The 5th Step of ACOA says that we, “Admitted to God, to our selves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
In reality when you complete the 4th Step you have done 2/3's of the 5th Step. Up until this point, we have been building a relationship with our Higher Power. We are learning how to be confident with our decisions and knowing we are never alone if we have God on our side.
That then brings up the question... why tell another human being? We admit everything to our spiritual selves and with our new found relationship with God we have told Him (or Her). That should be good enough... but it is not.
Telling another human being is vital to our long term recovery. Without it, we are just playing a game. A game as an ACOA, we have played our whole lives... a game of stories and a game of manipulation and ultimately playing forever the victim.
The human mind can trick us into believing whatever we want it to believe. If I look at the blue sky and keep saying it is green... day after day, I just keep telling myself it is green... eventually, I will believe it is green.
As I do the 5th Step, I can change the story and not even give all the details and by the time I'm done... I think that maybe it wasn't that bad and yes I can forgive myself and move on. Yet, in the back of my mind, the secrets live and begin to grow with more power.
We tell another human being our wrongs because we need to hear, out loud, what we have done. We need to look into the eyes of another human being to have a sense of humility... a sense that no secret will keep us imprisoned anymore.
To me though, the most important part of this Step is rarely mentioned. It is the first time we see how good our relationship with our Higher Power has become. We see how much trust we have in our spiritual lives. It is a time where we make a judgment on who to tell our story too.
On top of that list, is knowing that what you say will stay with that person. In the past we have trusted people who didn't earn our trust... now we are laying it out there for the world to see and this person is who we trust will keep it just between us.
And to me, just as important is to find a person who won't shame you. I made good choices with this Step. I had people who just listened. Never looked at me with shock or refused to talk to me anymore after everything was said.
When I finished the 5th Step, I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of me. Not only were the secrets gone, I also knew that I could trust my Higher Power and could choose healthy and supportive friends.
It can be a fearful step, yet it is a step that has endless rewards... I hope you embrace it and enjoy it...