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How Deeply You Work Your Fourth and Fifth Step Depends On How Free You Want to Be…


March 2023

In a break from cycling, I’ve wanted to get this short but incredibly important post about recovery. This stems from a situation I went through with a guy I sponsor.

There seems to be a couple of different camps on how to work a fourth and fifth step. One camp says you should just horse through it and get it done. Don’t bother with the details and just motorboat it. “More will be revealed”, they say!

Well, that is a way to do it. And an excellent way to stay fantastically ignorant about who you really are and the wake you leave behind you as you move through the world.

I should know. I went through most of my recovery in exactly that manner. The problem is, more isn’t revealed if you don’t take the time to reveal the “more”.

I was working with my man on his fourth. When we got to his fifth, we took our time over a couple of weekends. He went to a Big Book study in between and shared his experience about how we were taking our time and really digging deep to look at how his resentments were basically of his own making. This takes time and patience because, as a sponsor, you actually have to pay attention. A resentment a page later is often the result of an earlier altercation and if you’re paying attention, you can show how your newly recovering person is indeed responsible for their own resentment. That was certainly the case in this fifth step. Several times.

Approached like this, you get to learn about your effect on those around you, rather than create reasons for new fourth steps because you keep doing the same thing over and over again waiting for more to be revealed.

At the end of his fifth step, he’d had a true change of being and has gone on to enthusiastically make his amends and begin work on the tenth step. He’s learned how to look at his resentments and truly dig deep to find his part in how they came about.

Of course, ignorance is said to be bliss… more will be revealed, they say!

Not in this case, though. How deeply we work the fourth directly affects how free you will be after the fifth.

Just sayin’.

Recover hard, my friends. The alternative is literally miserable.


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