Step Five states : We admitted to God, ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Today I’m going to help you understand the details of Step Five in helping you take this Step for the first time. Let’s start with the person with whom you plan to share your inventory. Ideally, the person you have chosen is your sponsor and is familiar with the 12 Steps and has done a Step 5, they may have individual instructions on how they like to lead someone through this Step. If, however, your recovery partner is someone unfamiliar with the 12 Steps, maybe you have chosen a counselor, a friend, or a family member, it will be important for them to know a few things. They will need to understand that this is a confidential meeting and everything said in that space stays between the two of you. It is very important that you feel safe with a trustworthy and non-judgemental person for this Step. It is very important that they listen and not interrupt you as you read your inventory. It will be important for someone unfamiliar with the 12 Steps to not stall or block your confession because they are uncomfortable or to give advice, try to fix, and minimize what you are doing and the importance to your recovery. The benefit of doing this Step with a sponsor is they have had experience with this Step and can lead you through it well. They can also walk with you through the issues that arise in the following Steps.
On average, Step 5 meetings take a couple of hours, some lasting more than that.
- Make sure that as you make the appointment, you leave ample time to complete the Step and not have something interrupt or end the meeting before you have completed your inventory. Be sure that you plan to meet in a quiet place that will make you comfortable and eliminate distractions.
- Before your appointment, it would be wise to have a bit of quiet and isolated space to consciously go through the first three steps again. Admitting you are powerless, believing God has the power to restore you, and surrendering to Him is the perfect preparation as you enter this conversation.
- Bring along your notebook and any worksheets, as it will keep you focused to share your complete inventory from the work you have done.
- Listen to yourself as you read your inventory. Hear the patterns of behavior, attitudes, justifications, character defects, rationalizations, and relational patterns that have been active in you. This Step is about revealing your “true self” and the “exact nature of your wrongs” and you can often hear yourself revealing those things as you speak. Remember that as you share this Step you have listed resentments, fears, and wrongs done to you, but you are focusing on your part in each of these. This Step is about taking responsibility for your behavior and attitudes, regardless to how big or small they are in comparison to others actions towards you.
- It is also important for you to connect to any feelings that may arise as you share. It is easy to detach and read your inventory like a list of facts, but there are real emotions attached to what is on the paper and it is important to connect to those parts of your heart as you share. We have spent a significant amount of energy covering, avoiding, or numbing these feelings with our addiction and it is important that in this Step we let them come and we experience them in a safe environment.
- The best piece of advice I can give you for this Step is to be brave and hold nothing back.
Your sponsor or recovery partner can spend a bit of time giving you feedback. Maybe there is a specific theme or pattern that revealed itself and they might want to reflect that back to you. Hopefully they will tell you how courageous you were and offer some positive words of love and acceptance.
Today, let’s spend some time preparing for this Step in your notebook.
- Describe some feelings I had while making my inventory.
- What on my inventory is the most difficult to tell another human being? Why?
- How does hiding and keeping secrets about the exact nature of my wrongs keep me stuck?
- What interferes with me being honest with myself?
- How do I respond to the truth that God doesn’t give up on me and offers unconditional love?