Intro Step 5 | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups

Intro Step 5

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    This is an online Step Study. Each of the 12 steps will have its own thread, so you can participate at whatever level you are comfortable and discuss your own experience with concepts in each step. It’s a combination and compilation of step studies – some from Al Anon, some from Nar Anon and some from CODA.

    Sources include Paths To Recovery, Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts ©1997and How Al Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics ©1995, along with some readings from Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al Anon II ©1992.

    Each of us works the steps in our time, and in our own manner. Most often, step work is done by those who attend face-to-face meetings and have a sponsor. That doesn’t mean that you MUST, it’s just a suggestion. Please don’t feel as though you must rush thru these steps… it took some of us a few years in the program before we began, and we found ourselves stuck on at least one of the steps for a year or more. The questions and postings here will be an outline, a framework from which you can begin your journey. If nothing else, the questions will provoke some thought and self-reflection, and some great discussions and dialogue.

    Others who have worked the steps before may find that they wish to do the steps again. Many people who work one step per month every year – 12 steps for 12 months. The more you learn about yourself, the more you know, and the more you wish to learn!

    Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

    From Paths to Recovery, pp 53-56

    In Step Four we made a thorough inventory of ourselves, both assets and defects. Step Five asks us to take another action with what we have learned about ourselves. We are to share “the exact nature of our wrongs” with God, ourselves and another person.

    Step Five requires honesty with ourselves and others. It was one thing to get the courage needed to list our deeds and misdeeds, our fears and resentments on a piece of paper; quite another to reveal them to another person. We sometimes hear in Al Anon meetings that we are only as sick as our secrets. What goes on in alcoholic homes is often kept very private; many of us have been taught not to air our dirty laundry in public. In Step five we begin to unburden ourselves of our secrets. Step Five does not ask us to show our faults to the whole world, but to our own hearts, to the God of our understanding and to a trusted friend. Step Five gives us permission to talk about things in a healthier manner, rather than make ourselves martyrs to anyone who comes along.

    Our first task is to admit the exact nature of our wrongs to our Higher Power. Having spent some time with steps Two and Three, we have come to understand our God as loving, compassionate and non-judgmental. We also know that god can help us if we are willing to be helped. We can begin work on Step Five by talking to our loving Higher Power about what we discovered in Step Four. We recognize that we are probably not telling god anything new but this open admission allows us to approach our Higher Power acknowledging our hard work and our willingness to see ourselves as we really are. Many of us feel a sense of relief as we feel the acceptance and love offered despite our wrongs.

    The next part of the Step is to admit these same things to ourselves. For some it is easier to tell God about our wrongs than to admit them to ourselves. When we look at ourselves with complete honesty, stripping away excuses and the blaming of others for our behavior, we become aware of how much we deluded and justified ourselves. At this point we may be tempted to condemn ourselves for the difficulties we caused. It is important to remember to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, just as our Higher Power does. We are seeking to grow by facing who we are at the moment; nothing is served by beating ourselves up for the past. Step Five does not ask us to do anything about our past actions; for now all we are asked is to face them squarely and admit them to ourselves as fact….

    … When we complete the Fifth Step, we have accomplished a difficult task and learned more about ourselves and our actions. Some of us feel great relief as we unburden ourselves. We discover that we are not alone in our human frailties and we are not the worst person in the world, as we might have believed. Whether it brings great relief or a small beginning of acceptance, Step Five brings us closer to our Higher Power and helps us learn to trust both God and other people on our spiritual journey.

    Step 5 – Admitted to God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    As we prepare to admit our faults, we can begin by asking ourselves the following questions or use them for a group discussion:

    If I have completed my Fourth Step inventory, how do I feel about sharing details of my past with another person?

    In what areas of my past am I willing to be completely honest?

    What are some of the advantages I might get from admitting my faults?

    Do I understand the healing relief that honestly admitting my faults can bring?

    What expectations do I have about how I should feel or what I should experience when I admit my faults?

    Am I ready to let these expectations go and allow the God of my understanding to determine the best results for me? How do I know?

    If I do not feel ready to do this step, do I need to do more work on Steps One through Four?

    Would I be willing to group my inventory into things I could admit, things I might admit, and things I think, “No Way! I’ll never be able to do that,” and then start with the “could” list?

    Am I afraid to admit my faults to my Higher Power? Why?

    Who in the program could I call to discuss my fears about God?

    Could I make a list of my fears and turn them over? What are my fears?

    How can admitting my faults to the God of my understanding help me?

    Can I concede that I am not perfect? How can I quit trying to be?

    How do I try to excuse myself from harms I may have done?

    With whom will I share my Fifth Step? What qualities make me choose this person? Do I trust him or her?

    Do I have any of those qualities myself? Did I list them under my assets?

    What may block me from trusting someone with my truth? Can I share these fears with another person?

    How does my desire to be perfect block me from believing someone could love me unconditionally, even after hearing my Fifth Step?

    How can telling someone else the exact nature of my wrongs enhance my ability to see myself?

    How have I isolated myself? Do I believe that sharing with another person can lead to relief from isolation?
    What is the one thing I don’t want to tell another person? Can I start there?

    Can being honest and admitting a mistake have positive consequences? What are they?

    Can I remember when another person admitted a fault or mistake to me and I understood and didn’t judge?

    In doing this Fifth Step, what have I learned about the exact nature of my wrongs?

    What have I learned about fear? Honesty? Trust? Acceptance?

    How did I feel after sharing with God? Admitting to myself? Sharing with another person?

    What, if anything, have I left out? If I have completed Step Five, what am I feeling? Is anything different? Better?

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