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Step 5-Taking Ownership

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Step 5/Twelve Steps


Each year I like to run through the 12 steps as written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were an adaptation of many works before them, and are a universal truth for all people who want to enjoy good mental Hygiene and an abundant life. They have been adopted by some 150 self-help groups, and in the words of my favourite forensic psychologist, are the best basis for mental health around IF worked and lived.


I am not a step guru, and like to keep things as simple as possible. Step 5 says:


Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


The thought of admitting to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs gave me some trepidation. Did I really have to tell someone else exactly what I had done; share a few things I thought no one ever needed to know; share a lot of things that I wasn't proud of?


The simple answer was yes, and the trepidation I had was part of the ego and false pride that had been the reason that I had bottomed. I also noted that the step didn't ask me to share the exact nature of my rights!


You have several options as to who you can do your 5th with. Some prefer to do it with a person from the clergy. That was not in the cards for me. I had an AA sponsor I trusted and respected and it was with him that I did my 5th step. We started with a small prayer and invited formally God to join us.


In 4, I had made note of people I had harmed and the defects of character that had been active. These items formed the basis of my 5th. I did not just read what I had written. We talked of the specific incidents that I wanted to talk about the least. We talked of things like dishonesty, fear, resentment, false pride, lust; the things that had been driving me crazy and that had stolen my self-esteem. I shared the destructive feelings I had inside. In god's presence, and the presence of another human being, I admitted the exact nature of my wrongs.


Funny, my sharing did not blow my sponsor away. In fact, a few times he shared with me similar incidents that had happened to him. In sharing and admitting, I felt a new sense of humbleness and not the total humiliation that I feared. What had happened in my life had happened, it was now history. It was time to move forward and get the recovery journey in gear.


How did I know I had done the 5th step?


Before I left my sponsor, I reviewed my written 4th. I made sure that there was nothing that was written that was not discussed in specific, or in the context of feelings or injury to others. There were several "defects" that had reared their ugly head frequently, but every single incident was not discussed in detail. I left my 5th knowing I had shared everything. I had started to become transparent. I had taken responsibility for what had happened to all parties concern, and importantly, had taken personal responsibility.


-- keithb


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