. True, each physician in such a group might have his own specialty. Every doctor concerned would at times wish he could devote himself to his chosen field rather than work only with the group. But once these men had hit upon a cure, once it became apparent that only by their united effort could this be accomplished, then all of them would feel bound to devote themselves solely to the relief of cancer (pg. 150)
In other words, we may feel that the best thing is to help others with what we individually are best at, but we should do the first thing first, and that’s deliver the message. It’s better to do one thing supremely well than many individual ones badly.
In summary Tradition Five is all about delivering the message of fellowship to the newcomer. This is simple tradition that also provides a simple single purpose for a group. Follow-through of this tradition allows alcoholics to maintain sobriety and provides hope to the scared newcomer.
-Joe R II, Squad 5C
Great news!!! RBA has set a date for the annual banquet. Tickets can now be purchased for this event which will be held on June 5th, 2021 at the Knights of Columbus hall in Bloomington. Raffle tickets are also being sold for chances to win some nice prices. For those of you who are new to RBA, the purpose of this event is to honor our friends who have celebrated their one year sobriety anniversaries within the last year. This is a catered event that includes fellowship and guest speakers.
Squad 5A, which meets at 8:00pm on Saturday nights, has offered to sponsor three tickets to the upcoming annual banquet. If you or someone you know has celebrated their one year sobriety anniversary within the last year and would like to attend the banquet, please see Jeff Smith at the Saturday night meeting.
As mentioned in previous months, RBA is now offering the option to donate and pledge via electronic payment. QR codes like the one below have been posted throughout the club. Scan them with your smart phone and our donation page will open for you. You can also donate by clicking on the blue 'Donate' button on the top of our homepage at rbaaa.org . Your donations help us maintain the club so that future generations of members can find recovery as we have.
Fifth Step Insights
Fifth Step Reflection
One of my favorite Traditions in AA states the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking. To me this means we must only have one goal in common to be welcomed into the fellowship of AA. Before I joined the program, I thought I was terminally unique and there was no hope for me. I had stopped drinking years before my first meeting, so I didn’t think I needed the recovery they talked about in the rooms of AA. I went to my first 12 step meeting because I was miserable and knew I would drink or use eventually if I didn’t get help. I met a wonderful group of men who were a little surprised by how long I had been sober, but they were all truly kind and wanted to help me regain my sanity. These men explained to me that abstinence from alcohol alone would not replace what was missing in my life. They told me alcohol was a solution I used to solve deeper problems, but it only made those problems worse. They helped me realize I needed to make other changes if I wanted to be happy. Part of this process required some self-reflection to help me understand what behaviors had brought me to my lowest point. After a thorough examination of my past, it was then important for me to share my findings with God and another person.
In preparation for my fifth step, I had completed a fourth step seminar. This workshop lasted several weeks and utilized many different resources to help me create a personal inventory. This inventory provided an honest reflection on how my relationships had failed and how I had hurt the people who cared about me. I came to realize that so many of my decisions and actions had been dictated by emotions like fear, shame, and guilt. These feelings prevented me from allowing people to see me for who I was. I was constantly afraid of not being good enough, so I worked diligently to convince others I was extraordinary. Dishonesty was the foundation of my relationships with friends and family. I told lies on top of lies to disguise my true self from the world. Remembering theses lies and promoting false personas was incredibly stressful. My relationships ended when the pressure became too much, and resentments formed. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the fifth step relieved me of this burden of self.
My fifth step was immensely helpful. I scheduled a time with my sponsor and went over what I had learned from my inventory. By verbalizing my resentments, harms, and fears to him I began to see things more clearly. This act of organizing my thoughts in a way another could understand seemed to help me make sense of my past. My story didn’t surprise my sponsor much. After hearing my wrongs, he didn’t view me as a monster or a bad person; he saw me as another alcoholic. Sharing my character defects openly and honestly removed the power they held over me. My sponsor then helped me comprehend the true nature of my wrongs as being selfishness and self-centeredness. He helped me understand the importance of empathy in my relationships. I began to realize that stepping outside of myself and being present for others would bring me closer to my higher power. The fifth step taught me humility because it helped me see that I am neither a terrible person nor an overly important person. I am but one being in God’s world who will never be perfect but has a lot to contribute.
Being open and honest with my sponsor during my fifth step helped me gain trust in myself and others from that point on. It felt so good to know that I could share some of my darkest moments with another person without being judged. Unburdening myself brought about a sense of indescribable relief. I then began to see people I once resented as being no better or worse than most; they simply had their own inner struggles to overcome. I learned that my days are filled with a series of choices; I can choose to react to situations out of fear, or I can have faith that God will guide me. This new outlook on life felt like the spirituality I had read about in books. My fifth step brought me closer to my higher power, which is what had been missing all along. Taking action and working the steps helped me realize that I could be genuinely happy if I continued to work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous as described in our Big Book.
-Joe R., Squad 5C
AA Speaker of the Month: Scott R.
Recent and Upcoming Sobriety Anniversaries
Please join us in congratulating the following people on their sobriety milestones!
Steve K (4/7/94) celebrated 27 years in April!!!
Cherisse (4/15/99) celebrated 22 years in April!!!
Mike N (2/24/21) celebrated two months in April!!!
Pam Y (4/6/20) celebrated one year in April!!!
Adam J (1/18/21) celebrated three months in April!!!
Pat M (3/8/21) celebrated one month in April!!!
rbaaa.org thanks you for visiting the Dry Sheet. Please feel free to submit content for the following month by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We welcome and enjoy all submissions. rbaaa.org would also like to thank those who submitted items for the current month's edition. These articles will help many on their journey in recovery.