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The Confessions

Step #5    


*to God

                  *to ourselves

                  *and to another human being

                                                                         The exact nature of our wrongs.



     Housekeeping-  As Spring arrives, the sun appears, days are longer, and it seems like new life is breathed into humanity. It is also the time of year that we notice the dust, clutter, and stains that might have appeared over the long winter months in our homes and cars, and we realize that something must be done. This disordered state might have been overlooked, accepted, or simply not seen in the dark and dreary days when snow and ice accumulated, but in the light of the new season, it is abundantly obvious that there are areas of neglect. 


….So it is with Steps 4-9…behaviors, habits, and traits that were hidden, ignored, or tolerated suddenly come to light, and it is time for what any 12 Step program refers to as “Housekeeping.”

    Step 5 asks what may seem virtually impossible to some- to ADMIT our wrongs, not only to ourselves, but to God AND another person. Step 4 provided the opportunity to clear the mind of any and all actions and thoughts that have caused harm to self or others, or have caused anguish, addiction or dysfunction. After much contemplation and meditation, the “Inventory” was completed and all that had accumulated throughout life came out of our minds and straight onto paper. Step 5 now moves this same information further- from the paper to our mouths, where another person hears, supports, and helps to process the words. By cleaning out the “wrongs,” a person finds room for the “rights.” Secrets that are held can cause much damage. Regret can destroy by taking a physical and mental toll, and can manifest in muscle tension, joint pain, sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety. The act of releasing – letting go of-admitting to another-the exact actions, motives, and thoughts that have tethered a person to the past is freeing, empowering and relieving.

   Taking a fifth step can cause fear: The “what-ifs” can invade thoughts…”What if the person I tell judges me?” “What if I lose my relationships?” “what if I get in trouble?” For this reason, it is vital that the human being chosen is trusted and understanding. Many 12 step programs highly suggest this person be a sponsor, while other options include a pastor, therapist, or close friend. Often, this person will be able to help to determine motives, see things from a new point of view, and assist in coming to terms with the past while moving forward toward recovery.  

   Step 5 offers RELIEF. Relief from tension, oppression, and depression.

   Step 5 offers FREEDOM, by making the choice to use your voice.

   Step 5 offers POWER. No more shame, blame, or pain.


The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes these promises when taking Step 5:

  • We can look the world in the eye.

  • We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.

  • Our fears fall from us.

  • We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.


As the Spring season is in full bloom, and new life is emerging from hibernation and dormancy, I encourage you to ponder the meaning of Step 5. What may need “cleaned out?” Are there secrets, patterns of behavior, or past actions that are holding you back? Is the “real you” present? One does not have to be an active member of a 12 Step Program to take these steps…one only must have a desire to change. Get out that mop, sweep those floors, clean the windows of your mind, and let the beautiful recovery that you are seeking begin to shine through !!


Holly Girty, CPSS, Supervisor II

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