Step Five

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi everyone
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
Before we begin with step five let me answer two general interest questions.

QUESTION: My first "sexual encounter" was a rape. How should I look at that
I dealt with it in the resentment section. Now what?

ANSWER: Being raped is not your fault.
The only thing you have to deal with is the resentment you carry now
Do it according to what I wrote on resentments.
The important thing to remember is that you don't have to forgive the rapist

You have to get him out of your mind in order to get rid of the resentment since it damages you.
You have to deal with the resentment by praying to have H.P., remove it, Be aware that the resentment damages you.
and that you use it now to justify all kinds of self damaging Behaviour by you.
Repeat in writing the awareness that you damage yourself, that the rapist is spiritually sick and pray to H.P.,to remove the resentment.
Do this on a daily basis till you are free of the resentment.
In a lot of cases one needs therapy by a professional in addition to the twelve steps.
The big book recommends turning to professionals for help when needed. See page 133.

The sex inventory in the Big Book deals with damage you did to others not with damage they did to you.
You deal with harm done to you by the resentment inventory and often by the fear inventory too.

QUESTION: How do you recommend we approach the steps, particularly Step 4, when we're doing them for a second, third, fourth, or later time?
I have found as I used the method you're setting out for us that I've definitely added new things.
For example, by doing the fear inventory as you outline from the AABB, I came up with new things to consider.
In other cases I've looked back over my earlier inventory and found that I did it well enough the first time, I think.
I don't want to spend too much time with navel-gazing, but I want to be thorough, so my recovery is thorough. I'd appreciate your insights into this process.

ANSWER: There is a very simple rule to follow.
It doesn't matter how many times you did step 4 before this one.
What matters is the following:
You write an inventory of resentments that you have now about your past and present, and about fears you have now about the past present and future, and harm done to others that you didn't amend.
If it turns out that you had the same resentments, fears, and harms in previous inventories, it means that your work isn't done and you have to do it again.
In short we don't write again about things that were healed or got rid of.
But we do write again if they were not healed or I didn't get rid of them.

Now It is time to move on to step five.

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

Let us have a look at what it says here. First the word "wrongs"
The Big Book uses different words as synonyms.
So, character defects=wrongs=faults=mistakes=flaws=liabilities.

Next let us look at "the exact nature of our wrongs."

In the early days of AA the sponsor and the sponsee did the steps together and that included step four and therefore also step five.
See for example Bill's Story pages 9-16, and also the story "He Sold Himself Short", pages 258-267 fourth edition.
Pay special attention to page 263.
Today most sponsees write their inventory alone and then meet their sponsor or someone else suitable to do step 5.

So it got to be the common custom to read the inventory to the sponsor when doing step five.
But step five doesn't say read your inventory.
It says admit the exact nature of your wrongs (character defects).
So we have to do some written preparations in addition to our written inventory in order to do what steps five asks of us.
I asked you to do just that in my last share on step four and called it preparatory assignment for step 5.

Now let us look at the part of step five that says:
"Admitted to God to ourselves and to another human being..."
How do we admit to God?
We ask H.P., to guide us and help us see our character defects clearly and the way they affect our lives and feed our addiction.
Remember that asking is a prayer.
After asking we read our inventory.

How do we admit it to ourselves?
We read our inventory again trying to see if we missed something, and read again our character defect list that we prepared for step five..

The Big Book tells us that we can choose a suitable person to do our step five with.
Today the prevalent custom is to do step 5 with our sponsor.
It also makes a lot of sense. Since we are in frequent contact with our sponsor and share our life with him.
Our sponsor helps us to apply the program in all our affairs.
The sponsor also works the program and knows about anonymity and is usually understanding and not affected.
In doing step 5 we read our inventory and our defect list to our sponsor or to someone who understands.

The Big Book stresses that we cannot skip this step since if we skip it we jeopardize our recovery.
In fact we cannot skip any step.
The Big Book also emphasizes the necessity of not procrastinating and doing step 5 immediately after finishing to write step four.

What about the person who listens to our step five.
The Big Book says that he should "be able to keep a confidence,
that he fully understand and approve what we are driving at;
That he will not try to change our plan"
It is not his job to judge or criticize us. It is not his job to approve of us.
It is not his job to tell us that what we share is not as bad as it sounds, since then we may think that we don't really need to take steps to change it

It is not his job to forgive us.
He is not God and this is not about forgiveness.
It is about cleaning our soul by sharing with another human being, the things that block us from God.
This is just another step on the path to recovery.

It is his job to help us see the truth about ourselves.
He does this by listening.
He does this by drawing our attentions to points that we don't see clearly.
Especially character defects that are obvious to him from what we share, but we don't see them or recognize them.

If you have not set up a date to do step five with your sponsor or another suitable person do it immediately.
The Big Book says we should not waste any time.
Of course you have to finish writing your inventory till then.

2. Read step five in the A.A 12&12.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.


1. On page 75 we are promised that certain things will happen after we take step 5. Copy those promises. After you take step five share which of the promises materialized or begin to materialize in your life.

2. Mark and copy the sentences on page 75 that tell you what to do after step five.

3. Thank God that you know Him better. Why does the big book say that we know God better after step five?

4. Read every one of the first 5 steps on page 59.
For each step ask yourself if you have not omitted anything.
If you did, then complete it.

5. The big book gives a pictorial description of the steps as an arch through which we walk to freedom from our disease
Answer the following:
Is your work solid so far?

Are the corner stones and the keystone properly in place?
(cornerstone mentioned in We Agnostics page 47, keystone in How It Works page 62-keystone is the stone at the top of the arch)

Have you skimped on the cement put in the foundation?
(cement, two parts is mentioned in There is a Solution page17)

Have you tried to make mortar without sand? Remember that there are two parts to the cement.

Is your foundation solid? (Foundation mentioned in BILL'S STORY page 12)

If you can answer all those questions to your satisfaction you are ready for step six.

6. After you do step 5, share the experience with us.

1. Read page 76, first paragraph in the Big Book.
What does it say about step six.
Can you give a reason for the short treatment of this step?
2. Read step six in the AA 12&12 pages 63-69 mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.

Send your answers to the assignments to:

Send your questions and comments on my shares to me

Workshop leader

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