Onward: Step Five!

In resuming our journey through the 12 steps, I'd like to mention step 5. Step 5 reads, 

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

In Step 4, we sort of did this here on the Forum. We took inventory and shared a little bit about our Character defects, and emotions , wounds , and so on . I remember when it was time for me to sit down with my sponsor and go over step 4 . I was very nervous and by the end of the evening I was emotionally exhausted. However, it felt good to have it done and to release so much, and not be judged . Rather, to be accepted unconditionally despite everything.
This is what Bill W. says about Step 5:

“If we have swept the search light of Step Four back and forth over our careers, and it has revealed in stark relief those experiences we’d rather not remember, if we have come to know how wrong thinking and action have hurt us and others, then the need to quit living by ourselves with those tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent than ever. We have to talk to somebody about them.” (12x12, pg.55).

I've written a bit about Step 5 here:

https://www.recovery.org/topics/step-5-aa/

Open for discussions here! 


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  • Count me in!! @dominica Step five can be so freeing. I remember my first Step 5. I was nervous, and scared. There were a few things in my 4th that I had never shared with anyone. They say we are as sick as our secrets. And I found that to be true. After I shared, and told him everything, he just looked ay me and said, "Is that all?" lol. And our relationship grew even stronger. Then we grilled out burgers and had a good visit together. I have done many more 5s since then. Get easier every time. So in keeping up the spirit of our study. I admit to myself, God, and all my friends here. When I was addicted to pills, I begged. I borrowed. And I even stole, to keep my pills coming. I was selfish and determined to to look after me. So that is a little of my 5th. Love to all who are here. Together we can overcome!!
  • @tommy and @dominica,

    Step 5 it is!

    One of my lowest points was standing in front of the mirror, during what turned out to be my final binge, with tears in my eyes, looking at myself and what I had become and saying, "I'm and alcoholic, and I need help". Another equally low point was being told I had a disease that made me untrustworthy and unsuited to do the job I wanted to do, and that I would never be able to do some things again. Since then, I've had a lot of Step 5s as well. I got my name cleared, and that was a long process, but there are still some things that will never get better no matter how many times I admit my wrongs. The sins I committed while drunk are many, and some will stay with me for the rest of my life. There is no healing, no matter how many times I admit my wrongs.

    I used to keep rats as pets (they are great pets, they just don't live long) and there are 3 specific examples where some died while I was drunk, and I can't shake that I was responsible for it due to my intoxicated state. There are also other instances where I feel I was indirectly responsible for deaths, because I didn't do enough because I was too focused on alcohol. There are also some relationships that ended due to, or in part because of, the drinking.

    And yet, all those things, and it still wasn't enough to get me to take the hard look needed to correct myself. I look back and say that I had a pet die in my hands, and it still wasn't enough for me to say enough? That my last memory of one is the little baby rat being sick, and I wake up the next morning with no sign of her? Not even a body? What did I do? What happened?

    I think talking about these sorts of things is great, but I don't know how much healing can occur. Some wounds just stay. I think that is a good thing though, in the end. As long as the weight of them doesn't become too much, they help remind of why it is so important to stay off the Dark Path once we find our way off. It helps us to say, "Never again!", and mean it.
  • @Leaker, I am always moved at reading your posts. I can tell that, INDEED, there HAS been much healing for you. 
    I'm very sorry, however, you carry the burdens of ANY kind of deaths or deadly mysteries on your shoulders. The evils of alcohol and it's control over us is self-consuming.  A kind of implosion, if you will. I can sense yours as you type...
    Step 5 is certainly, too, one which CAN help us to stay off that Dark Path, once we have found our way. I guess one could say, Step 5 can make or break sobriety?
  • @Leaker I can so totally relate to you. I was a binge drunk for many years. Jobs. Wife gone. My child removed from my care. On and on... I did some stupid shitty things as well. Many of which I regret. However I cant change them. I have a good friend in thhe program. He is as good a guy that one could meet. He has a story of killing some puppies with a shovel. He regrets it badly. I was sharing with one day about something I had done. So we decided. The ONLY way to make amends to these animals, Is to NOT do it again. Thats all I can do. Next, even tho I totally agree, some things never heal. We just learn to live with it. But Leaker? I whole heartedly believe we must forgive ourselves. Alcoholism is a bitch. And I did and said things sober would not have happened. But dude? That was THEN. This is NOW. AA says do not regret the past. Nor wish to close the door on it. 
      I always read your threads. Big bad, tough, no care feeling tough guy. But to see the posts about your pets? Your cover is blown. U are a big softy at heart!! Its all good man. Thanks for sharing that. To me, THAT is a 5th step.
  • @tommy, come on now! You had to know there was another side to me.There is no way someone can be as big, tough, and uncaring as I sometimes sound here without that softer side to balance out. My wife said that seeing how I was with the rats, who I called the squeakers, was one of the ways she knew I wasn't a sociopath and could be a great and loving person.

    It's interesting. We both look at some things we did and use that as justification and strength to say, "Never again!". You see that as a path to forgiving yourself. I guess I am hung up on, "It should have never happened". But, I think it was Step 2 or one of the earlier ones where we talked about the futility of lecturing the universe on what "should" or "shouldn't" be. I've heard other versions of the making amends before. My wife pointed out that all the squeakers in question were being sold for snake food, so I gave them a better life by default, but I still don't get much comfort. Going back to Step 4 and being our own toughest critics, I guess.
     
    @goodtr8s, I once heard, "There comes a point in every man's life where he does something while drunk that either makes him want to stay drunk the rest of his life, or just swallow a shotgun". I think you are right that a big part of getting on a healthy, permanent path after addiction is being able to look at what one did, and be ok with it, to learn from it, or just file it away as a dark time that shouldn't ever happen again. For my above examples, I don't think I will ever be ok with them, but I will say I've learned from them with my sober eyes, and then filed the events away. They pop up from time to time, and they bring me down, but in those regards, I am ok with it. It's a pretty easy penance, in my opinion. Thanks for the insight though on the importance of Step 5, or at least the concepts behind it.
  • @Dominica and all ,
    My Step 5 was similar to @Tommy . My sponsor said "Is that all ?" But  that wasn't really all . I had not "Physically" committed too many terrible deeds . But in the truest sense of honesty , I had to "admit to God , myself , and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs ." And in my mind , I had committed some of the most terrible offenses imaginable . But luckily for me , most alcoholics have , and he didn't stroke out when I told him the Real Truth .
    And I still fall short on these dastardly thoughts at times . So I turn to Steps 10 and 11 everyday . Progress , not perfection .
    And I agree with @Leaker "Some wounds just stay " . Scars tell a history . And history is our greatest teacher .
  • @Leaker @Tommy @TWSJ @Goodtr8s thank you all for posting.... enjoyed reading through the posts... i think all of us have benefited from sharing via the 5th step... been shown unconditional love... that's wonderful!  

    @Leaker you may always feel a bit of pain when thinking about your actions...and that's alright. pain is part of life..and as you probably know, suffering is optional. you can feel it, and let it teach you...and do your best to let it go...

    reading through made me think of what Jesus said about our righteousness being like filthy rags.... when we puff up and try to take credit for how "good" we are... we've all fallen short in some areas throughout life...alcohol or not... but thankfully, we are not in the days of being stoned to death...or sentenced to life in prison...and so on...

    let grace abound.... 
  • @dominica Great post. Filthy rags. Even my best fall short of perfection. Jesus was the only Perfect Lamb. I have been following Jesus 21 years. I dont want to preach. But He is the answer. Period. In my life anyway. I totally believe religion is man made. Spirituality is totally different. I know what I believe. And I try to share that with others. If I follow in the Will of God, things go good. It is my will that leads me astray.
      That is a huge subject. And I believe people can find their own way.
      But for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.
     Let grace abound. Amen sister. Amen
  • "Praying only for his will for us , and the power to carry that out ". My will never got me anywhere !
    How bout the fish ?
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