"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.