“…so does one man sharpen another.” – Proverbs 27:17
Steel on Steel is about accountability. It is about inventory. But more than that, it is about fellowship. Much like how religious denominations have small groups, Steel on Steel allows us to share intimate parts of our personal lives with people we trust and confide in. This is not for people relying upon half measures to stay sober. It is not a middle-of-the-road solution. Steel on Steel is for those earnestly seeking emotional and spiritual growth. If you are not looking for intensive work, one alcoholic/addict with another, this group is not for you.
I see a couple of different principles at work here: one, continuing personal inventory and promptly admitting when we are wrong (Step 10)…two, admitting to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs (Step 5). In routinely examining one’s own defects of character we allow ourselves to change and evolve towards God’s perfect vision. We become more useful to others when we are able to overcome our own difficulties, and this must start at the ground level. Without a solid foundation the structure of emotional stability will fall. Without improving upon that structure and maintaining the spiritual tools we use to practice the program, the foundation stands alone. Continue, improve and practice is the essence of Steel on Steel.
So, this is not for those who are new to the 12 step program. Steel on Steel is not a group for newcomers. In fact, it is suggested that one should be at least through with their amends process (Step 9) before attempting to join a Steel on Steel group. We clear away the wreckage of our past and continue to practice the principles that have led us thus far. Steel on Steel is not a men’s group. As a matter of fact, my sponsor’s wife is part of Steel on Steel. It is my opinion that anyone interested in doing what they can to stay ‘on the beam’ will benefit.
However, we must be wise about who we include in our group. Just as we scrutinize who is to hear our 5th step, so must we be just as careful in choosing who is to join our Steel on Steel. We want close-mouthed, understanding people who are as serious about staying sober as we are. I have such men in my own group. We all have different lengths of sobriety, me being the baby at 4 years. One guy has 8 years, another 14 and the old-timer of our group has 20+ years. This is a nice balance. Two of us are married, and the other two are single. I have found this adds an interesting dynamic and offers alternating views on relationships and how we conduct our personal affairs. This is what I implore people to do who are planning to form a Steel on Steel group. Keep it simple and remain open-minded and willing to listen. It can be hard for certain long-termers to receive advice from a person with only a couple of years sober. But, this is another element in the cement that binds a Steel on Steel group together: deflation of the ego and true humility.