Why do so many of us resist the 4th and 5th Steps? Is it because we are ashamed and fearful of what we will find, let alone having to disclose it to "another person?" Are we afraid that if we share what we might find, we will be more alone than ever?
Bill W. insightfully writes in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" that we tend to suffer from a sense of "anxious apartness." Ironically, it is this sense of "anxious apartness" which seems to keep us from taking a deep, honest and thorough 4th Step, yet it is precisely this sense of "anxious apartness" that the Fourthth and Fifth Steps are designed to eradicate.
In an insightful, 'must-see video' from Ted.com, one of those 'so-called normal people', Dr. Brené Brown (a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work), talks about everyone's sense of connectedness, shame, worthiness, courage and vulnerability. She notes that we are wired biologically for "connectedness, and that"shame" is really "the fear of disconnection," and an almost-universal emotion.
We are afraid, Brown says, that if someone really "saw" us they would find us unworthy of being connected to. The "courageous" among us, however, she says are those who are willing to embrace their vulnerabilies and their fear of being disconnectedness and ostracized if they allow themselves to really "be seen."
Ms. Brown takes us through the story of her intensive research into "shame," shares how this research took her into her own dark places, and tells how the resulting nervous "breakdown" led her to her own "spiritual awakening."
The truly "courageous" are those, she observes, who believe (or, presumably 'come to believe') "their vulnerabilities are what make them beautiful."
The video may perhaps be an explanation to those of us going through the 12 Steps for the first time why Alcoholics Anonymous does not suggest but, rather, begs us "to be fearless and thorough from the very start." And, perhaps it will serve others as a reminder that we are not bad people trying to be good, but that we are sick people striving to get well.