The fifth step of a typical 12-step addiction recovery program is often misconstrued. If you are a recovering addict and you have moved into step 5, you will be asked to admit your troubles, the ones you inventoried in step 4. The text of step 5 states “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”. What we discovered in Step 4 was how we held onto harms done to us, and how those resentments contributed to ongoing turmoil in our lives.
Addicts who do not have a foundation in organized religions, as well as those addicts who were raised in strict religious environments that demanded frequent confessions, are often troubled by the concept of admitting anything to an unseen God. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, was written with a great awareness of these common objections. In fact, an entire chapter of the book is dedicated to the agnostics and skeptics of what “God” might mean. That is why in the writing of the 12 steps God is referred to as “God, as we understood him.” Also referred to as a “higher power”, this thing called God and a trusted human being are who you allow your deepest pains to be revealed to. When an addict comes to accept that he or she is part of a greater whole, that addict can more readily admit his or her mistakes to that greater whole.
Commonly, step 5 is taken with your sponsor. However, sometimes your sponsor isn’t who you want to share these vulnerable truths with at first. If not, consider talking to one or two people that you trust within your support network. Inevitably, you will form closer bonds with one or two people whose stories or backgrounds are similar and who, in your perception, will be better able to absorb your story and give you the positive feedback that you need to move further in your recovery.
A fifth step can take hours, or sometimes just minutes. Take the time you need and know that the person who you have chosen to listen to you is ready to give you that time. People who have completed this step frequently report a palpable sense of relief with an accompanying feeling of having a tremendous weight removed from their shoulders.
If you are interested in receiving more information about 12-step recovery programs, please call the staff and counselors at Last Resort at (512)-360-3600.