“Admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
Once you’ve completed your 4th step inventory in the 12 step alcohol recovery program, it’s time to move on to step five. In this step, you are asked to share your wrongdoings with another individual or group. Once you see all of your wrongs and misdeeds spelled out on paper from the inventory you compiled in step four, you may be hesitant to share. This is 100 percent normal. But you can take comfort in the fact that so many have stood in your shoes.
The Freedom In Sharing Your Secrets
There’s a saying in AA: you’re only as sick as your secrets. This little gem will come up now and then, but in reality it has a direct connection to the 5th step. Our secrets are often our undoing and will in many cases lead us straight back to a drink or other intoxicant. Overcoming the desire to keep secrets is one of the biggest obstacles to moving forward with your recovery. Many newcomers try to hide certain facts about themselves, thinking that if they don’t tell anybody that it will just go away. Think of the 5th step as a vital part of your housecleaning in an alcohol recovery program. It is a place where you have the opportunity to lose your fear, your egoism, and to humble yourself fully and completely.
Is that the worst you’ve got?
Breaking down your ego is the surest way to remove many of the barriers to sobriety you have so carefully constructed over the years. But it’s not about debasing yourself in front of another human being. The truth is that most alcoholics have probably done everything you’ve done, and some even worse. Once you’ve completed the 5th step, baring your heart and soul to another, you’ll likely look them in the eye expecting judgment. What you’ll often find, however, is someone looking back at you, saying “I’ve been there too. What else you got?”
Finding the Right Person
The fifth step sets us free in a way. It gives us a freedom to live in the here and now. But as with any one of the 12 steps, it is important to feel comfortable enough to allow yourself to share. Choose a person who you trust and feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be your sponsor, but it could be. It doesn’t even have to be a friend, but it could be. The person should be somebody you can let go with, someone who you feel can accept your truth, no matter what it is.
Try to choose somebody who will not be judgmental, such as a spouse, family member or romantic partner. The right person will be a good listener that can help you sort out where you need to accept responsibility and where you do not. Many people seek out a member of the clergy to complete their 5th step. The combination of confidentiality and non-judgmental acceptance may help, especially if you are concerned with any legal ramifications of your actions. But this is your choice, and you should find peace with it, either way.
Alcohol Recovery & Sober Living in Charleston, SC
If you are struggling to stay sober and motivated to succeed, a sober living home may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.