May 03: Step 5

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

For more on Step Five, see: The AA Big Book, beginning with Chapter 6, Into Action (p. 72); The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (pp. 55-62).

“This feeling of being at one with God and man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following Steps towards a full and meaningful Sobriety.” 12 and 12, p. 62

Hello GROW, welcome newcomers, and congratulations to all celebrating a sobriety milestone!

When I first came to AA I had the gift of desperation. I was done. And so, for the first time in my life, I followed directions. I worked the Steps in order of appearance, as my sponsor suggested, and I have no memory of ever looking ahead to Step 5.

And when I got to Step Five, I was ready to share all the secrets and shame that I hid and drank over.

Each time I complete a Step 5, I gain more compassion for myself, and other people. This Step, shared with a safe person, reminds me I’m no better and no worse than anyone else.

“Even AA oldtimers, sober for years, often pay dearly for skimping this Step. They will tell how they tried to carry the load alone; how much they suffered of irritability, anxiety, remorse and depression; and how, unconsciously seeking relief, they would sometimes accuse even their best friends of the very character defects they were trying to conceal.” 12 and 12, p. 56

The shame that had me pointing my finger at other people is being lifted. I no longer have to make someone worse than me in order to feel good about myself. Step Five is where I began to trade the shame I felt about who I am, for humility.

The Twelve and Twelve defines humility as “… a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.” p. 58

I really love that. I have assets and liabilities, and I can work towards filling in any gaps with these in mind–instead of dusting off the fantasy that I will one day be elected princess of the universe!

I’m looking forward to reading your shares on Step Five or whatever is current in your program this week.

Thank you for being here!