Thoughts on Recovery – No. 47 – Step 5 – What must I learn and fully concede to my innermost self?
I decided to do a series of my thoughts on the steps. How do I see them today after doing over 1200 experience the big book meetings. I am now at step 5. I have gone over step 4 in great detail so I will focus on the significance and value of step 5. Step 5 is so important in the destruction of my self-centeredness. It continues the process of humility that began when I was defeated and asked God for help.
The step says I admit to God, myself, and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. My wrongs were my resentment, fear, and harmful conduct especially regarding sex relationships. These wrongs are the manifestations of a life run on self will. This is the life story it says we tell someone else on p.73. What are the exact nature of my wrongs? In other words if you robbed banks 100 times that is wrong but what caused me to rob the bank. If I committed adultery 100 times besides being exhausted what was the exact nature that caused this behavior.
We start with the wrong which we can see and through the inventory process we look at our mistakes and where we were selfish, dishonest, fearful, inconsiderate, or self seeking. These are my exact nature or my character defects. The spiritual checklist has the characteristics of a self centered personality. These defects caused my resentments, fear, and harmful conduct that resulted in shame and guilt and a life of misery.
I have met many people who have done fourth steps in treatment or using instructions on the internet. I don’t know if that is good or bad but if they don’t understand and admit to their innermost self that their self centered character defects are the cause of their alcoholism then how can they work the rest of the steps. I have gone over the promises and benefits and freedom we get as the result of step 4. However what is going to change me from a self centered to God centered person is awareness of my exact nature and willing to change to the nature that God gives to me.
Remember it says on page 567 that we need a personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism. Step 5 is where I admit what my personality is as a result of my alcoholism. Then I can see it’s destructiveness. I don’t want to be that person anymore! This drives me to become willing to change and work steps 6 and 7. I am talking about fully conceding to my innermost self the exact nature of my wrongs and how if I don’t change nothing will. I will live sober with alcoholism. I will be restless, irritable, and discontent. I will continue to block out God. In most cases I will drink again to relieve my alcoholism.
If we do a thorough step 5 the desire to be rid of these defects will be so strong it will drive us to work steps 6-12 continuously the rest of our life! We will be constantly seeking to be the person God created not the one I created.
Good grief. A lot to unpack here for me. This is evidence in support of what you’ve said before— which I did not know outside of AA: To be in the program a member is best suited to work the steps permanently. Fellowship alone is half the remedy. An important part, but not the end. It never stops because the steps can’t end. Not if my goal is to deal with life sober. I want a refund. Just kidding.