HERE again we find a very logical sequence. Having analyzed ourselves we find it makes sense to do something toward righting what we have found wrong. If we have taken the Fourth Step we have already fulfilled the first and second parts of the Fifth Step requirements. For a calm diagnosis of ourselves brings our defects. So we come to one of the oldest truths in the world — a trouble shared is a trouble cut in half.
To admit our wrongs to another person may sound like an insurmountable obstacle, but actually it is very easy if we go about it in the right way. And any good AA can show the path. It does not mean that we formally sit down with someone and say: “I have done wrong in the following manner: First, I have been, etc., etc.” If that were the method used, AA would not be the great organization it is today.
The AA member will pave the way by first telling his story. The newcomer will be amazed at his frankness, at the ease with which he tells of usually unmentioned escapades. He will tell how rotten he has acted toward his family, or how he spent weeks of his life in jail or institutions; of dishonesties; of lies and subterfuges; the whole sorry picture.
One or two conversations like this and the newcomer will begin to unburden himself. Things that he thought he would never tell a living soul start to come out. And as he shares his secrets his mind becomes unburdened of the terrific weight he has been carrying.
He literally gets his troubles off his chest, and one reason for drinking — drinking to forget — immediately disappears. It is at this point that real sobriety begins. Nor can an alcoholic be safe until he has unburdened himself. He begins to feel that he “belongs.” And after he has stood up in public, leading his first meeting, he then feels that he is a full-fledged member.
The newcomer is definitely progressing, and is ready for the next two steps, which are grouped together for explanation and interpretation.