Thursday, May 7, 2009

Step Five and trusting

"Some people seek an easier and softer way by doing a "general confession" to God alone. They are not about to name specifically the humiliating, "awful" things they have done out loud before another human being. But this act of specifically confessing things is what often leads to serenity. The more afraid you are to tell about a certain act or thought in your Fifth Step, the more likely it is that confessing that particular thing will put a new crack in your denial and free you in a new area. There doesn't seem to be an easier, softer way, and people who seek one apparently don't understand the tenacious and tricky nature of this spiritual disease we are facing. Step Five is to help us see, to grasp, to understand specifically how the disease has permeated our lives in ways we usually cannot see any other way."
- A Hunger for Healing, p. 91-92

Step Five is about trust and about forgiving myself. After I had done my third and fourth steps, I began to realize that I wasn't a bad person. Yes, I had made bad decisions and had a ton of resentment. I knew that I had been deeply affected by alcoholism from childhood on. But I also came to realize that I could become whole again and manage to feel alive with the help of my Higher Power, one day at a time.

I trusted my sponsor and what I heard in Al-Anon that I would have a joyous life if I would deal with my past. Serenity really began to enter my life after the fifth step. By telling the truth to another human being, I felt accepted and experienced true humility for the first time. With this humility came spirituality and a new sense of purpose.

I knew that I had been so lonely and crying out on the inside since I was a child. I just didn't know how to bring people closer to me. To try and fill that need I have done some really insane things. I have heard that we are filled with a huge hole in our psyche from alcoholism. Only God can fill up that hole.

So my sponsor and I agreed on a day to do my fifth step. We spent several hours one afternoon just talking. The program speaks of the "exact nature" of our wrongs, and I understood that I had to be exact and not hedge or be vague. I talked about my resentments, my anger, my insane anxieties. And the "exact nature" of my wrong seemed to point to my fear of rejection and abandonment.

I possess a large number of defects of character, the exact nature of which I have learned through getting down to the nitty-gritty and avoiding bland generalities like "I am selfish. I am resentful. I am dishonest".

I got a lot from doing this fifth step. By trusting another and my Higher Power, I felt a burden lifted and a release. I had finally told another person things that I had never told anyone else. And that brought a sense of freedom, tranquility, serenity, and peace within myself. I have gotten better self-knowledge--another term, as I see it, for humility. I have gotten a deeper, surer, more grateful sense of living.


  1. It does bring freedom, and when I began to realise that I may have "done some insane things" but I was not a monster, life opened up to me in joyful ways not experienced before my first Step 5.

  2. Best interpretation of the Fifth Step that I've heard in a long time. I'll bet that you're a great sponsor.

  3. Oh man -- this post really hit home with me. I have some serious trust issues stemming from my childhood and I find that now that I'm not drinking and don't have that shield to hide behind, I'm facing a lot of the trust issues that I tried to push from my mind. Thanks for this post. It was really wonderful to read.

  4. Great post. Step 5 is my next step. I will definately be referring back to your post for help with it. Thank you.

  5. I am judgemental. I am mean. I am controlling. I wish I wasn't. I want to let it go, saying it aloud might be a first step, huh?

    This post felt really brave to me.

  6. Reading your post brings to mind when I first became active in church. I noticed that those with the "worst" life before accepting Christ were the most popular in the assembly. I had to wonder some years later if a lot of people made their testimonies up.

    Going one on one with a sponsor in those circumstances would be harder to do and I would think that this would be most effective in the road to recovery.

  7. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I wonder if its the same one I am thinking of, by Keith Miller? I read it years ago and its so underlined and marked up I can barely read it now....but it helped me a lot. I think this is a good time for me to pull it back off the shelf. I am in such a weird place.

    Thanks for this!

  8. You hit it right on the head. Forgiveness and freedom. A beautiful post...just what I needed today.

  9. This is so good Syd. So many people miss out on what the programme really has to offer by skimping on this step. But you shone the light on the freedom, tranquility, serenity and peace so well. This step really is the beginning of the rebirth of the inner self. It goes to show how the same step can have two very different takes. Thanks for the comments and have a good weekend.

  10. I'm grateful to have a wonderful sponsor, who I trust implicitly, and to who I can talk to about anything--and do. An important thing I learned from Step 4 was that the person I did the most damage to was myself. Our honest, open discussion helps keep me on track, helps me to remember to forgive myself. I know she's a person I can trust but I've also learned that my trust in her is also trust in myself. This is a great program.

  11. 3 people in step 5 - god, another person and me.

    Imagine my surprise when only I was unaware and learned of the "exact nature of my wrongs..."

  12. Step 5 is so freeing, once you get past some fear & embarrassment (I thought I was the only one who ever had such secrets;). A sponsor you trust makes this step more meaningful.
    It was great to re visit this step via your post!

  13. i understand this completely, however, this is were my honesty question post comes in and i find myself in conflict...

  14. Great post, Syd. This post IS really brave! Good for you.

    I hope you have a great weekend. Hug your heart dog for me.



  15. The Fifth step is an amazing step, when I did mine (I've done it twice) the relief I felt was immediate and prompt, the 10th step keeps me in the day and I am more capable of doing the next right thing.

    Thanks for your posts!


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.