We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, communication and caring.

Step Six has a clear message—get ready for some changes! The first three Steps showed us we couldn’t change on our own, but that we could find the power needed to change. Then Step Four helped us
recognize our defects. Step Five allowed us to get rid of much of our shame. With Step Six we become willing to have our Higher Power remove these defects. We don’t have to let go of behaviors. We just
need willingness to allow our defects to be removed. The more we work the RCA program, the more willing we become.

Every recovering couple has dysfunctional patterns of behavior. These patterns typically occur at times of stress, over-extension, or depletion. Often these happen during an opportunity for intimacy. One or both partners elect to avoid closeness by going to their old patterns. Recovering couples need to recognize these patterns.

Here are some warning signs that old patterns are resurfacing:
  • Arguing repetitively
  • Falling into frequent periods of denial
  • Communicating non-productively
  • Suffering extreme over-extension or depletion
  • Making statements we do not really mean
  • Taking actions we regret
  • Fighting about issues that are not important
  • Stating “You always. . .” or “You never. . .

We suggest listing your dysfunctional patterns. Make these lists together and pick a time to talk when you are both feeling balanced. You are now ready. Enjoy the process. See the humor.

Open up to healing in your coupleship. Always start by reading the Safety Guidelines aloud. Take your piece of paper and gather more information for your coupleship by answering the following questions:
  1. What are your dysfunctional patterns of relating?
  2. What are your dysfunctional patterns of communicating?
  3. What are your dysfunctional patterns of caretaking?
  4. What are your dysfunctional patterns of nurturing each other?
  5. What are your dysfunctional patterns of being sexual?
  6. What are your dysfunctional patterns of fighting?

If, as a couple, we don’t work on our relationship, similar issues will likely surface with subsequent partners. This means that we should practice couple recovery with our partner now. Our couple
issues in this relationship are probably the same as they were in previous relationships.
We admitted to God, to each other, and to another couple the exact nature of our wrongs.

Most of us choose to share our Fifth Step with a sponsoring couple or another couple who has been in the RCA program long enough to have worked the Twelve Steps. It is also important to share this inventory with a couple who seems to be living the program. This process of doing the Fifth Step is a vehicle to self-acceptance. This may be difficult because of shame. However, this is your opportunity to have shame transformed into humility.

We suggest you begin with a moment of silence and then the Serenity Prayer, followed by reading the Safety Guidelines. We encourage you to record your experiences in a journal and to get feedback from the sponsoring couple. We find sharing honestly and openly with other couples to be healing, because we realize our coupleship is accepted in spite of our dysfunctional behavior. Step Five frees us to begin anew.

(For information on sponsors and what to do if sponsors who have worked the Steps are not available, see the section on sponsorship in Chapter IV)
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our relationship together as a couple.

We suggest you look at the impact of your individual behavior on the coupleship. First you may share your individual inventories. Next you can complete your coupleship inventory. The goal of these inventories is to gain awareness of the extent of our dysfunction. We all need to be fearless in our inventories. When a couple is able to face their reality honestly, they can grow in their love. Here are some questions that may help you in your individual inventory:

  1. Unfinished Business: In what ways have I failed to raise issues with my partner, letting those unresolved issues build resentments?
  2. Hyper-vigilance: In what ways have I looked for things to go wrong?
  3. Self-Responsibility: In what ways have I failed to take responsibility for my actions?
  4. Comfort and Feelings: In what ways have I not shared uncomfortable feelings with my partner?
  5. Accuracy and Honesty: In what ways have I placated my partner or avoided sharing my own perceptions?
  6. Connection: In what ways have I not been available to my partner? In what ways have I sought to connect?
  7. Stress: In what ways have my over-extension and stress affected my partner?
  8. Separateness: In what ways have I developed a separate life from my partner?
  9. Personal Needs: In what ways has my partner needed to guess or been expected to know my needs? Have I clearly asked for these needs to be met?
  10. Shaming and Blaming: In what ways have I sought to shame or blame my partner?
  11. Pain Thresholds: In what ways have I tolerated emotional pain that was unnecessary and caused distance from my partner?
  12. Choice Clarity: In what ways have I been unclear about my choices, leaving things undecided or up to my partner?
To complete your couple inventory, review together the following questions and record your answers on paper. Writing helps to organize your thoughts and beliefs. Please begin by reading aloud the
Safety Guidelines.

Please answer the following questions as a couple:
  1. In what ways have we let fears or resentments interfere with our coupleship? How has that affected our intimacy?
  2. In what ways have we created crises when there weren’t any?
  3. In what ways have we fought that never accomplished anything?
  4. In what ways have we neglected our coupleship?
  5. In what ways have we avoided being intimate?
  6. In what ways have we pretended our problems did not exist?
  7. In what ways have we isolated from couples and friends who could have supported our coupleship?
  8. In what ways have we allowed ourselves to become depleted, leaving nothing to give to each other?
  9. In what ways have we tolerated abuse?
  10. In what ways have we had losses (never having achieved financial goals, having children with problems, having a dysfunctional sexual relationship, etc.)?
  11. In what ways have we grieved these losses?
  12. In what ways have we treasured our partner and the coupleship? What are our strengths as a couple?
Having gained a better understanding in Step Four of how frequently our problems arose from within us rather than as a result of external hostile forces, many of us found it very freeing to reveal our
problems to another couple—often our sponsor couple. Although sharing our problems was often intimidating, the relief we felt was enormous when we found that we were accepted. While we may have believed that we were unique in our problems before taking Step Five, we often learned that the couple with whom we shared our inventory had experienced many of the same issues.
We made a decision to turn our wills and our life together over to the care of God as we understood God.

Together two people in a committed relationship form a coupleship, a oneness, a distinct and separate entity. This coupleship has a life of its own and needs to be nurtured. Couple recovery depends on this
nurturance. Each partner needs individual recovery such as meetings, sponsorship, support groups, spirituality, recreation, vocation, and individual interests. The coupleship needs these same elements for couple recovery.

Trust is a major issue for most couples, since almost all couples have had trust violated in the past. Just as Step Two focused on what we decided to trust together, Step Three focuses on how we decide to turn our coupleship over to our Higher Power.

Letting go of outcomes is especially helpful. Many of us feel compelled to control events, believing that our happiness depends on resolutions favorable to us, only to find disappointment when the
happiness we expect is only temporary or nonexistent. In spiritually centered coupleships, we simply do our best, while leaving the outcome to our Higher Power.

Some couples find “Higher Power Boxes” helpful to visualize relinquishing control. Couples write their relationship problems down and place them in the box, symbolically turning them over to their
Higher Power. Similarly, some couples make a ceremony of burning their problems or having the tide wash them away.

The practice of meditation and prayer, especially the Serenity Prayer, is the spiritual bulwark of most couples. Focusing on insight, courage, willingness, and acceptance seems to be the key to letting go.

Becoming more integrated in an RCA group is a vital part of any Third Step. Sharing our fears and stories at the group and sponsor level is an emotional letting go. It also allows us to relate to others, breaking our sense of isolation and uniqueness. Participation in a meeting can lead to a change in perspective and a return to sanity. “Letting go” also means “not going alone.” Many couples go on a “spiritual quest” as part of their Third Step. Spiritual quests vary widely, but could include the
  • Starting each day with thanksgiving
  • Reading spiritually significant literature together
  • Meditating
  • Going to a house of worship or other spiritually significant place
  • Going to recovery groups
  • Praying
  • Going on a spiritual retreat together
These quests could take days, months, or even years. We hope that your own spiritual outlook as a couple will be deepened. We encourage you to write down a quest agreement. This could be in
longhand or printed suitable for framing and witnessed by friends or your sponsors. This is a truly warm, supportive, and validating experience for all involved. Additionally, we suggest that you chair an RCA Step meeting, and share your experience, strength, and hope with other couples.

Ultimately, Step Three involves turning our relationship over. Many of us find it important to do something significant, even formal, to celebrate our spiritual renewal, such as a re-dedication of couple vows in the presence of friends. This may occur anywhere: in a place of worship, at an informal gathering such as a picnic, or at home. We invite you to be creative and have a personally memorable event celebrating your increasing commitment to each other and to the relationship.

We recognize that we are on a spiritual path together. Placing our relationship in our Higher Power’s hands would mean the end of power struggles and seeking to control. We make a decision. We surrender. This is the spiritual principle upon which Step Three rests.
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to commitment and intimacy.

In Step One we admitted we were powerless over our relationship. Step Two involves coming to some mutual understanding of what we trust as a couple, and what we believe. This is the beginning of a
spiritual quest. We seek to blend our traditions and to find meaning as a couple. We do this by first identifying our individual beliefs about a Higher Power. Once both partners have their own vision of a Higher Power, we can seek those aspects that are common to both of us; these become our couple’s Higher Power. Individuals within the coupleship may each have a separate vision of a Higher Power, but many couples believe there should be a goal of a mutual Higher Power shared by both partners.

One approach we find helpful is to cut sayings and pictures out of magazines that make us think of our Higher Power. We make collages to have a visual picture of our Higher Power. In making collages we share a deep, intimate look at our beliefs and feelings. As we share parts of ourselves, we may find a special connection. We find it helpful to frame and keep these collages accessible for our coupleship
and to share them with other couples. We are willing to accept our Higher Power and nurture our relationship with a sense of hope and freedom.

We also find writing Step Two a useful tool. We suggest you share one pencil and piece of paper as you do the Step. The following is a list of questions you may wish to consider to assist in your journey
of recovery. We suggest that you pause and read aloud the Safety Guidelines before moving forward:
  1. What family-of-origin messages about religion or spirituality have you brought into the coupleship?
  2. What kinds of instruction, modeling, teaching, etc. about religion or spirituality have you experienced?
  3. What forms of spiritual guidance have you received from your parents?
  4. Are there abuses or dysfunctional beliefs regarding couples you have learned from your religion?
  5. Are there healthy and supportive beliefs you have learned from your church, synagogue, or other spiritual path?
  6. Are there spiritual abuses you have experienced?
  7. Are there examples of one of your parents being the Higher Power in your family of origin?
  8. Are there examples of clergy or religious teachers being unkind, shaming, blaming, or belittling?
  9. Are you angry about religion, God, or your heritage?
  10. What do you accept or reject of the spiritual beliefs of your partner?
  11. Describe your vision of your Higher Power.
  12. What would it be like to have a relationship with this Higher Power?
Many of us made our partner our Higher Power. We focused on our partner and gave our partner the power to regulate our lives. Because of this, we found it necessary to find a spiritual connection
with a Higher Power, a center for our lives, rather than focusing on what others were doing. When we are spiritually centered, our partner’s actions do not bother us nearly as much as when we are not.
Additionally, it may be helpful to remember to HALT. When we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired we can lose touch with our spiritual center. We need to return to our spiritual center rather than fight with our partner.
Step Two allows us to believe that a Higher Power can restore us to commitment and intimacy. Step Three gives us an opportunity to develop a relationship with our Higher Power.
We admitted we were powerless over our relationship – that our lives together had become unmanageable.

Most of us have family-of-origin issues and all of us have a history. We may not have gotten what we needed emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually. When we were growing up there may have been abuse (physical, sexual, spiritual, or emotional), abandonment, or deprivation. We all bring “baggage” to the coupleship. The Steps teach us how to look at our baggage and how to reverse the process of blaming.

Each of us is responsible for the presence or absence of intimacy between us. As soon as each of us accepts responsibility, we are ready for Step One of RCA. Step One involves taking full responsibility for the health or disease of the relationship. Each person carries 100%.

Occasionally some couples might not be far enough along in their individual recovery (or not in recovery at all) to be able to answer the following questions, or they might get into fights or other
dysfunctional behavior simply by raising certain issues. In these cases, we encourage Step work be done only in the presence of a sponsoring couple.

Couples come into RCA at different stages. Step One involves understanding dysfunctional patterns. It also involves understanding family-of-origin issues, personality traits, and other individual issues that affect our current coupleship.

Writing is important for clarity and thoroughness. We suggest that you:
  1. Read aloud the “Safety Guidelines”.
  2. Take one pencil and one piece of paper and begin the process together. RCA is about the “we-ness” and “usness” of our relationship. In RCA, we open ourselves up to a new way of thinking and living in coupleship.
  3. Make couple decisions: Who will hold the pencil and do the writing? Are you able to share, negotiate, or compromise? Is there a power struggle? Are you ready to take the First Step?
  4. Divide the paper in half with a vertical line down the middle.
  5. Make lists of the coupleship issues over which you feel powerless.
  6. As an alternative, divide the duties of writing and dictating, or each write your own part.
We suggest you answer the following questions:
  1. What dysfunctional roles have you brought from your family of origin?
  2. What have your family-of-origin models taught you about relationships?
  3. If you have had experiences of abuse, how have those affected your ability to relate, to be intimate, and to be sexual?
  4. How do your individual addictions or dysfunctions affect your coupleship?
  5. What are recurring issues you never seem to resolve (e.g., how you spend money, how you spend your time together, parent, divide the household duties, celebrate the holidays, etc.)?
  6. How do these issues bring you to anger and what are your patterns of expressing anger?
  7. In what ways do you feel hopeless about your coupleship?
  8. In order to save your coupleship, what measures have you tried that haven’t seemed to work?
  9. How do you fight unfairly?
Understanding the powerlessness and unmanageability of your relationship is key. Remember, you are a beautiful and unique couple and you deserve recovery. Having surrendered thus far, you are ready to take Step Two.

This business meeting was postponed until the business meeting on January 29th because there were no items on the agenda.

New Agenda topic for January: for the keeping of the time, to use the clock that is provided by Zoom. I’ve been going to a meeting where they do that. It is really nice to see the “clock” tick the seconds down. There are several different “clocks” available & much to my surprise, it is not distracting. 

Barton irw Rebecca

Motion: PayPal account in the US be moved to Canada/Europe to not have issues of ownership for US/IRS. Voted: Unanimous to move ahead with transition. Details to be determined at a future date. Dave & Noni of Canada said they would help.

Secretary Couple Position – Oscar & Annie – out to prayer and sponsor couple to consider position. Debbie & Ruth stepped down as co-secretary couple.

Chris (irw Emma) announced now available to make changes on website.

Addendum: Treasures report was received – not available at meeting:

Amounts in USD

  Beginning Ending
Total balance *1,223.90 1,465.74


  Debit Credit
Donations   265.00
Payment fees -23.16  
Online payments 0  
  1. Treasures report delayed – login issue – will be reported next week.
  2. Service positions:
    Co- secretary couple was announced.
    Welcome couple – ( Couple has it out to prayer!)
    Contact Couple – Mandy & Dwayne (previously called list couple)
  3. Decided to remove calendar couple – not being used