The Middle Steps In a Timely Manner

History of AA Slogans
September 7, 2018
MY or THEIR Central Bulletin
September 25, 2018

Luckily, my sponsor, Carl, allowed me almost no “let me think it over” time as we approached my initial middle step process. No time for fear or hesitation was available!

Only minutes after praying the Third Step request for God’s help, he had me start a process I call “spontaneous writing” which provided substantive and honest Fourth Step information. I was warned not to write good things about myself because that would take too many pages. Ha!

This spontaneous writing process started on a Saturday, “at once,” per page 64 instructions, and we then completed the Step Four instructions the following Saturday. Carl then helped me actually “read and do” the Fourth Step process directly from the Big Book (p 64-71). This process lasted about one hour.

The Step Five process of reporting my newly found character defects, etc., began just a few minutes after finishing Step Four (First opportunity, p. 74), and Step Six began, “then,” (p. 76) and Step Seven was prayed at “When ready” (p. 76). Steps Four through Seven, were completed in a few hours that last Saturday.

Doctor Carl Jung has written “People will do anything to avoid facing their own soul.” Thankfully, my sponsor didn’t give me time to back out. He followed the Big Book timetable!

Over the years, as I watch newcomers too often disappear between Steps Three and Four, I have become much more appreciative of the Big Book’s timetable for the middle steps. I believe too much in-between time allows fear and doubt to take over; then, even the sincerest Third Step decision will often deteriorate into indecision and inaction.

Sometimes I hear: “God will show me when to start my inventory,” or, “I plan to take my time and do it right” . . . and so on. I believe it is good to explain, at this point, that what is missed in Step Four can always be taken care of in Step Ten—even years later when they crop up.

Step Ten is continually redoing of the mid-steps of the “learning” process above! First of all, I had to learn how to do the mid-steps—only then could I actually put them into action by following these clear-cut Step Ten directions on page 84:

  • We continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. (Step Four)
  • When these crop up we ask God at once to remove them. (Steps Six and Seven)
  • We discuss them with someone immediately. (Step Five)
  • Make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. (Steps Eight and Nine)

Speaking of a “timely manner” as in the title of this article, I believe it is important to realize that as I go through my day, to remember that the step Ten instructions include the phrases: “at once,” “immediately” and “quickly.” Of course, these phrases are to be used in sensible context, for the Big Book infers that God gave me brains to use! For instance, not to phone my sponsor you at work, simply, because I have some trivial concern or small problem.

Early on, I thought the above directions were to be done only before going to bed at night. Of course, that came from a misreading of the first full paragraph of page 86 which is Step Eleven. I now realize that Step Ten is to be done throughout each day. Living these middle steps, via Step Ten, continually provides relief from the anxiety and fear of my drinking days. But I need to remember that AA is a program of action!

SourceBy Bob S.

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