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Post Info TOPIC: NA Step 5

Senior Member

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Posts: 105
NA Step 5

"We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

Our Basic Text tells us that "Step Five is not simply a reading of Step Four." Yet we know that reading our Fourth Step to another human being is certainly part of Step Five. So what's the rest, the part that's more than simply a reading?

It's the admission we make - to God, to ourselves, and to another human being - that brings about the spiritual growth connected with this step. We've had some experience with making admissions already. We've admitted we have a disease; we've admitted we need help; we've admitted there's a Power that could help us. Drawing on our experience with these admissions will help us in Step Five.

Many of us finished our Fourth Step with a sense of relief, thinking that the really hard part was over, only to realize that we still had the Fifth Step to do. That's when the fear set in. Some of us were afraid that our sponsor would reject or judge us. Others hesitated because we didn't want to bother our sponsor with so much. We weren't sure we trusted our sponsor to keep our secrets.

We may have been concerned about what the inventory might reveal. There might be something hidden from us that our sponsor would spot immediately - and it probably wouldn't be anything good. Some of us were afraid of having to re-feel old feelings, and wondered if there was really any benefit to stirring up the past. Some of us felt that as long as we hadn't actually spoken our inventories out loud, the contents wouldn't be quite real.

If we consider all our feelings about the Fifth Step, we may find that we are also motivated to continue this process by a desire for more recovery. We think about the people we know who have worked this step. We're struck by their genuineness and by their ability to connect with others. They aren't always talking about themselves. They're asking about others, and they're truly interested in knowing the answer. And if we ask them how they learned so much about relationships with others, they'll probably tell us that they began learning when they worked Step Five.

Many of us, having worked the Fourth and Fifth Steps before, knew that this process always resulted in change - in other words, we'd have to stop behaving the same old way! We may not have been entirely sure we wanted that. On the other hand, many of us knew we had to change, but were afraid we couldn't.

Two things we need to begin working Step Five are courage and a sense of trust in the process of recovery. If we have both these things, we'll be able to work through more specific fears and go through with the admissions we need to make in this step.

-- Edited by Tahir at 20:42, 2009-02-23


"We do not want to lose any of what we have gained; we want to continue in the program."

Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 105


Any of the fears we've talked about here might be ours, or we might have other fears that plague us. It's essential that we know what our fears are and move forward in spite of them so that we're able to continue with our recovery.

==> What reservations do I have about working the Fifth Step?

==> Do I have any fears at this point? What are they?

No matter what our fears stem from, most of our members have done pretty much the same things to deal with them: We pray for courage and willingness, read the section from It Works: How and Why on the Fifth Step, and seek reassurance from other members. Many of us have had the experience of going to step study meetings and finding that, coincidentally, the topic always seems to be Step Four or Five. If we make the effort to share what we're going through, we're sure to get the support we need from other members. Calling upon the spiritual resources we have developed through working the previous steps will allow us to proceed with our Fifth Step.

==> What am I doing to work through my fears about doing a Fifth Step?

==> How has working the first four steps prepared me to work the Fifth Step?


"We do not want to lose any of what we have gained; we want to continue in the program."

Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 105


The chapter on Step Five in It Works: How and Wzy answers the question about why we must admit the exact nature of our wrongs to God in addition to admitting them to ourselves and another human being. In NA, we experience a way of life where the spiritual meets the everyday, where the ordinary meets the extraordinary. When we admit the exact nature of our wrongs to the God of our understanding, our admission becomes more meaningful.

How we make our admission to the God of our understanding depends on the specifics of our understanding. Some make a formal admission to God apart from the admissions we make to ourselves and another human being. Others acknowledge or invite the presence of a Higher Power in some way before going over the inventory with their sponsor. Those of us whose Higher Power is the spiritual principles of recovery or the power of the NA Fellowship may have to explore different methods of working this portion of the Fifth Step. Our sponsor can help with this process. Whatever we do is okay as long as we are aware that we are also making our admission to a Higher Power.

==> How will I include the God of my understanding in my Fifth Step?

==> How is my Third Step decision reaffirmed by working the Fifth Step?


When we were using, most of us probably had people telling us we had a drug problem and should get some help. Their comments didn't really matter to us. Or even if they did matter, it wasn't enough to stop us from using. Not until we admitted our addiction to ourselves and surrendered to the NA program were we able to stop using. It's just the same with the admission we make in the Fifth Step. We can have everyone from our spouse to our employer to our sponsor telling us what we're doing that's working against us, but until we admit to our own innermost selves the exact nature of our wrongs, we're not likely to have the willingness or the ability to choose another way.

==> Can I acknowledge and accept the exact nature of my wrongs?

==> How will making this admission change the direction of my life?


As addicts, one of the biggest problems we have is telling the difference between our responsibility and the responsibilities of others. We blame ourselves for catastrophes over which we have no control. Conversely, we're often in complete denial about how we have hurt ourselves and others. We overdramatize minor troubles, and we shrug off major problems we really should be taking a look at. If were not sure what the exact nature of our wrongs is when we begin our Fifth Step, we'll know by the time we finish-because of making our admissions to another human being. What we can't see, our listener can, and he or she will help us sort out what we need to accept as our responsibility and what we don't.

Most of us asked someone to be our sponsor before we began formally working the steps, and have been developing a relationship with that person ever since. For most of us, our sponsor will be the "another human being" we choose to hear our Fifth Step He or she will help us separate the things that were not our responsibility from the things that were. The relationship we have been building with our sponsor will give us the trust we need to have in him or her. The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is often powerfully demonstrated when our sponsor shares details from his or her own inventory as we share ours. This goes a long way toward reassuring us that we are not unique.

The trust we must have in the person who is to hear our Fifth Step goes beyond simply being assured that he or she will keep our confidences. We need to trust that our listener can respond appropriately to what we are sharing. One of the primary reasons that so many of us find ourselves choosing our sponsor as the person who will listen to our Fifth Step is because he or she understands what we're doing and therefore knows just what kind of support we need during this process. Also, if our sponsor is our listener, it will help promote continuity when we work the following steps. Still, if for any reason we choose someone else to hear our Fifth Step admission, his or her "qualifications" are the same ones we would look for in our sponsor: an ability to be supportive without minimizing our responsibility, someone who can provide a steadying influence if we begin to feel overwhelmed during our Fifth Step - in short, someone with compassion, integrity, and insight.

==> What qualities does my listener have that are attractive to me?

==> How will his or her possession of these qualities help me make my admissions more effectively?

For most of us, developing an honest relationship is something new. We're very good at running away from relationships the first time someone tells us a painful truth. We're also good at having polite, distant interactions with no real depth. The Fifth Step helps us to develop honest relationships. We tell the truth about who we are - then, the hard part: we listen to the response. Most of us have been terrified of having a relationship like this. The Fifth Step gives us a unique opportunity to try such a relationship in a safe context. We can be pretty much assured that we won't be judged.

==> Am I willing to trust the person who is to hear my Fifth Step?

==> What do I expect from that person?

==> How will working the Fifth Step help me begin to develop new ways of having relationships?


"We do not want to lose any of what we have gained; we want to continue in the program."

Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 33

By the time the fourth step is completed, I was at a crossroads.  It would be my final chance to run away and forget about recovery, or use the tools I now had at my disposal and plunge into a new world.


I had built a foundation with the first three steps and by surrendering I had found a relationship with a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God.  It was through this relationship that I found the strength to honestly do step four.


But now I needed to go one step further.  I had to admit my wrongs to another human being.  For the first time in my life I would have to be totally honest with someone else.  No stories, no games, and no excuses.  The purpose of step five would be to admit to my wrongs and only my wrongs.


If I completed this step it would be the death of my alcoholic lifestyle.  The secrets would be exposed and the power they had gone! It could only be accomplished because of my trust in God.  And with that trust, He would guide me to a human being who would listen to my story.


It would be an opportunity for me to unload the negative aspects of my moral inventory and to release myself from the nagging feelings of guilt that were stuck to me for such a long time.


I didnt jump into this step half-heartily.  I looked at my new relationships with many different people.  I considered my AA sponsor, a couple of different pastors, and some AA folk.  But the more I thought about it there was really only one choice.  It was my counselor Becky Cowman.


Becky had been with me from day one.  She had seen me at my worse.  I had seen her before I ever went to an AA meeting.  More then a counselor she had become a true friend.  Though I knew by telling her my fifth step, she would be obligated to tell the courts of any criminal behavior from my past.  I decided to trust God and my own instincts.


My fifth step lasted for five hours.  Through it all Becky just listened.  She never questioned me or judged me.  I had made a good decision, Becky just listened.  And by her listening, I too, was able to listen.


For the first time in my life I spoke out loud, the wrongs I had done.  For the first time in my life, I didnt justify any of those actions, I just acknowledged them.  For the first time in my life there were no excuses.


My successful completion of the fifth step came about because of God.  God gave me the tools to get to this point.  He gave me good friends through AA.  He gave me support through my job.  He gave me a counselor, whom I felt comfortable talking with.  And amazingly, He threw me into a court system, which I first feared, but over time, they too, gave me strength.


After the fifth step was done, I was numb and in shock.  Part of me died that day and while I still feared the future, the process of forgiving myself for the past had begun.


Many addicts who relapse point to their failure to rigorously complete a fourth and fifth step.  If nothing is held back, the emotional strength that is gained from completing the fifth step will bring you closer to your Higher Power.  And closer to discovering the strengths and goodness which God has stored in you.




-- Edited by Dave Harm on Thursday 9th of April 2009 09:57:44 PM

"A busy mind is a sick mind.  A slow mind is a healthy mind.  A still mind is a divine mind." - Native American Centerness

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