"ADMITTED TO OURSELVES, AND TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING
THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS."
Alot of folks have trouble with this one because they are ashamed of what they did in their pasts while drinking and drugging.
1. We must clean our house.
2. The following are checks for when we are NOT LIVING the steps on a daily basis within our lives: fear, negativity, irritability, anxiety, remorse, depression, accusing our friends of the very defects we are trying to conceal and, not living in the now.
3. More realism and more honesty about ourselves is gained by admitting the exact nature of our wrongs to another person.
4. With the help of God and another person, we can be more certain of the fact that we will not be as self-deceived.
5. We must sit down and talk aloud about what we have kept long hidden.
6. The exact nature of our wrongs includes:
a) the pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them.
b) certain distressing or humiliating memories.
c) fearless admission of the acquired defects of character.
d) complete candor (complete honesty) of our conflicts with ourselves, other people, and situations.
e) the recognition of the defective thinking.
f) awareness of the trouble self-delusion was, and still is, causing us.
g) using the written inventory, which was done in Step Four, to find these wrongs.
h) every twist of character.
7. The benefits of doing an honest Step Four and Step Five are: ability to stay sober; sharing of the first accurate self-survey; doing part of the work to allow the Grace of God to enter and expel the acquired destructive obsessions; ridding ourselves of that terrible sense of isolation; beginning of true kinship with God and man; getting the feeling that we will be forgiven no matter what we did; the ability to truly be able to forgive others, no matter how deeply we felt that they had wronged us; beginning to experience and grow in humility; healing tranquillity; and the beginning of the awareness of the presence of God within our daily lives.
8. At the completion of Step Five, it is suggested that:
a) We remain quiet for and hour and carefully review what we have
done in working and living Steps One through Five.
b) We thank God that we know Him better.
c) We carefully reread Steps One through Five and ask ourselves if we have omitted anything.
In Step Four, we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the acquired character defects. The inventory from Step Four, details the acquired character defects which are of the false self. These defects, when the false self controls our lives, allow us to act and react in a manner that causes havoc not only to ourselves but toward other people places and things. It is this inventory of the acquired character defects that forms the foundation for doing Step Five.
Step Five involves the admission of the exact nature of our wrongs. Once again, the wrongs are of the false self. In order to admit these wrongs, we must search in our past. What wrongs are we looking for? We are searching for the acts that we did when we caused harm towards other peo¬ple. We include the problems and character defects which caused or aggra¬vated the reactions toward others. We are after the recognition of our deficiencies. Each twist of character that has been acquired must be illu-minated. Therefore, each wrong, no matter how painful, must be brought up to the surface and honestly looked at. To the extent that we are searching and fearless in finding the exact nature of our wrongs, the rest of the A.A. program will be built on this foundation.
The exact nature of our wrongs, when we have fearlessly exposed them, must then be expressed to God, ourselves and another person. Although we have admitted the exact nature of our wrongs to ourselves and God, the process of clearing away the wreckage of the past is not complete until we have shared these wrongs with another human being. It is only when we include another person in this healing process that we are able to become aware of our own self-delusion. The other person, if carefully chosen, will show us where we have not been totally honest in the digging out of our wrongs. We must be candid, to the best of our ability, with the person and lay out all our wrongs that we are aware of.
After completing Step Five, many benefits will be ready for us if we have done a thorough and honest job. Our ability to remain sober will be increased. Step Five is part of the footwork that allows the Grace of God to enter us and expel the acquired destructive obsessions. No longer will we feel that terrible sense of isolation. The willingness to forgive, not only ourselves but also other people, will be enhanced. This healing tran¬quillity will be a greater awareness of the presence of God within our lives.
The Fifth Step should be written since most of us have many wrongs to uncover. The fact of putting these wrongs in black and white shows us that they are not as big as we had blown them up to be. Also, we will need a reference from which to tell our story. The written inventory of the Fourth Step with the exact nature of our wrongs will help us in making a list of the people we have harmed.
Use the following list to help dig out the exact nature of your wrongs. Remember, you are after the destructive, acquired character de¬fects.
STEP FIVE -- UNCOVERING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS
1. Explain the differences between Step Four and Step Five and why must Step Four be completed before Step Five is attempted?
2. What is meant by "the exact nature of our wrongs"?
(See Step Five in the 12 & 12).
3. Why must you admit the exact nature of your wrongs to another person?
4. How can you find out if self-deception is present in doing this step?
(See Step Five in the 12 & 12).
5. Why is Step Five so vital to your program of recovery?
6. Use the following areas as a guide to help you jog the memory in uncov¬ering the exact nature of your wrongs. In each area, list the con¬flicts, distressing, humiliating or embarrassing memories, and twists of character that you have kept hidden. When possible, list the persons and your wrongs, and then identify the specific acquired character defect that caused the problem.
a) Family - parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, and inlaws, etc.
b) Employment - supervisors and co-workers.
c) Organizations - A.A., hospitals, schools, etc.
d) Relationships with people - men, women, and children.
e) Distressing and humiliating facts - stealing, lying, physical harm, and sexual.
7. Now, using your personal life history, which has uncovered the exact nature of your wrongs (question 6), share this with another person.
8. After sharing with another person, what should you do next? (See last paragraph, p. 75 in Alcoholics Anonymous).
9. What benefits have you received from sharing Step Five?
10. What are you going to do about the exact nature of your wrongs?
11. What is your self-image at this point?
1) Alcoholics Anonymous (big book), chapter 6 through page 75.
2) Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Five.