Dear Fellow Travelers,
Step Five Essay
Much of our lives, prior to joining OA, was probably made up of performances, keeping the real self safely hidden behind projected images of arrogance, belligerence, shyness or humour.
In attending meetings, working with sponsors and taking the steps previous to this one, we are beginning to unwrap our true selves, for many perhaps for the first time! However by our very nature it is only natural for us to have kept something back, kept a little in reserve in case we feel the need to bolt for the door. After all, much of our energy and subsequent behaviour before recovery was spent in protecting our bruised and fragile feelings!
By now some of us may find sharing about ourselves a little easier than when we first tried it, being honest about our shortfalls a little less prickly, and trusting others with the truth about ourselves a little less painful. But it is only natural to keep a little 'something' stockpiled for "a rainy day!"
In Step Five we are asked to first focus on God, since we have already acknowledged that He is "the power greater than ourselves." Through the steps we have already completed we are learning a new way of life and are coming to the understanding that the person who walked through the doors of OA cannot be the same one who walks out. We are coming to the realization that change is a necessary path towards our recovery.
The three-part endorsement of openness and honesty towards the program and ourselves serves to bring us out of isolation and into the light of recovery in so much as it releases us from the bonds of our past.
If we are to experience a true release, then all of what we discovered about ourselves in step four needs to be brought willingly, humbly and freely before "God, ourselves and another human being."
Whilst we have already chosen our God, we need to exercise care in choosing "another human being" with whom to share "the exact nature of our wrongs."
In taking step five we will find four positive outcomes:
- Confessing will reduce the shame and guilt we have harboured around our wrong doings.
- Sharing our grief will aid expulsion of the anger, fear and resentments that have prevented us from living life to the full.
- In doing Step Five we are taking a huge step towards honesty, dishonesty being perhaps the single greatest barrier to recovery.
- Addictions by their very nature lure us into isolation; by sharing in Step Five we are breaking down the barriers built up as a result of our addictions.
In taking Step Five we will find that we experience humbleness without humiliation, perception without pride, and forgiveness without frailty.
We need to exercise care in who we chose to be our witness; we should look for someone who is able to listen to our confessions without condemnation, someone who will not use this knowledge against us. Whilst we are not looking for someone to give us answers, we need them to be open and honest enough to advise us of anything we may have omitted to mention.
This step may open painful wounds - after all many of us haven't felt this vulnerable since childhood - but we are taking great strides here and at the end of the day we already know we do not stride out alone. In examining not only our inventory but also the motives behind such events we are armouring ourselves for the journey ahead.
Like all the steps, once completed for the first time it is for living on a daily basis. "From this moment on, we begin to leave behind the character defects which have caused us so many problems in the past."
When you can see what you are dealing with, tis not so easy to fear, so simple to ignore nor so difficult to solve!