My biggest fear, from the very start, has been that I would drink again. Upon reading about Jim and his glass of whiskey-laced milk (p. 35-37), I shuddered at the thought of a slip. Somehow I know that for me, at least, there is no such thing as a slip. I probably have one more drunk in me, but I doubt that I have one more recovery.
Someone once told me that we are as sick as our secrets. The Big Book puts it another way (p. 72-73). “Time after time, newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.” Like it or not, I had to do a Fifth Step, even if it killed me.
Though I was not a Catholic, I had a lot of Catholic friends. I learned about confession from them. They told me priests were sworn to secrecy. Besides, I thought it would be difficult to shock a priest. So I chose a Catholic priest to hear my Step Five. He was also a recovering alcoholic whom I met in AA.
I arrived at the priest’s residence early. I hoped to get the whole thing over in time to go to my regular AA meeting later that morning. Father answered the door and escorted me into the parlor. He sat across from me in a pope-like, straight-backed chair. I’d brought my Fourth Step with me and began fumbling with the pages searching for a way to get started. “Just tell me about yourself,” Father said in an attempt to break the ice.
I can’t recall what I said but I remember it was as if a dam had broken. Everything came pouring out and little by little I revealed experiences and feelings that had welled up inside me for years. There were unspeakable things I’d done while drinking. All my bogeymen were set loose in that room.
Hours later (by now it was noon) I was done, the priest did not appear mortified and I was still alive. Step Five had not killed me after all. When the session ended, the priest smiled and said, “Go now and read the last paragraph on page 75 in your Big Book ending with the second paragraph on page 76.”
“Is that all there is?” I thought as I hurried to meet my friends from the morning AA meeting. We had lunch. Though they all knew where I’d been that morning, we simply chatted, small talk mostly. Then, one of them asked, “How do you feel?” I surprised myself when I answered, “I feel that I belong.” I had never felt that way before. Never!
By Sandy H., No Booze News, July 2009