The fifth step says that I admit to God, myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. The words "exact nature" were not something that I had thought much about before tonight. When I did my first fifth step, I told my life story to my sponsor--both the good and the bad, with mostly the bad things dominating. I wanted this to be a confession. I wanted to beat myself up, just as I had been doing for most of my life. Never good enough, never fitting in, never being exactly right.
But my fifth step turned out to be an admission, followed by acceptance that I wasn't as bad as I had thought. And there was nothing judgmental from my sponsor as he listened to me. I'm not sure that I differentiated at the time the things that I did from the underlying reasons that I did those things. I believe that the "exact nature" refers to the causes or reasons that I make up in my mind for why I do what I do. It is not justifying my behavior or making excuses for the things that keep me stuck in self-defeating behaviors. Instead, it's about awareness.
I think that it takes honesty, willingness, courage, open-mindedness and humility to look at oneself and understand the "exact nature of our wrongs". Being aware that fear of rejection has been a huge factor in my life has made me change my reactions when dealing with others.
I understand that I was programmed from an early age to feel rejection. I don't need to beat myself up over that. I do know that it has colored a lot of how I view others and deal with relationships. So that tells me that I need to try some different dynamic in dealing with others. I don't need to keep doing what didn't work.
But I was also programmed to be willing, to listen and to be open-minded in my dealings with others. Those are things that are innate to my nature. And by being aware of them, I have been able to find acceptance for myself and those with whom I interact, and to take actions that are helping me find solutions to every day problems that arise.
“We are all a volume on a shelf of a library, a story unto ourselves, never possibly described with one word or even very accurately with thousands. A person is never as quiet or unrestrained as they seem, or as bad or good, as vulnerable or as strong, as sweet or as fiesty; we are thickly layered, page upon lying page, behind simple covers. And love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.” ~ Deb Caletti