Step Five

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


Step Five Essay

There are three parts to this step, and all of it is concerned with bringing our sick secrets to the healing power of the daylight.

First, we have to admit to ourselves that we did things that were wrong. Sometimes it is hard to see what is wrong in a situation in which we were not really the chief perpetrator of the wrong. Was it wrong for a parent to abuse a child? Yes. Was it wrong for the child to eat to ease the pain of the abuse? No. The child was very intelligent, and found a way to survive. We have to realize that the child did not do anything deserving of abuse, and that the childís response to it was the best the child could find to do. What we are responsible for is letting this childish mode of survival live beyond our childhood. Whenever we are under stress, we turn to the same survival technique that worked once. Today it does not work. It makes matters worse. Our true character defect here is that we allowed what worked at one time to become an addiction. We did not make a transition in a timely manner from our reactions to our childhood traumas to our reactions to an adult world in which we now live. What we got once is survival; what we are getting now is death. The parent may have helped us start down a road, but we continued on it under our own steam, until we became addicts, and for that we are responsible. And we are responsible for the results of our addiction. We ate to isolate and to stuff feelings, so we were never fully present to our own lives, or to others who may have loved us. Being honest to God and to ourselves is hard enough.

But then, we have to admit our wrongs, our defects, to another person. Many of us are terrified of this part of the step. What will that person say to us? What will they think of us? How will they react to us? Can we trust them with our secrets?

If we have chosen our person carefully, there will be no difficulty. Note that we are being asked to tell, but they are not being asked to comment or react. The other person is there simply to hear us into speech. Spoken words have power, and in this case, the power is the power to change our lives. That is why many people seek out experienced sponsors, very close friends, or ministers or counselors with training and experience. And it is fitting to do so. We need to be certain that the person we speak with is not someone who is going to appear on our amends list, I think, as that complicates things unnecessarily.

People who have taken this step before have one piece of advice to the newcomer: Donít be afraid. The prospect may be daunting, but the reality is quite different.

And weíll never be able to say weíve gotten completely honest until we do. This step begins the process of turning our character defects, our wrongs, over to the Healer, our Higher Power. If your Higher Power isnít a healer, get another one today.



Step Five Prayer:

Higher Power, my inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for Your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to You. Assure me, and be with me, in this Step, for without this Step I cannot progress in my recovery. With Your help, I can do this and I will do it.

1. Have you completed this step, or at least have a specific appointment with someone to do so?

2. Did you find the process as frightening as you may have feared?

3. Tell us how you felt after you had completed it.

4. Next week we will go to Step Six. If you have not completed Step Five, you are not ready to go to Step Six. If you are not ready, do you realize that you are in danger of mot working the Steps? Do you realize that you canít pick and choose which Steps you want to work, that we have to work them all, and that the order of them is also important?

Please donít fade away now. We are not on an easy road, but we are on the road to recovery, and that is worth everything to us. Believe me, itís worth the effort.


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