….his case is not strange or different…(Step 4 continued)

At this stage of the inventory proceedings, our sponsors come to the rescue. They can do this, for they are the carriers of A.A.’s tested experience with Step Four. They comfort the melancholy one by first showing him that his case is not strange or different, that his character defects are probably not more numerous or worse than those of anyone else in A.A. This the sponsor promptly proves by talking freely and easily, and without exhibitionism, about his own defects, past and present. This calm, yet realistic, stock-taking is immensely reassuring. The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with his liabilities. This tends to clear away morbidity and encourage balance. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defects.

One of the gifts of AA for me has been hearing the stories of so very many so very diverse people. This wide perspective has enriched my life in ways I can’t list or understand. And one of the principles of AA is that I am the same as everyone else. My details can be different, or they can be the same. It’s always a mix of both and I always have what is for me the most important characteristic in common with every alcoholic, and every alcoholic in recovery. This is part of what I understand to be the necessity, for me, of having AA to stay sober. I’m not strange or different. Not in the rooms.

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