On recovery: Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 5 is about honesty with yourself, another person and the God of your heart. In the beginning it is hard to admit our wrongs and easy to defend our actions. This step helps us realize how part of us wants to continue hiding, and keep clutter in our closets.
Step 5 feels overwhelming at first glance, however it is less intimidating once you complete Step 4. Picking up the phone to go over Step 5 with your sponsor can feel like lifting a 1,000-pound weight. But as a result of the progress made in the prior steps, it is easier to muster up the faith and courage to do it. Even if you have a large list to go through, your sponsor can help you recognize that you are already in a different place than when you had started the steps. You don’t have to be that person of the past. You are who you are right in this moment, and that is okay.
Step 5 is a humbling process as it asks us to step out of ego and acknowledge that we had a part in everything in our past. Through process of Step 4, it can be easy to see how many things are rattling around inside. We can be so wrapped up in our heads justifying our behavior that it can be difficult to see how much junk we have collected in our lives. Staying present in life may not be something you were aware of prior to working the 12 Steps. Every event can be replayed a thousand times in our minds, which means we are living in the past. Practicing Step 3, making a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of God [link to Step 3], moment by moment in daily life, brings us present to whatever is happening right now. Steps 5 through 9 keep our conscience clear so we can live in freedom.
Step 5 involves the practice of satya, honesty. Admitting to God helps us see the parts of our behavior that make us cringe. It’s tempting to pretend that many things on our lists never happened. But a clean house and healing can never happen if the grime and dirt are continually swept under the rug.
It is wonderful to realize that we are not perfect because that is part of being human. Step 5 reminds us that we’re not alone. Our relationship with God is personal, but part of that relationship is to connect with another human being, to get outside of our own head and be real. This is where healing happens. Like pulling off a Band-Aid, it needs to be done in one swift action. Then you can be ready to create a new way of living as a recovering person, free from those weighty attachments of the past.
Relationships and communication are at the essence of life. Our ability to be ourselves in relating is rocketed into another dimension with Step 5. This step is one for everyone and to be repeated when needed. It prepares us for Steps 6 and 7 and the ongoing transformation of personality that is talked about in recovery and in Yoga. We grow into who we truly are: a light in the universe.