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Step 5

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Ok so now you’ve got your list. It’s time to share it with someone. This part can be pretty scary for a lot of people. But don’t worry it’s not that bad. Most of us have experienced that things seemed much worse in our heads than they actually were when written down on paper and shared with another person.

Also, by now, hopefully, you’ve been developing a good relationship with your sponsor. And we hope that you feel like you can trust him or her to hear those parts about yourself that you may not have shared with anyone else ever before. This may be the first time that you’ve been really honest with anyone. For many of us it certainly was.

Most of the guidance for the fifth step will come from your sponsor. One note, some people choose to do their Fifth Step with a member of the clergy or a therapist. That is entirely acceptable. For the purposes of this post, though, we will assume that you are completing the Fifth Step with a sponsor. Here are some things that you can expect.

It may take more than one session to complete. Many of us wrote pages upon pages of resentments, fears, and sexual harms. Depending on how old you are or how you behaved when you were “out there” you probably have a lot of things to look at. You don’t have to get it all out there in one meeting with your sponsor. Remember that this is a lifelong process and today is just a beginning.

You are also probably going to feel pretty raw and experience a lot of emotions. This is totally normal. Practice some self-care. Take a nice long bath. Go for a long walk. Talk with some of your fellows about your experience. Be easy with yourself and realize that this is a big task that you are undertaking. Allow yourself the room to feel everything that is going on with you.

Be appreciative of your sponsor’s time. Your sponsor most likely has a very full life and is taking a significant amount of time out of it to help you work your program. Yes, as we know, you’re helping them more than they’re helping you. However, the polite and courteous thing is to still be respectful and appreciative of their time. There is nothing worse than an entitled sponsee.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten everything down on paper. However, if during your fifth step you feel inclined to share that one thing that you chose not to write down, trust that feeling. Get it out. There is nothing worse than telling ninety-nine point nine percent of the story only to hang on to the thing that is likely to continue to give you the most trouble. You’re not that bad. You’re not unique. Your sponsor probably has a story just as bad to match yours. Just get it out. Set yourself free.

And, lastly, be as honest as possible. OK we know, enough with the honesty already right? You’ve already been super honest in writing your fourth step. Well here is a chance to really take ownership and get honest about our part in the whole deal. That is where the real honesty of the fourth and fifth step comes in. It’s one thing to acknowledge a resentment. It’s an entirely different animal to acknowledge that your resentment is more about you than it is about the other person. Great work! Congratulations, now you’re really starting to work your Twelve Step program. Welcome!