Dear Fellow Travelers:
Step 5 reads:
Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
My name is Donna and I am a compulsive eater.
In Step 4, we have engaged in a process which leads us to self-discovery. We have inventoried our fears, resentments, and swollen instincts. We now have a better idea of the things which are standing in our way, as we try to recover from our addiction. We have looked and found patterns in our lives, which need to be accepted and turned over.
Step 5 is the first step, in turning them over.
To me, the middle part of the step is the simplest. I admit my wrongs to myself. If I have done Step 4 honestly, I have already looked at and assesed these character defects. So, unless you just wrote the faults down and wiped them completely out of your mind - without any contemplation whatsoever - you have already admitted your wrongs to yourself. Remember: this is NOT intended to make you beat up on yourself and say "oh WOW I am such a terrible person!" It is intended to help you say "these are my character defects. They are part of who I am for today. I accept them"
You might think that admission to God is also simple; as simple as reading the paper out loud, while praying, meditating or otherwise connecting to your HP. And for some people it can be that simple. But, as individual as each person's concept of HP is, that is how individual this process can be. For example, an old-time Catholic might see it as a need to bring some of their self-discoveries to confession. Only you know what it will take; for you to honestly present your Higher Power with your defects.
It can reasonably be argued that if your Higher Power is truly greater than yourself, they already know about your character defects ... so why restate them? The answer to this is that your HP is not the one who has to recover. You do. Presenting your defects to your HP is part of the process of accepting them, and of stating exactly what it is that you are turning over to HP.
For some people, the hardest part of step 5 is discussing our character defects with someone else. How difficult it is, to share such personal things! If you have never done this before, I suggest you think hard about who you will share your inventory with. If you trust your sponsor, that is often the best person to share your inventory with. Your sponsor will not judge you, or say "Oh my God you did WHAT???" They understand all too well, as they will have done step 5 themselves.
I remember the first time I did step 5. My sponsor at the time was an older woman who was very quiet and reserved. Some of the things I needed to share caused me great shame. I was afraid I would shock her or disgust her. But all she said was the usual: "thank you for sharing that. Now, today's assignment is....."
If you do not feel comfortable sharing your inventory with your sponsor, you are not required to do so. You may choose a friend, a lover, a clergyperson, a sibling, a parent, or another program person. The only thing you MUST do is to share it all and share it honestly.
For today; for this week, the sharing will be enough. It is not always easy to share our inventory, but every time I do it I feel an intense relief, and a renewed closeness to the person that I share with. One suggestion I have heard is to find someone in Program who you trust, and both of you share your inventories with each other. That is a very good thing to do, if you can find someone you trust.
I wish you courage, joy, honesty, serenity, acceptance and closure in sharing your Step 4
Donna, food addict
1. How do I feel, about being completely honest about sharing the details of my past with another human being?
2. How does my Higher Power help me; to leave rationalization behind, and not blame others?
3. HAve I gone back over my Step 4, and acknowledged each truth about my behavior, no matter how painful or embarassing?
4. Can I see any pattern(s) in my Step 4, which help me to identify which feelings have led me to acting out on my character defects?
5. In sharing my inventory with another person, what did I learn about:
Donna, food addict