Step Five

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Here are some questions that pertain to Step 5.

You will find my answers below in purple.

1. When people first come into program, this is one of the steps that people find most daunting. What was your attitude toward this step when you first began 12 Step? What is your attitude now? If it has changed, what helped to change it?

2. What does it mean to admit? What feelings does this word bring up for you?

3. What do you think will be harder....admitting to yourself, to another or to God? Why?

4. Why do you think this step was included in the program?

5. How will you decide whom to honor with your 5th step sharing?

6. I believe it is really important that you READ your 4th step to someone, rather than handing it to them to read, when at all possible—especially for your first 5th step. What do you think the reasons behind this might be?

7. What reactions do you expect from the person you are sharing with?

8. What reactions do you expect from God?

9. What reactions do you expect from yourself?

10. Where will you go to share your 5th step?

11. How will you prepare yourself for this important event?

Some questions to answer AFTER you have made your 5th step.

Here are my answers to these questions:

When I first came into program, I was so convinced that it was the last house on the block, I was willing to do anything (as long as it didn’t include weighing and measuring and giving up sugar! LOL), so I was not daunted by this step. I had already done much work in therapy and with another spiritual healing program, so I had already hung out much dirty biggest issue with step 4/5 was my desire to take the ‘fearless and thorough’ to heart....I had 25 typed pages and it took me about 8 months to complete....partly because I wanted to be thorough, and partly because I lost my first sponsor in the middle of the 4th step work and I had a lot of grief work to do over that before I could continue. Now I recognize that if my 4th step isn’t thorough enough, God will cause whatever I’ve missed to float up –or to smack me upside the head—so I can deal with it in a 10th I am not as worried about missing something. My experience, and the ESH of others has helped me relax around this.

admit (v.) 

late 14c., "let in," from Latin admittere "to allow to enter, let in, let come, give access," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + mittere "let go, send" (see mission). Sense of "to concede as valid or true" is first recorded early 15c.

I am a word-freak.....I once asked for (and received) an etymological dictionary for Christmas! I love that the original meaning of admit is to allow to enter. When I admit my shortcomings to another, to myself and to God, I LET THEM IN to my reality. Heaven knows I have put much, much energy over the years to prevent them from coming in. I stuffed them down with food. I stuffed them down with shopping. I stuffed them down with fear, and shame, and false feelings of inadequacy. I stuffed them behind a perfectionist façade.

When I am willing to welcome them into my life....I am able to begin the task of re-integrating the different parts of myself that I have splintered off in an effort to control my little world. AABB says that acceptance is the answer to all our problems. I have come to learn that acceptance doesn’t mean ‘it’s ok, it wasn’t that bad, don’t worry about it.’ Rather, it means, ‘This is true. And I am no longer going to put energy into wishing it were not so, hoping it will change, or resenting that it is not different.’ To me, admitting my shortcomings to God, another and myself, is a first step to this acceptance.

For me, when I did my first 5th step, it was harder to admit to God than to myself or others, because I did not trust God to be nice to me. Since then, I have not found it to be hard to take step 5, because I recognize that both God and my sponsor listen with grace, and I am getting better and better at holding my own truths—good and bad—with grace and gratitude.

I think this step was included in the program because we are only as sick as our secrets, and when we can drag our ‘dirty little secrets’ out from under the back stairs and bring them into the light...of love, acceptance, and grace, we open ourselves to healing. It is like opening up a festering wound. Once it is open, the infection can be cleared out and healing can begin.

I will share my 5th step with my sponsor, with God and with myself. I will also share it with my spiritual director.

I have decided to share with my sponsor, because she has shown me that she will hold my truths with love and generosity, kindness and understanding. 5th step is a gift, and I would not share it with someone who would treat it as less than an honor. I have decided to also share it with my spiritual director, in person, because she and I have been working on my relationship challenges, and it will help us both get an idea of where I am with this. She understands 12 steps and will honor this work. I will also share with you all because I believe that you will honor my work, as well.

I believe it is really important that you READ your 4th step to someone, rather than handing it to them to read, when at all possible—especially for your first 5th step because reading it to someone makes it real, gives it life. If I say it, I must mean it. And I have to own it. Reading it aloud is how I share it with myself, as well as with my sponsor...Having said that, I will email mine to my sponsor, as this is the second 4th step I will have shared with her in a couple of months. My very first 4th step took 2 hours to read to her....I was hunkered down in my car, with pillow and blanket (it was November and cold)....I parked where I had a beautiful view of nature, and read and read. I had privacy in the car, and that was important. Because my sponsor lives far away, face to face was not an option, but we did fine over the phone. I will, however, go somewhere into nature and read my 4th step aloud to God and to myself, as well as share it orally and in person with my spiritual director.

I expect my sponsor and my spiritual director to be respectful, loving, encouraging, empathetic and honest.

I expect God to be the same as above.

I expect myself to be kind, loving, grateful, freed, and blessed.

I will go to the park to share my 5th step with God and myself.

I will write, pray, and dress warmly! I will share it with my spiritual director at her home during our monthly meeting.

Here is my 4th step work:

Character Defect



My Experiences

Character Asset

(HP’s will)

My Experiences

Selfishness/self seeking

I have been selfish with my food...not wanting to share, hiding my food so I won’t have to share.  I can dominate a conversation, mostly because of lack of self-esteem.

Interest in others/Altruism

I am a very generous person...I share my time, talent and treasure willingly and gratefully.  I am willing to learn from others, and seek opportunities to help others.  I am getting better at being comfortable with not knowing, and admitting that I don’t know.

My Being Self-Centered

I have had to learn to be healthily self-centered, after being brought up to be co-dependent...I am still learning,where the happy medium is—but in general, this is not a CD that causes me problems.

Being Love-Centered and HP-Centered

I believe that I have been called to be the hands and feet of my HP, and as such, I try to live my life and serve others out of gratitude for all I have been given.  The love I have received from my HP and from my fellows motivates me to give back.


I have been dishonest about the reality of my relationship with my husband...

Minimizing the unhealthiness of this relationship... I have been dishonest with myself about my addiction.

I tend to be dishonest by omission rather than by direct lying.  But that is still dishonest. I do not always communicate specifically and completely with my sponsor when I am off track....I justify it by saying she is busy, but that is just a cop out.


I am making great progress in being willing to be honest about what I see—both to myself and to my spouse.  I no longer lie to myself about food. 


I have lived a life dominated and directed by fear, but I mostly no longer do that.  However, I do have fear around the fact that my husband is unemployed and is not putting much effort into looking for work.  Fear of financial insecurity is still a big hook for me. I also have fear around his addiction to computer games, surfing the net etc.  and I am afraid I will not have the courage to end this marriage if things do not improve.

Faith and Trust in HP

My feelings of faith and trust in my HP wax and wane, but I believe faith is a choice, and I choose to live in faith rather than in fear. I am working to put this more into practice, rather than keeping it theoretical.

Being Inconsiderate

I am inconsiderate when I don’t clean up after myself at home.  I am inconsiderate when I don’t make the time to see my friends, call my dad, and stay connected with my sister.  I am inconsiderate when I harp on my husband about his behavior. I am not very considerate with my husband in general—I carry a lot of resentment, and that makes it hard to be considerate. I am sometimes inconsiderate with phone solicitors.

Being Considerate

I am considerate of my students’ families when I am willing to flex around their schedule. I am considerate in my class at my religious home, when I allow children of all ages to attend.  I am considerate when I willingly sponsor anyone who asks.  I am considerate when I drive.  I am considerate when I interact with service people. I am considerate in my communication with people. I am working hard to be more considerate with my husband. At this point, that mainly translates into detachment, but that is better than harping on him.


I am prideful with my husband over my recovery and his lack of recovery.  I judge him and find him wanting. I do not ask HP’s help or will.

I can be prideful around my food, being unwilling to listen to what HP is telling me.

Humility, Seeking HP’s will

I am humble when it comes to knowing that I need HP’s help in all I do.  (except with my marriage situation...go figure. I know it, I just don’t act on it as often as I need to) I seek HP’s will in the ordering of my days, in my service to my sponsees, and my faith tradition.  And, usually, with my food.  This is something that will take much practice before it is instinctive.


I can be greedy with food.  I am not greedy with money, time, or things.

Giving and Sharing

I give and share my money, time, things, knowledge, efforts, ESH willingly and happily.  I know everything I have has been given to me, so there is no room for greed....

Lustful thoughts

I do not suffer from sexually lustful thoughts.

I have lusted over food, but I do not do that anymore.

Respectful thoughts

I have a great deal of respect for the human body...for the beauty of it...for the sanctity of it, and for the gift that it is.  There is no room for disrespect here. 

I now have respectful thoughts around food...I can go to a grocery store and look at previous trigger foods, and calmly think, “Those are non-foods”  or “Those aren’t my foods anymore”, without resentment, anger, or lust.


I am angry that my husband is unemployed and not doing much to look for work.  I am angry that he isn’t doing as much as I want him to, to get to a healthier emotional state, and be present and  supportive in our relationship.



In all parts of my life except my relationship with my spouse, I tend to live out of serenity and acceptance.  I am working to do the same with my marriage...and the possibility that it may not be in both of our best interests for us to stay together. 



Paperwork is a big area of procrastination for me. I have many irons in the fire, and I can get behind in things quickly.  Then I get overwhelmed and procrastinate.  I have left dishes that need to be dried and put away...the very thing I complain about to my husband when he does it.

Doing the Next Right Thing

I am a very hard worker, and since I gave up perfectionism, I am much less inclined to procrastinate...that was a means to deal with the intense fear of failure. 

I am more willing to just do the next right thing, without getting completely paralyzed and overwhelmed.  I am also more gentle with myself when things do get behind....


I ate too much at the beginning of October, and gained 8 ease my feelings of fear and rejection.  I now have several weeks of abstinence again, and I am grateful.

I have used shopping to numb out as well, but don’t do that as much as before. 


Most of the time, I eat moderately, gratefully and healthily. 

I do not buy things in excess, and am working to get rid of things we no longer need.

I never did desire

‘the best’, ‘the newest’ or to ‘keep up with the Jones’.  
Enough is enough.

I work hard, but I also take time to relax, enjoy and take care of me.


I am impatient with my husband’s speed of recovery (or lack thereof).


I am patient with the children I teach, the friend I am mentoring, my sponsees, and myself.  I am a patient driver.  I am patient with lines, for service etc.


I am intolerant of abuse.  I don’t consider that a CD, though. 

I am not very tolerant of my husband’s victimhood stance.


I am basically a very tolerant person.  I believe in live and let live, unless someone is being hurt. 


I resent the fact that my husband has been unemployed for over 4 months, and is really not being at all productive, either around the house, or looking for work.  I resent his computer game addiction. 


I have forgiven myself for my difficulties in dealing with my marriage in a healthier way.  I am doing the best I can with a very difficult situation, and I continue to ask HP for guidance.  I have forgiven those who abused me as a child.  I have forgiven myself for the living I lost to fear and shame. 


I do not hate.  It takes way too much energy.

Love and Concern for Others

I have love and concern for my family, for my friends, for my sponsor and sponsees, and my fellows.  I have love and concern for people who cannot read.  I have love and concern for this world, and all who live in it.

Harmful Acts

I am critical and resentful of my husband.  I speak unkindly of J and D.

Good Deeds

I help children  learn to read, even if their parents can’t afford to pay.  I serve in church, in 12 step.  I do what I can, where I can, when I can...without need or desire for accolades. I am a good friend.


I do not suffer from self-pity, as a general rule.


I am learning to find a balance between self-ignoring and self-forgetfulness.  Only when I recognize and honor my Self can I live out of self-forgetfulness.  I had to learn that I am worthy of much....before I could let go of the need for much.


I do not make excuses for my behavior....If amends are needed, I make them.  If not, I honor my own needs and respect myself by working to do the next right thing.

Humility and Truth

I am just another  Bozo on the better and no worse than the next.  I NEED to stay connected with my HP in order to function correctly..and when I don’t...I mess up.  When I wake up to the fact that I have messed up, I ask HP to clean up the mess I made...and I get re-connected and try again.  I no longer have to be perfect...I just have to be whole, healthy, human, and in communion with my HP.


I serve where I can.  I know that I make a difference in the world, but I am not the only one who can do that.  I AM important, because HP created me for a purpose, but I am not more important than any other.


A definition of modesty:    The state or quality of being moderate in the estimation of one's own abilities, accomplishments, or value.  I recognize my abilities, accomplishments and value, but I don’t  waste time or energy comparing , denigrating, or inflating them.  The character assets I have are gifts, and I do my best to use them with humility and gratitude.



I do not indulge in self-condemnation anymore.  I lived the first half of my life steeped in it, and I am done with it. 


I have learned to love myself, and regularly forgive myself for actions, attitudes or thoughts that do not fit my understanding of life in recovery.  I am a work in progress, and I am ok with that.



Because my husband has proven—and admitted—to be less than truthful much of the time, I am frequently suspicious that he is not telling me the truth.  I think this is a realistic response, and not a CD.  I am not generally suspicious in other areas of my life.  I am jealous of B’s relationship with J and his computer games.


I trust most people and most situations.  I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I have enough self-esteem to not be afraid of what other people think of me, at least most of the time.

I trust my HP...most of the time...and I am learning to trust myself and my gut more and more.


I have doubts that my husband will be willing/able to do the work he needs to do to get healthy. 

I have doubts that I will have the resiliency to do what I need to do if he continues to avoid doing that work.


I have faith that I am stronger than I think.  I have faith that my HP will give me the direction I need, if I but listen.  I have faith in 12 step to relieve me of my bondage to self, and my addictions.  I have faith that today, I have what I need, and that tomorrow, I will find I do too.



I do not have a long term picture of what this relationship is meant to be...or what I am going to be called to do over the next 6 months or so. But, perhaps I don’t need it.  Right now, all I can do is the next right thing...


This 4th step, and the previous one, has made it clear that my relationship with my spouse is the area which my HP is calling me to address, for it is the fundamental area of resentment, anger, fear and impatience.

This step work has helped me see that being considerate and embracing acceptance are two “next steps” that I can address right now.  Acceptance to me means admitting the truth, and not wasting energy wishing it weren’t so, hoping it will change, and resenting that it is not different. 

Some questions to answer AFTER you have made your 5th step.

This was a very helpful experience. It helped me get a more complete and balanced view of my growth in program and where I need to focus my energy. This was not hard to do....I have come to a place where I welcome truth, and no longer want to run away from it. I learned that I have allowed resentment, anger and fear to poison my relationship with my husband, and that it has taken over my life, and pushed out the ‘happy, joyous and free’ gift that this program gives to me. I don’t like that, and choose to make changes. I got affirmation that God is indeed a God of many, many second chances, and that God will help me with this, if I but ask her to. I learned that my sponsor, and spiritual director are indeed kind, loving, wise, generous and gracious. I was surprised at how insidious my resentment much it affected many parts of my psyche. Taking this step has brought clarity about my behavior, clarity which I had been avoiding looking at and dealing with... I will choose to pass on the gift of acceptance to my husband, to the extent I am able, and to pass on the gift of detachment in areas where I am not yet able to accept. I learned that I am a loving and lovable person. That his treatment of me is not indicative of my value. And that I am much more comfortable with uncomfortable truths than I used to be. My husband often says that I talk to him differently than I do others. I have always denied it. I don’t think it is true the way he means, but there is another way of looking at it that is true. I am more guarded around him....and use my resentment as a shield. I am working to find a way to be true and real in this relationship without allowing his behavior to hurt me. It is a complicated dance, and I need HP’s help. But at least I am willing to ask for and accept HP’s help.

Hugs, Lainey

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