Step Five: Digging Deep


“We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

For many people, Step Four is the hardest of all the Twelve Steps. It’s when an addict or alcoholic begins digging deep to look at the wreckage of our pasts, character defects, and all the other dark topics that were buried under drink and drugs for years.

But just knowing that you did wrong is not enough: This is a program of honesty, and that means being honest both with yourself and with others. Step Five is the beginning of a lifetime of brutal honesty.

Once you’ve worked with your sponsor to draft an inventory in Step Four, Step Five asks you to sit down with them and walk through it out loud.

You might choose to do it all at once, in a long and intense conversation that clears the slate. Or, you might break it up over several sessions to give yourselves some time to process.

Either way, make sure you choose a spot that’s quiet, private, and comfortable as you begin to bare your darkest secrets.

But remember — simply spilling those secrets is not enough. Step Five asks you to admit the EXACT NATURE of your wrongs. That means not just confessing those incidents but also trying to figure out the wider context of why you did them. Your inventory should help you understand that to some extent, and your sponsor can help walk you through it too, as you’re talking.

It sounds like a heavy task, and it definitely is. A lot of people approach this step with extreme anxiety and nerves. If you’ve been going to meetings, however, you probably already know that there’s almost no story that hasn’t already been told in the rooms. You might be surprised to find out how much your sponsor can relate to your embarrassing and humiliating stories — and that will be a huge relief.

Overall, you’ll feel lighter and more free after finishing Step Five. And the best part is, you can work this step whenever you need for the rest of your life – in meetings, in talks with your sponsor, or even just in conversations with sober friends.

Keeping your side of the street clean is a lifelong process.

For more on the steps and how to get and stay sober, call us today!