From the September 2011 magazine.

After the Fire

Upon completing a Fifth Step, a member experiences a powerful connection with her higher power

"I burned the story in her fireplace, symbolically releasing it forever."

I was feeling fragile and vulnerable. It was May 7, 2009 and I had 94 days of sobriety. I was about to meet with my sponsor, Diane, to do a partial Fifth Step on the issue I had suffered from and drank over for 40 years. I had been working on it for a week and it was a living hell. For the first time ever, I was trying to open up, delve into, and thoroughly examine this issue. I was anything but fearless! I was terrified, but once I unearthed it, there was no going back. I couldn't eat and I couldn't sleep. I couldn't live this way for any length of time, and yet I couldn't get past it to finish writing the rest of my Fourth Step. Diane suggested doing a partial Fifth Step on the issue now, and doing the rest later.

Seated at the kitchen table in her house, Diane started off with a beautiful prayer. Then it was my turn, and I went to where I have never before gone with another human being. I told the story of what was largely responsible for most of my drinking. After a week of bumping up against emotions such as terror, shame, rage, horror, revenge, grief, depression and desperation, the miracle of AA occurred. I never thought it would happen to me.

-- A.B.

Orick, California

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