Confession is Good for the Soul: Importance of the Fifth Step
It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution. –Oscar Wilde
So finally I can move on from my ramblings about the fourth step, because I have officially completed the fifth step, which is “to admit to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.” There are many who fear this step more than any of the twelve, but for me this was much easier than writing everything down. In fact, I found it vital to share my fourth step inventory with someone, simply to make sure I had done it correctly (and, to be completely honest, I enjoy the validation of hearing I did a good job).
All-or-nothing person that I am, the fifth step session lasted 3 1/2 hours, so I should mention the first benefit I received upon completion is the gratitude I feel for having someone care enough about me to sit and listen to the “exact nature of my wrongs” for that length of time!
In addition to gratitude, the fifth step gave me other blessings as well. First, the simple pride that comes with accomplishing a difficult task. I still, two days later, smile when I remember that I have thoroughly completed 5 of the 12 steps, I never thought that would happen! This, of course, can quickly turn to fear at some of the upcoming steps, but that is a subject for another post.
I have already written what I gained from completing the fourth step, which is two main things… seeing a lifelong pattern in my behavior, and discovering the inherent “why’s” behind what I do what I do. But missing from that process was a second set of ears, which is so critical to genuine understanding. Trying to figure out almost anything on your own is a dangerous proposition. I believe the expression is “a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Same idea applies… I can write down everything in the world that has ever happened to me, but until I process these thoughts with someone who has been there and done that, the inventory is going to have a pretty limited value. As many dots as I thought I connected on my own, Ann was able to connect even more, and she asked the kind of questions that helped me understand even more that my issues have been life-long, and not just a matter of circumstance.
Finally, and this may seem obvious, but there is a freedom to shedding light on your deepest secrets. In the moment it feels grossly uncomfortable, of course, but once I pushed through the discomfort, and laid it all out, I felt different… I won’t say miraculously different, I wouldn’t want to overstate it, but I felt calmer and a great deal more confident that I can truly complete the 12 steps.
Posted on October 2, 2012, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Ann, God, Higher Power, Human, Oscar Wilde, Recovery, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.