By: Kathryn G.
Step five states “We admitted to God to ourselves and do another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
When I first got clean, this step freaked me out more than any other. The thought of having to tell another human being all the stuff in my inventory and that I had done in my using, absolutely horrified me. When I was in treatment and I was trying to find myself a sponsor, I kept this step in the back of my mind as I was looking. I knew I needed to find myself someone who I felt like I could be completely honest with so that when I got to my fifth step I would be comfortable or at least willing to be honest with her. After all, this was my life we were talking about and at the end of the day everything begins and ends with me and if I’m not willing to save my own life, no one else will. I felt like step five was the key to my future.
Our literature states that step five is not just a reading of our fourth step inventory. I can read the literature and write on my steps but it’s not until it actually comes out of my mouth that it starts to become real and I can stop denying who and what I am. In going over my inventory with my sponsor, we get down to the exact nature of my wrongs and any patterns in my behavior that present themselves over and over and continue to wreak havoc in my life. It’s so important to go over these things with another person because I am not capable of seeing them on my own. This is where I start, for the first time, to see what my defects of character are and that comes in handy for my remaining steps.
Our literature also states that we run the risk of exaggerating our wrongs during this step. I remember feeling like I was the worst person in the world and that no one else was as horrible as I was. What I found when I went over this step was that I wasn’t as horrible as I thought and that I had some assets too. I learned what humility was. I learned that I am no better and no worse than anyone else. I learned that I am not unique. I also learned that I don’t have to be defined by my past behaviors. I have the opportunity now to learn from my mistakes and to behave better the next time. I remember feeling a huge weight being lifted off of me after my first fifth step. I had been holding onto all that baggage for years and it was such an amazing feeling to unload it and still feel love and acceptance from my sponsor.
I used for years over a lot of that stuff and I learned I didn’t have to use because of it anymore. I didn’t have to use over anything anymore. There isn’t anything in this world that I could do or could happen to me that I couldn’t make it thru clean. I choose to keep coming back, sharing with other addicts what I am going thru and continue to put in the work. I have great appreciation for the fifth step. It isn’t a step to be feared. Taking a look at ourselves and letting go of what causes us problems and hanging on to the good parts is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves. So I am going to keep coming back and I hope you do too.