Step 4 and Sponsors

Discussions related to 12 Step Sponsors, 12 Step Sponsoring, Working with others using the 12 Steps, for AA's, NA's, Al-Anons, Nar-Anons, OA, and others using the 12 Steps.
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:44 pm

Step 4 and Sponsors

Postby suzycaboozy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:56 pm

This is actually my first post on the forums. I'm not new to AA but have never come as far as I have now. I'm two months sober and am embarking on my 4th Step.

My concern? Aside from being nervous about completeing the 4th Step thoroughly enough, I'm also concerned about sharing my 'stuff' with anyone inside the rooms, never mind my sponsor.

I really like the sponsor I have now. However, being realistic, I have only known her for two months. We don't know one another all that well, though I've heard many great comments about this woman, and my heart tells me to trust her. STILL....if I had been at this step five years ago, (which I wasn't..I ran from it,) it would have been another story if I'd completed a Fourth and done a Fifth with the sponsor I had 'then.' She was also a nice woman but as I later learned, she was very negative, (due to her own insecurities, I gather,) but she would not have been a good person to share my Fifth with. She gossips about other people freely within the program. What if I'd shared with her my Fourth, and she didn't keep my info confidential?? This is a huge concern for me.

I'm tempted to share my Fifth with my psychologist, who I like very much. She offers great suggestions and I try to heed them and take action when she does. I KNOW she is keeping my info confidential.

I'm really confused about this! I'm trying so hard to work my program this time around. Am I not letting my HP guide me enough to know the answer as to whether I should do my Fifth with the sponsor I have now? She has more than twenty years of sobriety and seems to have a solid foundation, but will she not share my info with her own sponsor? Why would she not? What would stop her from doing that? Again...this would be another person I don't know well.

It's not that I've really done terrible things while drinking. I'm a high bottom drunk. I just feel so terribly vulnerable is all in sharing such confidential info with someone I do not know well.

Am I not doing the do's? My sponsor has set up a time for me to share my Fifth with her very soon. She would like me to share it with her.

Any thoughts on this? I'm struggling so much with this, that I'm not getting my Fourth down on paper as well as I should, I fear.


Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:11 pm

Postby cajunbam » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:23 pm


I'm no expert but I just listened to a speaker tape that might help a little with only a part of this. Don't think of it as THE 4th step, but a first 4th step. I too ran away from doing a searching and fearless moral inventory 5 or 6 years ago and although I drank on only 3 occasions since then, my addictions transferred to everything under the sun, with the exception of personal relationships, they only continued to deteriorate dramatically while I simultaneously withdrew and isolated. I have heard in meetings that you do have the option to seek out a spiritual adviser to take your 5th step, it does not have to absolutely be with your sponsor. I am sponsoring someone for the very first time and will allow him that freedom. I initially did my first 5th step with my psychologist for the same reason as yours - confidentiality. The only drawback, for me, was time constraints. I now have a sponsor that I think I can trust. I have been told also to pray about such matters and the answers will come. I have to believe that in time they will.


Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:03 pm

Hello suzycaboozy! Welcome to the site!

I'll bet your sponsor would agree that -- to be honest, and to be open, with what's going on for us -- is a couple of the attributes in us -- that determines "who will stay sober and recover -- and who will not."

My suggestion? Have an indepth talk with your sponsor about the problem. My guess is: she was nearly exactly like you -- in regards to this problem. And, she can share with you -- how she dealt with it, and what worked for her and what didn't work for her.

Naturally, you wouldn't want to share confidential information with someone -- that you didn't feel comfortable enough with to -- simply say, "I have a problem with doing this and here is why..." :wink:

By speaking up about your concerns you are widening the path of communication between you and your sponsor. You're being true to yourself and true with your sponsor.

In the end, you may not do your 5th with your sponsor or your psychologist... you might do it with some stranger that is so drunk that they can't remember what you told them! :lol: (That was my plan for my 5th: My first thoughts were to share it with a priest... and not my sponsor or anyone else... then, I discovered, that I could share it with some drunk passed out on a park bench -- as long as I was honest!) :lol:

I understand your concerns. I had exactly the same concerns regarding my 5th Step -- and, I'll guess, that many of us had the same concern!

Keep coming back!


Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Postby GeoffS » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:08 pm

People often worry about steps 4 and 5 ....a lot. I know I did.

Thorough and fearless means exactly that. At that time. We do our best at that time. If we miss something we can bring it up again when it comes to us. There are no pass marks. If we deliberately conceal something, we bring it up when it gets us into so much pain we just have to.

I would only share a sponsees stuff with my sponsor if I was unable to go anywhere with it. I would have told the sponsee I do not know what to do here shall I ask my sponsor.

If I have problems with anything I am told, then it becomes my problem and I must tell my sponsor.

Bottom line is this rarely happens. Most of us have done stuff just the same as sponsees. Just as embarrasing and stuff we don't want common knowledge.

Part of the 4th and 5th step (and later steps) shows us what to do with that kind of stuff and those feelings. I have and I have also seen other guys share stuff in meetings or with other members that we never wanted anyone to know. We can only do this when the steps have helped us resolve our troubles, and sharing it might help another alcoholic.

The 4th and 5th are a process. Engage that process, we do what we can how we can. Only this action process can change us. Engage the process have a change, look at the 4th step stuff as a changed person as a result and we will see it differently. We will then be surprised by what we can do with it.

As a sponsor, I forget the facts of the stories and misdeeds pretty fast. I like to try and help the alcoholic to see the way their instincts were out of whack, and the character defects at the root. Then we can work on the solution...

Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:04 pm

Postby DiggerinVA » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:00 am

Cheat and look at the instructions to the 10th step.

Page 84 in the Big Book.
It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.

Do it honestly and and it will work. There is no way anybody can do a perfect and complete 4th step. It will be a life time of work, something we do daily in our 10th. There is a saying "More will be revealed". It is so true.

Also the Big Book suggests types of people to share your 5th step with. I do believe your Doctor qualifies. They do need to be closed lipped and understanding.

I wish you well on your spiritual journey.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:42 am

Sponsor-Sponsee Relationship Booster

Postby talulah777 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:58 pm

I don't know of a single person who didn't question weather or not to do their 5th step with their sponsor. I know I did and ALL of my close friends in the program did too. I only know of a few people who did their 5th with someone other than their sponsor.

I felt the same way about my sponsor before sharing my (first) 4th step with her. I was so pleasantly surprised when I finally made the committment to sit down and do it. She shared so many similar experiences to what I was sharing (I never would have guessed in a million years!) and we really entered into a whole new level of our sponsor sponsee relationship. I can honestly say that this woman now knows more about me than anyone else on the planet and I wouldn't have it any other way. She is the one person I have chosen to trust will ALL of my "stuff" and I periodically do other 4th and 5th steps with her just to work through situations with people and institutions in my past.

My vote is for sticking with telling your sponsor but, it does just say "another human being" and either way, you are bound to get some relief from the experience. For me and my sponsor it created a whole new level of trust that I've never really experienced and didn't know to expect.

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:52 am

Thanks for sharing talulah!!! I appreciated reading your experience and suggestions. Welcome to the site! I hope you'll come back often! I think you've got something that needs to be shared! And, it can be of help to many of us.

Best regards,

Dallas B.

Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:24 pm

Steps 4 and 5 and the sponsor

Postby jreads » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:25 pm

I know this thread is kinda old, but it raises some interesting and helpful points that mean a lot to me. One is "inventory of what?" The other is "with your sponsor or not."

I did my first fourth step with my counselor in rehab. He was an AA, which made a big difference to me. He had really big credibility from my point of view. He also threw out my first one, and got me started over. I did a thorough review of the things I did wrong with my drinking. He said, "Good, but you need to do a thorough inventory of your LIFE." OMG! But I think I accomplished what I needed...and I am glad.

I am sponsoring someone now, and he has done his fourth and fifth with me. He is ok with that, and I think he did very good, and understands that he will do them again. I am more than ok with him doing the steps with me, because it helps me drag my sorry head through my own stuff again, and that is good for me. I am not leaning on him, asking him to take my fourth and is all happening in my head as he does his. Amazing.

Hence I would advocate giving serious consideration to your sponsor...might not work for everybody, but the sponsor has expected and probably received the same confidentiality you need and want, and may be well positioned to both really understand well what you are doing and keep it as it should be. A sign to listen for may be your sponsor telling you it would be good for him/her, too!

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:38 pm

What helps me, more than anything else -- is my efforts taken to help someone else. It seems like -- that's just how it works. Each time that I get to take another one through the Steps -- I get to go through them again. And, each time that I do -- I get better results and a better understanding for me.

Thanks for sharing.


Return to “12 Step Sponsors Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest