Step Five


"Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being
the exact nature of our wrongs."


Step Five Contents:

Introduction
Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4 and Questions for journaling
Part 5 and Questions for journaling


Step Navigator:


Step Four
Up
Index

Step Six



 
 

Step Five ~ Introduction

Greetings all!

I want to thank the Step 4 coordinator for doing such a great job, and also the loop coordinators for all they do. This loop was my introduction to OA on-line and has continued to be the only loop I'm involved in. I want to let any newcomers know that you can join WTS at any time, yet I would suggest starting with Step 1, not with Step 5 as we are about to. Feel perfectly free to start with Step 1 (please, coordinators, put out the website for the other steps) and send your responses to the loop. In recovery it is suggested we work the steps in the order they are in. I would also suggest you get a sponsor and work these steps with your sponsor, as well as here on-line. A sponsor is someone who has what we want and can guide us through the steps and the program. This person is very important to our recovery.

Today I will be giving an introduction to myself and my recovery, and tomorrow will put out the questions for this step. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited till a few days ago to start Step 5 with my sponsor. When I signed up for this a few months ago I figured this would be a great way to pressure myself into another Step 4 and Step 5. And it's working! :)

In August of 1992 the idea popped into my head to go to an AA meeting as it was the only English 12-step meeting in town (I live in Mexico). Listening to their stories, I realized I have the same disease of addiction, just that my drug of choice is food, almost all food. I am a compulsive overeater. And being the only English-speaking meeting, they received me with open arms. I started attending daily, got a sponsor who was an alcoholic and COE, and whose sponsor was an alcoholic and COE. Recovery started. Was it easy? No. That first year there was a lot of rage and anger. I realized things, like how my mother was a compulsive overeater and died at 52 from the disease (heart problems related to obesity). Does this disease kill? You bet. My 39-year-old sister had a heart attack last year, again related to her obesity. She's lucky to be alive.

I remember at 5 years old, diving into the cookie jar, stealing hot-dogs out of the refrigerator. Yes, I was born with this disease; as an adolescent, bingeing and starving. Being quite heavy in high school and feeling like the ugliest person on earth and completely isolating. Although I've never been hugely obese the mental obsession was incredibly overpowering all my life. All the opportunities lost due to wanting to stay home and just eat. Until I was 36. Glorious recovery began!

In the meantime we started OA groups there in Cancun and Cozumel which are still ongoing, I'm happy to say! Then we moved to Mexico City and life went into a topsy turvy. I wanted my old meetings. I couldn't find anything like it. Then in one trip back to Cancun I complained to my sponsor and she just smiled and told me I had the wrong attitude. I was wondering what I could get from those meetings and my attitude should be, what can I give? She turned me around and I went back to Mexico City and started attending meetings with that attitude. Then I found OA on-line in English which really got me going in the program. Recovery has been about both, face-to-face meetings and on-line.

Weight-wise I had lost the weight the first year of the program and maintained, which has been hard for me. I need to work the program even harder to maintain. Why? Because trying to lose weight was what I always did in life, maintaining has been more about looking at all my character defects, making amends, and growing in my relationship with Higher Power.

Then we moved to Tijuana, a border city just south of San Diego, California. So, once again find new meetings and a new sponsor. Luckily I have found a wonderful sponsor and have hopped around to different meetings. I still miss that "at home" feeling I had with my first AA group. In the meantime I have a husband and 3 children, (13,11,and 7) who are very aware of the OA program and what it has done for me.

What has been hard is this year I have gained twenty pounds. I go to meetings sporadically and have worked the steps infrequently. As I am an addictions therapist and have worked in treatment centers for the last 4 years that include the 12 steps in their recovery programs, my finest thinking took me to believe that being "around" the steps and recovery was the same as working the steps and recovering. Well, it's not! So this assignment is a way to jump-start. And it's already happening. Meeting with my sponsor the other day for a 5th step was truly a spiritual experience (and I'll go more into this later).

Now, regarding step 5, which is the "beginning of true kinship with man and God" (12 & 12 of AA p.6) I would like to suggest that you read Step 5 this evening so we can all be on the same track. And if you haven't done or finished your Step 4, get going on it so we can share our Step 5 experiences together. I've done half my step 5 and during the course of May will do the other half.

In Mexican OA meetings we say that any "truths" that may have come through for you in this experience, strength and hope share are from Higher Power, and any mistakes are definitely mine.

Take care, bless you in recovery and let's continue together in this incredible journey!

Louise


Up
Return to the top


Step Five ~ Part 1

"Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being
the exact nature of our wrongs."



Steps 4 and 5 are about action, unlike steps 1 through 3 which are more along the lines of thinking, reflecting and decision-making. These steps separate "the men from the boys", so to speak. Those who embark on these and the subsequent steps are the ones who will experience the promises of the program coming true in their lives. (These promises can be found on pages 83 and 84 of the AA Big Book).


So here are the questions for Step 5, Part 1:

A. How long have I been living alone with my secrets (my wrongs)?

All my life. Even though I had already done a Step 4 and 5 a few years ago, doing them again now I find much of the embarrassment and shame bubbling up. It's like there are layers to my secrets and working step 5 again is helping to drop a few more layers of those secrets. Interestingly enough, most of my deepest darkest secrets have nothing to do with food. They do have to do with the shame and embarrassment of being raised in a dysfunctional family and my reactions to that dysfunction.

B. How do I feel about admitting my wrongs (my secrets) to God, myself, and another human being?

When I think about admitting my secrets to another human being I feel excited, anxious, scared, afraid of being judged, afraid of being rejected, and afraid of being considered crazy. Admitting my secrets to God, well I figure HP (Higher Power) already knows them and sometimes I find myself wondering, does He care? Admitting my wrongs to myself, frankly I'd rather not. I'd rather focus on other things than really look at this list of wrongs and character defects.

C. Am I ready to give up my secrets (my wrongs)?

Yes!! I'm tired of carrying them around by myself. I'm also tired of judging myself so harshly because of these wrongs. I know that HP's love, acceptance and forgiveness will come to me through the person with whom I share my 5th step. That's the beauty of this Step.

.

Questions

Step 5, Part 1

A. How long have I been living alone with my secrets (my wrongs)?

B. How do I feel about admitting my wrongs (my secrets) to God, myself, and another human being?

C. Am I ready to give up my secrets (my wrongs)?


Up
Return to the top


Step Navigator:


Step Five ~Part 2

"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."

The first question is written right in the AA 12 & 12, "what are we likely to receive from Step Five?" (or, what do you hope to receive from this step?) And I will add to this one, "what have we received from Step Five" (for those who have already done a Step 5).

B. Who are you going to ask to share your Step Five?

Step 5: "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."

Greetings once again! Well, have you done your Step 5 yet or have you made your appointment to do it with someone yet? I did the first half last May and will do the second half this week. I'm looking forward to it, and yet at the same time I am a bit nervous about it.

Why do we have to seek out another human being, instead of just admitting to ourselves and to God? "Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person" (Twelve and Twelve, p. 61) Or, as Elisabeth L. says in her book "Twelve Steps for Overeaters", p. 59; "Compulsive overeating is a lonely disease. In our overeating careers all of us have done things which we're ashamed of, some related to food and some not...The more we cover up, the more isolated we become...We need the healing that comes from opening the dark corners of ourselves to another human being."

A. Do you have the feeling that you´ve been different from others, that if others really knew you, they would reject you, or they would cringe? Do you struggle to be acceptable to others when you are around them?

This is something I have struggled with all my life. I have always felt "different" from others, like no one has the thoughts I have, no one has done the things I have done. And when I did the first half of my Step 5 a few weeks ago, when I struggled to tell my sponsor about some things I did that I am extremely ashamed about, she didn't cringe, she didn't reject me. Through her smile and her loving eyes, and her loving words, she made me feel accepted and loved unconditionally. Through her, I sensed a Higher Power smiling upon me. And she kept reminding me that as I work this program I will no longer find a need to beat myself up, to compare myself to others. Eventually there will be a tranquillity inside. I sensed she was talking from personal experience, not "book-learning". In my head I knew she was telling the truth, because that's what our program tells us, but I did find my heart wanting to believe, yet a little voice saying, "naw, this can't be true!"

Yes, I do struggle a lot to be acceptable to those around me. It seems that's where almost all my energy goes. I've been in a new job since Feb. and I'm so tired of struggling. My boss has told me over and over that I'm doing fine, but you know what? I don't believe him! I have to constantly do better! And at the end of everyday I go over in my head all the mistakes I made, and that of course I shouldn't have. Even this weekend has been especially difficult as on Friday a patient made an improper joke on me in front of a group and I have been feeling humiliated and violated. But even with this, I have been tormenting myself about what did I do wrong? What did I say to him to let him think this would be okay, as I wearing the wrong kind of clothes, how did I open myself up to this? Even in this kind of situation I blame myself. That is why a Step 5 with a loving caring sponsor is so important, as oftentimes we take the blame for everything that happens to us, and all those around us! And our sponsor will help us to see we just aren't that powerful! :)

b. How is Step 5 about trust, and where are you in this business of trusting others?

To be able to tell my sponsor everything that comes to mind in Step 4, is definitely a leap in trust. I need to trust her, I hand her all my weaknesses and vulnerabilities and trust she won't step on me. And guess what? She didn't.

And regarding this business of trusting others, I think my problem is often more about how I trust others, more than even myself. And I'd like to turn that around and begin to trust myself more.

So, these are the questions for Step 5. If you have done a Step 5 during this month, please share with us your experience.

Thank you! Louise

.

Questions:

Step 5, Part 2

A. Do you have the feeling that you´ve been different from others, that if others really knew you, they would reject you, or they would cringe? Do you struggle to be acceptable to others when you are around them?

B. How is Step 5 about trust, and where are you in this business of trusting others?



Up
Return to the top


Step Navigator:





Step Five ~ Part 3


"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs ."



Greetings once again! Well, have you done your Step 5 yet or have you made your appointment to do it with someone yet? I did the first half last May and will do the second half this week. I'm looking forward to it, and yet at the same time I am a bit nervous about it.

Why do we have to seek out another human being, instead of just admitting to ourselves and to God? "Somehow, being alone with God doesn't seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person" (Twelve and Twelve, p. 61) Or, as Elisabeth L. says in her book "Twelve Steps for Overeaters", p. 59; "Compulsive overeating is a lonely disease. In our overeating careers all of us have done things which we're ashamed of, some related to food and some not...The more we cover up, the more isolated we become...We need the healing that comes from opening the dark corners of ourselves to another human being."

A. Do you have the feeling that you ve been different from others, that if others really knew you, they would reject you, or they would cringe? Do you struggle to be acceptable to others when you are around them?

This is something I have struggled with all my life. I have always felt "different" from others, like no one has the thoughts I have, no one has done the things I have done. And when I did the first half of my Step 5 a few weeks ago, when I struggled to tell my sponsor about some things I did that I am extremely ashamed about, she didn't cringe, she didn't reject me. Through her smile and her loving eyes, and her loving words, she made me feel accepted and loved unconditionally. Through her, I sensed a Higher Power smiling upon me. And she kept reminding me that as I work this program I will no longer find a need to beat myself up, to compare myself to others. Eventually there will be a tranquillity inside. I sensed she was talking from personal experience, not "book-learning". In my head I knew she was telling the truth, because that's what our program tells us, but I did find my heart wanting to believe, yet a little voice saying, "naw, this can't be true!"

Yes, I do struggle a lot to be acceptable to those around me. It seems that's where almost all my energy goes. I've been in a new job since Feb. and I'm so tired of struggling. My boss has told me over and over that I'm doing fine, but you know what? I don't believe him! I have to constantly do better! And at the end of everyday I go over in my head all the mistakes I made, and that of course I shouldn't have. Even this weekend has been especially difficult as on Friday a patient made an improper joke on me in front of a group and I have been feeling humiliated and violated. But even with this, I have been tormenting myself about what did I do wrong? What did I say to him to let him think this would be okay, as I wearing the wrong kind of clothes, how did I open myself up to this? Even in this kind of situation I blame myself. That is why a Step 5 with a loving caring sponsor is so important, as oftentimes we take the blame for everything that happens to us, and all those around us! And our sponsor will help us to see we just aren't that powerful! :)

b. How is Step 5 about trust, and where are you in this business of trusting others?

To be able to tell my sponsor everything that comes to mind in Step 4, is definitely a leap in trust. I need to trust her, I hand her all my weaknesses and vulnerabilities and trust she won't step on me. And guess what? She didn't.

And regarding this business of trusting others, I think my problem is often more about how I trust others, more than even myself. And I'd like to turn that around and begin to trust myself more.

So, these are the questions for Step 5. If you have done a Step 5 during this month, please share with us your experience.

Thank you! Louise
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Five ~ Part 3: Questions


"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."


A. Do you have the feeling that you ve been different from others, that if others really knew you, they would reject you, or they would cringe? Do you struggle to be acceptable to others when you are around them?

B. How is Step 5 about trust, and where are you in this business of trusting others?
 
 

Up
Return to the top



Step Five ~ Part 4


"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."



So, this Thursday I complete my fifth step. Am I nervous? Yes, I am. Even though I care deeply for my sponser and did the first half of Step 5 a few weeks ago, it still feels like a thorough cleaning of my insides with a real stiff brush. One sponser once told me that recovery is about going into different rooms and seeing new things, in other words experiencing life differently because of recovery. And this is what Step 5 does for me, it allows me to experience life in a different way through recovery. It is especially about not being so hard and negative and critical of myself, but I've done that for the last 30-40 years, to not do that now leaves a big hole on the inside. Yet my sponser, through her responses to my Step 4, showed me how to replace that black hole with love and positive affirmations.

1. What am I afraid of, regarding step 5?

The AA 12 & 12 (p. 63) says, "Many an AA, once agnostic or atheist, tells us that it was during this stage of Step Five that he first actually felt the presence of God. And even those who had faith already often become conscious of God as they never were before." For me, I have become conscious of God as I never had been before. I guess this is why it's so important to choose a person you completely trust to share your fifth step. It was almost as if a Higher Power had been talking through her. There was such a sense of unconditional acceptance and caring that is something we don't often experience in the world, not even with our families.

2. How did your relationship with a Higher Power change after doing the fifth step, and if you haven't done it yet, how do you hope it will change? And this question goes for agnostics, atheists, and those who already have faith.

With love in recovery, Louise
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Five ~ Part 4: Questions


Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."


1. What am I afraid of, regarding step 5?

2. How did your relationship with a Higher Power change after doing the fifth step, and if you haven't done it yet, how do you hope it will change? And this question goes for agnostics, atheists, and those who already have faith.
 
 

Up
Return to the top



Step Five ~ Part 5


"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."



This has been quite a week! I did the last part of my step 5 with my sponsor on Thursday. What an experience! This second part was easier, I was a bit more comfortable. I had gotten out my first Step 4 that I did about six years ago, and there must have been 20 pages of resentments! It was nice to see there were fewer resentments this time around. And when I went over the fears, it was incredible to see all the things I am no longer fearful of, although there are still some fears there. And strong ones! I guess what I'm saying is there was a sense of progress there, which I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't done a Step 5 again. Then Friday, getting ready for work, a strong sense of inadequacy and lack of self- confidence came over me. This time I sat and prayed about it to Higher Power. It was incredible. By the end of the day I noticed I wasn't fearful about if I were doing the right thing or not. I "acted as if" I were a knowledgeable therapist with all kinds of self-confidence. And guess what? I think I was, at least for that day! To me, this was a miracle.

Step 5 is about getting all the "gunk" out of the way so we can have a more direct channel with our Higher Power. And there's a sense that that is what's happening. And for that I am grateful.

At the very beginning of this month of May I said that steps 4 and 5 are about action, these steps separate the "men from the boys" so to speak. Those who embark on these and the subsequent steps are the ones who will experience the promises of the program coming true in their lives (pages 83 & 84 of the AA Big Book.)

My concern is so few people are writing about this step in the WTS. I'm wondering why, what's keeping you from doing these two action steps, 4 and 5? How can we assist you in moving through these blocks to do these two steps?

Have you read about the promises and is that what you want and are you willing to "go to any lengths" to experience those promises?
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Five ~ Part 5: Questions


Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs."


A. What's keeping you from doing these two action steps, 4 and 5?

B. How can we assist you in moving through these blocks to do these two steps?

C. Have you read about the promises and is that what you want and are you willing to "go to any lengths" to experience those promises?

Thank you for letting me coordinate Step 5 this beautiful month of May. I was very scared, even considered backing out, and I'm so glad that I didn't. I appreciate those who sent in their answers, they helped me a lot. And for those who didn't or couldn't, you are in my prayers. Let's do recovery together! May God bless you. Louise


Step Four
Up
Index

Step Six



 

Flowers

WTS Recovery E-mail

Copyright © 1998, The RECOVERY Group