Step Five

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

Step Questions
Leader's Share

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Recovery;

Here are the questions that pertain to step 5.


  1. List what affirmative actions, within the confines of the program, you have taken during the last week. Have you surrendered your food, life, and will over to God? If not, make a detailed list of what is standing in your way.

  2. Were there any step four questions you could not answer, and why?

  3. List those areas you listed in the childhood questions from step four that are causing you problems today.

  4. List those areas you listed in the adolescence questions from step four that are causing you problems today.

  5. Are you ready to forgive those who have hurt you? If not, list the reasons why not. Remember, to forgive is not to excuse the other personís actions but rather to be able to release the feelings from inside your heart.

  6. For each person you are ready to forgive, say the following prayer to God, as you understand God, out loud:

    1. Thank you God for allowing me to lift to you those things in my life that are causing me a heavy burden in my heart.

    2. Tell God whom the person is you want to forgive.

    3. Acknowledge to God that what the person did to hurt you was wrong.

    4. Tell God how the wrong has affected you and how it makes you feel (it is ok to cry if you need to). Tell God everything about how you feel.

    5. Ask God to forgive the person who hurt you.

    6. Ask God to give you the willingness to forgive the person who hurt you.

    7. Ask God to give you an opportunity to share your experience with someone in program to help him or her in their recovery.

    8. Say this prayer for each person once per day for at least seven days.

  7. Step 5 tells us to admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Part of working step #5 means to CONFESS our wrongs to God.

    The acrostic for confess is:

            C - Confess our shortcomings, resentments, and sins. We need to own up to the wrongs discovered in our inventory.

            O - Obey God's directions. We confess our wrongs to God and we share them to another human being. We follow step #3, by turning our will over to the care of God.

            N - No more guilt. The "CON" is over! For positive things to start, we need to "FESS" up.

            F - Face the truth. Recovery requires honesty. We stop denying our true feelings.

            E - Ease the pain. We are only sick as our secrets!

            S - Stop the blame. We cannot find peace and serenity if we continue to blame others or ourselves. Our secrets have isolated us from ourselves.

            S - Start accepting God's forgiveness.

            What value do you see in confessing, coming clean of the wreckage of your past? If you obey God and do His will, what results do you expect?

  8. In Step #5, we are asked to read our inventory three times, once to ourselves, second to God, and third to another human being. Why? Most of us find it easier to read our inventory to ourselves and God, but have difficulty reading to another, why? What is your biggest fear of sharing your inventory to another person (or to the loop)?

  9. Review what happened to you when you wrote your inventory. Your feelings, your hopes and your defects. Discuss what happened when you finally took Step Five. How did you feel afterward?

  10. Discuss how your disease has made you vulnerable to acting emotionally and taking that first compulsive bite.

  11. Now that we have completed our fourth step inventory, sometimes things come up that we did not think about while we were writing the inventory. Is this true in your case? If so, list in detail the things that have come up.


        I have been listening to God more than before during the last week. I have surrendered my food and my life over to God because He will always manage it a whole lot better than I can.

        I have worked through the childhood and adolescent issues in past inventories and it is such a joy to be free from the hurts.

        I have forgiven all the people who hurt me in my past. As people come around now days that are hurtful, I learned to stop, take a deep breath, and forgive them.

        Cleaning up the wreckage of my past frees me from the bondage of the past. Living in the past and rehashing things that were done to me and the things I have done, only keeps me out of the present. Dealing with my resentments in my second inventory gave me freedom. A friend in AA told me once that resentment is "giving the other person free rent to my brain!" The information shared in all of my inventories must be shared with my self, to God, and another person. Steps #3 and #11 tells us to follow God's will. By doing what God wants me to do and constantly seeking His instructions keeps me focused on life around me rather than me, me, and me. I pray for God's will for me and I ask Him to deal with my resentments, guilt, and shame on a daily basis.

        It is important to acknowledge all of my hurts to myself and to feel the feelings while in recovery. In my past, these feelings drove me to eat and I never acknowledged myself feeling sad, lonely, or depressed. Acknowledging and feeling the feelings allows me to grow and to place the old tapes inside of my head into perspective. Reading my inventory to God allows me to receive His grace and forgiveness. God also allows me to ask Him to help me forgive the people in my past that caused me harm. It was hard for me to answer some of my own questions, let it alone share with everybody on this loop. Sharing with other human beings is the hardest part. However, only by sharing with others I can receive healing from my past wounds and hurts. I have always been uncomfortable sharing with others because I do not like being judged. I was judged, shamed, and put down throughout my childhood and adolescence. Being able to share my answers and to read your answers has made me feel especially close to each and every one of you.

        Step #5 also makes me acknowledge my strengths, not just what went wrong.

        I am most definitely "On the Road to Recovery" one day at a time. I feel that as my program progresses, I will still continue to learn. This fourth step is my sixth fourth step. Answering the questions, acknowledging my answers, praying to god, and sharing my answers to each of you have made my program blossom over the last three weeks. It is no secret that my favorite song to sing in church is "The Road to Recovery."

        Each time I do the 4th step, the memories that come up make me feel sad. I realized how important to feel that I am a part of and to feel accepted by others. I shared at a bible study that I used to think of God being there just for the elite few. Step #5 allows me to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses as well as my hurts and sadness so I can turn them over to God. Only God can heal me of these feelings if I turn them over to Him. Today, I am feeling that I really do have a purpose in life and that I really do matter to God.

        When in the heights of my disease, I never acted emotionally to anything because I was so "plugged" with the food. After abstinence and working the steps, I have become more sensitive to people and situations that make me uncomfortable. I am learning not to act out of emotion and to be able to confront issues in a positive way. The main issue today for me is acceptance by others. Growing up thinking that nobody likes or cares about me. In program, I learned that there are plenty of people that care about me and I need to focus on the people who like me. The things that make me want to eat are acceptance by others and fear of financial insecurity.

        Up to the time I started program, I felt that I was a mistake and could never do anything right. I guess this destroyed my self-confidence along with the physical abuse I endured from my classmates. Today, I know that I am not a mistake and everything I do is not wrong. I also know that the people who physically abused me were wrong to do what they did. My religion teaches me to forgive others who have hurt me in my past. I cannot change the past. I can only learn from it, forgive those who hurt me, and recognize how my actions and reactions today have been shaped by my painful childhood.

        There are people that really do love and care about me.

        Today, I ask God to take away all of the sadness and loneliness of my younger years and heal me. When I feel sad or lonely today, it is usually because of a button that was pressed that played an old tape. I immediately pray to God to life the feeling and help me cope with it. Food will never help me cope with anything except for physical hunger. Only God can help me in all other areas. Through God's unconditional love just the way I am, I do recover from this disease one day at a time.

Love In Recovery,

Dennis Tisdale

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