Step 5

Bees are exceptionally important to our ecosystem. They travel from flower to flower pollinating plants allowing them to form fruits and reproduce. They can also travel from one type of flower to another to create hybrid vegetation through cross-pollination. Similarly, if I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about something, I can easily cross-pollinate those negative emotions onto other situations. Next thing I know, I’m inadvertently trying to destroy the good things in my life for no apparent reason. Until I can identify and expose the place those bees came from, they will continue to spread chaos everywhere.

They say one of the most common causes of divorce today is money problems with another being a lack of communication. Money problems played a part of the downfall of my first marriage. We were both exceptionally bad with money matters and the more money we made, the more we found ourselves in debt. We did not know how to stop the cycle. We were full of shame and withdrew from each other. What started with a few little problems quickly compounded into one giant problem which was named “our marriage.” Dissolve the marriage and all our problems are solved, right… right…? Anyone…? Bueller…?

Now, there was a LOT more that contributed to that divorce; that was just one little part of it. It’s impossible for two sick people to have a healthy relationship. Neither of them know what healthy looks like. The point is that I’m bad with money whether I’m married or not. When things start getting tight and bills stop getting paid, I start getting stressed and I start placing blame. Pretty soon, I’m taking my anger out on the gas station attendant who has nothing to do with the fact that it took me $50 to fill my tank and now I don’t have enough money to pay my water bill. Next thing I know, my husband’s mad at me because we don’t have the money to pay the electricity, either, because he had to spend that money bailing me out of jail for punching the chick at the gas station.

Okay, so that’s a complete fabrication, but I’m not doing a real fifth step online. That’s the beauty of a fifth step – you don’t have to tell everyone; you can pick any trusted soul you wish. The point is to get honest with yourself, God, and another human being about what’s really got you riled up. What we’re looking for here is patterns of behavior and those big fears that seem to permeate even the most solid of relationships. And all this comes directly from our 4th step, so it’s just a matter of fearlessly naming the ill once it’s been identified. “OMG! These debt collectors aren’t out to get me for the fun of it; they’re hounding me because I am HORRIBLE with money!! Who knew!?”

Naming the wrong, the fear, the character defect is the first step to getting rid of it. We did this already in step 1 where we had to admit we were powerless over alcohol. Life’s circumstances led us to identify this powerlessness. Step 4 led us to identify these bonnets where we’ve been hiding our bees. Just like AA ruins your drinking career, steps 4 & 5 ruin our other hiding places.  We don’t have to be rid of these things yet, but once we learn to be mindful of and expose these hiding places, we will open ourselves up to the possibility of living life without all these millstones hanging around our necks.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” – Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV).

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