A.A . experience has taught us we cannot live alone with our pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them . If we have swept the searchlight of Step Four back and forth over our careers , and it has revealed in stark relief those experiences we’d rather not remember , if we have come to know how wrong thinking and action have hurt us and others , then the need to quit living by ourselves with those tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent than ever . We have to talk to somebody about them .
What are we likely to receive from Step Five ? For one thing , we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we’ve always had . Almost without exception , alcoholics are tortured by loneliness . Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off , nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong . Either we were shy , and dared not draw near others , or we were apt to be noisy good fellows craving attention and companionship , but never getting it — at least to our way of thinking . There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand . It was as if we were actors on a stage , suddenly realizing that we did not know a single line of our parts . That’s one reason we loved alcohol too well . It did let us act extemporaneously . But even Bacchus boomeranged on us ; we were finally struck down and left in terrified loneliness .
When we reached A.A . , and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand , the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting . We thought the isolation problem had been solved . But we soon discovered that while we weren’t alone any more in a social sense , we still suffered many of the old pangs of anxious apartness . Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts , and had listened to someone else do the same thing , we still didn’t belong . Step Five was the answer . It was the beginning of true kinship with man and God.