Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Now that we have dug deep into our past and laid it all out on paper, the question becomes “what do we do with it?” Well, we are working to build a strong relationship with our Higher Power and better understand the underlying issues keeping us sick. Since we created our moral inventory, we must be willing to share this with our Higher Power, as well as another human being. While the action of admitting these things to ourselves is a huge accomplishment, it must be shared because keeping it to ourselves will only continue to hold us down. Giving it to our Higher Power and letting another person know the core issues of our disease is how we begin to heal. This is Step 5.
The act of sharing our darkest secrets allows us to shed the weight they hold over us. Through this process, we begin to learn true humility and what it takes to be fearless, but most importantly we learn how to be honest. For many of us, ego, fear, and the inability, to be honest, are the things keeping us wrapped up in active addiction. When we are ready (although most sponsors suggest it should be done immediately following the completion of our inventory), we set out to find that one person to share our fifth step with in addition to our Higher Power – don’t take this part lightly.
When deciding who to share this inventory with, it is important to do it with someone we trust. For many working a 12-Step program, that person is a sponsor. If you are not working a traditional 12-Step program, find someone who will keep your inventory to themselves and will listen without judgment. If you are religious, share the inventory with a priest or pastor; others may utilize a psychologist or mental health counselor. No matter who you choose, it is important that you move forward with utmost honesty.
As we prepare to divulge our story, set aside pride and ego, then go forth with the willingness to hold nothing back. By doing so, we can be sure we have thoroughly admitted all of our wrongs and cleaned our side of the street. By fearlessly taking this step, we begin to feel the troubles of our past slip away. While simply talking about them may not fully resolve some of these issues, we can be more at peace with ourselves once we have openly and honestly spoken about them – that peace helps us grow closer to ourselves and our Higher Power.
After sharing the Step 5 inventory, take some time to reflect on what we just shared. Sit quietly and give thanks to our Higher Power for providing us with the strength to follow through with this step. It is also a good time to look back over the previous steps and ensure we thoroughly completed each of them without any missing pieces. We must remember the steps up to this point are the foundation upon which we are building our new lives – make sure this foundation is solid! If we are confident in the work we have done to this point, we prepare to take the next step on our journey to recovery.