The infamously scary step number four is finally behind you. Step five in AA is next, and it builds on the exercise we completed in the last step.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous build on each other and are designed to keep you feeling uncomfortable. We’ve completed our moral inventory, written a list of our faults and our wrongs, and now it’s time to confess these wrongs out loud.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect while working step five in AA and why the emotional discomfort is actually a good thing in the long run.
What Does Step Five in AA Mean?
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are based on a philosophy of spirituality. The foundational principles include surrender, honesty, courage, and willingness. Making a point to admit to yourself, to God, and to another human being the exact nature of your wrong helps to reinforce these foundational principles and strengthen your commitment to recovery.
Step five in AA is often called “confession”. It follows the fourth step, in which we make a searching moral inventory of ourselves. After writing out our wrongs and coming to understand them, it’s crucial to share them as soon as possible.
Sharing these wrongs helps to remove your ego from the situation. Many of these faults likely stem from a dark place and happened in a darker time. Sharing them out loud can help to shine a light on them, taking the shame away and making it less likely that you will make the same mistakes in the future. Metaphorically, you’re removing blockages and cobwebs from your past and allowing yourself to move forward.
How to Work Step Five in AA
After completing an honest self-reflection of our faults back in step four, read over your list of faults and practice the acceptance you learned back in step one. If you need to, read them out loud to yourself in the mirror.
Next, admit your wrongs to God. This honest admission strengthens your bond with your higher power that you began developing in step three. Many alcoholics and addicts feel they are unworthy of loving relationships with people and with God, so this is an opportunity for you to get closer to your higher power.
Lastly – to another person. This person will likely be your sponsor or someone else that you trust, someone who understands the recovery process. This is another important exercise in building self-esteem and feeling worthy. Sharing these faults with another human being helps to show you that you are worthy of being heard, of respect, and of forgiveness.
Choosing your sponsor or another member of your AA group allows you to speak to someone who knows what it feels like, who can give you perspective, and can keep you from slipping into denial.
Why Are the 12 Steps So Scary?
It’s one thing to admit our wrongs to ourselves, like we did in step four. But it’s another thing entirely to look another person in the eye and tell them, in detail, what we’ve done wrong. It’s difficult, it’s scary, and it can be embarrassing.
Emotionally speaking, recovery is not easy. It’s not supposed to be, and that’s a good thing! If the twelve steps were easy to get through, you’d quickly become complacent. Complacency in recovery is never a good thing; it can make you more likely to relapse.
Throughout the 12 steps of AA, it’s important to stay humble to avoid this. That’s why so many of the steps are designed to remove your ego and keep you from becoming too comfortable.
Need Help Working the 12 Steps?
If you’re struggling with addiction and are considering trying out the 12 steps of AA to heal, we’d like to help you. At Any Length, we strongly believe in the power of the 12 steps to guide addicted men to lifelong recovery.
Give us a call today at 512-598-5595 to find out about our retreat and how our programs can help you to achieve lasting, life-changing results in your journey to recovery.