Scared to be honest on my 4th step. | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups

Scared to be honest on my 4th step.

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    I came to AA not knowing how it worked, or what the steps were. All I knew was that AA is where people stop drinking, and I couldn’t do that by myself. I had proven that time and time again. And, I dearly wanted to stop drinking!

    Because of this I’ve heeded that line in ‘How It Works’ that says, “With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start.” and the one, “Half measures availed us nothing.” I’ve been thorough and honest in every aspect of AA and with my sponsor.

    Now I’m working on my 4th step, and I find myself panicked about telling my sponsor about one of my resentments. It’s one of those resentments that even though someone else hurt me, I’m so embarrassed and afraid someone will find out that I let it happen, I’ve never voiced it to ANYONE before.

    I find myself wanting to go to a different town and find someone I’ll never have to see again, to tell it to. But, I don’t think my sponsor will go for that. Heck, I don’t know if I am fearless enough to do that anyway.

    I really don’t know what to do. I know I should just tell my sponsor, but I don’t know what he’ll think of me afterwords, or if I could even face him afterwords.

    Please share if you had a similar problem. What did you do? How did it work out?



    You’ll be surprised….in fact, I did tell my sponsor that ONE thing I swore I would never tell anyone else. And you know what—they then in turn, told me something about their own self–something in my mind I considered to be much worse, so I didn’t feel so bad/ashamed about myself. I appreciated them telling me what they did. It was also told to me–that at least one other person in the world already knew about what had happened…being the other person involved…so really what happened wasn’t really a secret anyway. You will find a sense of relief and freedom by openly sharing with your sponsor–even the “scary” stuff. We have carried that junk on the inside of us for so long that often times we find much freedom in just letting it go. Of course, trust is involved–or for me it was. If you feel like you can’t trust this sponsor then perhaps you may want to re-think this first, but if you and you and your current sponsor have a good relationship and you have been honest up to this point and you trust them and believe that they can help you work through the steps…..then trust your HP and just keep moving forward. 🙂

    Like you said–there is no rule that says we have to do a 5th step with our sponsor…you can read about that in the BB, but I found comfort in knowing I was telling this to someone who had already gone through this process too and could help me….give me suggestions on how to move forward in the steps and also, help me better understand who I am.



    This is my most powerful Step 5 experience…..and it actually happened a few years before I even came into program and knew what Step 5 was.

    I come from a family that doesn’t keep secrets — we were pretty much brought up with the understanding that secrets and/or lies were not good or healthy in any way, and we talked openly about anything and everything. So, all my life, I’ve pretty much known and acted upon the idea that, if I really want to work something through and deal with it, then I need to talk openly and honestly about it.

    Well, one evening about 6 or 7 years ago, when my partner was very deep in her dry drunk and acting out addictively in a lot of ways that did not involve mind-altering substances, we were together and having — or so I thought — an unusually (for that time in our relationship) nice time together. And then something happened that shocked and hurt me so much that I just got up, went into another room, lit a candle and burned myself — pretty severely — in 3 spots on my forearm.

    Now, this kind of self-harm behavior was not something that I had ever engaged in before (or after) that evening….and it was very, very scary for me — mainly because it happened just as if I had no control or choice in it — like I was totally on some kind of auto-pilot and there was no distance between the intent to act and the act itself…..almost like I was possessed or something.

    Also, once I like came out of whatever state it I was in when I did it, I was like totally horrified and embarrassed that I had hurt myself in such a way and, even moreso, that I had behaved so insanely and been so out-of-(rational)-control. It was just so not a “me” thing to do, and I so could not get any grip on how it could possibly have happened, and I felt so totally stupid and embarrassed that I swore to myself that I would never, ever let anyone know about it.

    I lasted 2 weeks…

    …by which point it was close to driving me nuts. And, in that 2 weeks, that crazy incident grew like so powerful and so painful and so all-consuming in my head (not that I thought I would/might do it again, but more just like the horror of the self-embarrassment and the idea of so obviously not having respected myself and treated myself very badly and having let my partner’s behavior affect me to that self-destructive extent) that I just couldn’t stand it anymore —

    — and I broke down and told our entire couples’ group about it!

    And once I did that it just like totally lost all of its power over me and all of it’s ability to consume my energy and my mind and make me feel bad.

    All of the power it had had over me was just gone.

    So, anyway, this is the thing that I always think about when I hear people talking about Step 5 and/or about letting go of all the secrets and shame and baggage from their past. I guess, for me, because I was so not used to keeping secrets, it was just so very, very clear to me how quickly trying to keep a secret like that became so very hard and very heavy and very dangerous to my mental health and my sense of self. And when I let it go, all of that pretty much went away right along with it.


    P.S….and, yeah, I really don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to tell a stranger. I mean, I think I needed to tell people who knew me and cared about me and whom I knew had to skills to help me and not judge me the way I had been judging myself about it.

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