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Grapevine : May 2011
aagrapevine.org 29 can crop up with the right stimulus and make us take other people’s inventories full-volume, or nag them gently and forever, so that life becomes miserable for our beloved victims. Resentment and envy can make us malicious and gossipy, unpleasant com- pany both for those other people and for ourselves. have we looked in the mir- ror when we’re feeling this way? it’s revelatory. Perhaps we haven’t lashed out at anybody with words or actually done anything to them. Perhaps our anger is backed up into depression, and we feel like the wrong end of a worm. self-pity. Yes, yes! There’s plenty of cause for this--situations all the way from irritating to tragic. But we need to regain our inner strength, or learn to get some if we’re new in AA and feel we never had any. if we have taken step Four, we have probably discussed some of our character defects already, so it’s easier to remem- ber them now. step Five is a further sharing and verbalization of the moral inventory. We are begin- ning to learn that nobody is going to send us to the guillotine because of our shortcomings. We won’t be rejected. We won’t be punished. Not in AA. how many times i have taken this step with myself, with my AA friends, and with God! And i haven’t always done it too well. But i am learning, as i go along, to eliminate complaint and excuse and admit that i’ve done thus-and-thus to others or to myself, because of this or that anger or fear--or that i have omitted doing what i really wanted to do, because kindness and consideration have been submerged by harassment or worry. When someone else comes to you for help, or you listen to others at a closed meeting and contribute some remarks yourself, you find, for the thousandth time, that you are not alone. Other people have these feel- ings. They have done the same things. it’s perfectly astonishing how often we go back to thinking of ourselves as “special.” When i was drinking, i was an angry person who hated herself and took other people’s inventories. When i was first sober, i was an angry person and went on taking other people’s inventories. Now and again, i still am tempted to set somebody straight. if i do, i try to make amends. i am not as given to arrogance as i was, because i am slowly accepting myself, liabilities and all. i even think i might have a few assets. AA taught me that it was safe to evaluate myself. Ten thousand thanks and a golden coffee mug to those who have listened to me so long and helped me find out about myself. it’s a wonderful feeling to know that you don’t have to be a god or a goddess, or a saint or a genius, to lead a reasonably happy, sober, healthy, commu- nicative, constructive, and useful life--with some laughter thrown in for good measure. F. M. New Canaan, Conn. Steps GRAPE_28-29.indd 29 4/4/11 1:07 PM