Working the Steps – Step 5
In Steps One through Four, we gather a greater understanding of our addiction and prepare an inventory of our wrongdoings. Now it’s time to admit our discoveries to our higher power, to ourselves and to another human being.
While Step Five seems like one of the simplest steps to work, it can also be the most difficult. Taking the time to complete an inventory of our wrongdoings in Step Four can give us strong feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse—feelings that make it very difficult to admit our inventory to another human being.
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step Five is about cancelling out the second life we have been living while addicted. One cannot find success in recovery if he or she continues to hide secrets, or harbors feelings of shame without the help of another.
Continuing a life of secrets, or to simply hide the worst aspects of our past and present from others creates anxiety, depression and strong feelings of remorse. These are the same emotions that led to drinking or drugging in the first place and are precisely why Step Five is so important in your road to addiction recovery.
Working Step Five
Much of Steps One through Four involve admitting our wrongdoings to our higher power and to ourselves. The most important part of Step Five is finding another human being to share with.
The person you choose should be someone you can trust. Remember, you’ll be admitting to very difficult things you don’t want to become public knowledge, so be careful in your choosing process. Many addicts choose to share their Step Four inventory with their sponsor because he or she is directly related to their path to recovery. A sponsor has most likely already worked Step Five themselves and knows the importance and delicate nature of the process.
Below are a few questions and practices to choosing the right person and working Step Five:
- Describe a person that has helped you see yourself more clearly in your path to recovery.
- List the people you trust the most. Do you think any of them are willing to be a responsible sponsor for you?
- What qualities are you looking for in a sponsor? How do the people listed in the last question measure up to this criteria?
- List the people you might share your inventory with and use the table below to write whether they are safe, risky, or a bad choice to share your inventory with:
- Describe who you have chosen to share your inventory with and why:
- Describe feelings you have had, or your experience in sharing your Step Four inventory with another human being. Are you happy to have had this experience?
Most people feel really good after sharing their deepest and darkest secrets with another human being. For many, this is the step that truly starts to lift the weight of addiction from their shoulders. You are no longer alone in your thoughts and discoveries. You now have someone to share your thoughts and stories with—someone that is willing to listen and discuss each story, helping you along your path to recovery.
Step Five opens the doors for addicts to work the remaining seven steps. Be sure to refer back to our blog series for the first four and remaining seven steps, and don’t hesitate to call if you or a loved one is ready to start the 12 Step process in a drug rehab treatment program.
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