Peer to Peer | Mentoring

By: Jim Jensen

Recovering mentoring is about using wisdom — the process of tempering knowledge plus experience.

Conquering Step 5

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Feb 18, 2015

Step Five: “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

Step five can present a problem because some people feel that it raises and reinforces the “wrongness” and shame that dependents already feel, in spades, when they begin to assess the damage their usage has caused themselves and others.

The use of the words, “admitted”, “God”, and “wrongs” reminded me the first time I read it of how the Catholic kids in our neighborhood described confession; that is, telling the priest all the bad stuff you had done, or even thought about doing, then asking forgiveness and getting some kind of punishment.

So, after I had finished writing my 4th step (as much as I was planning on talking about anyway) and started thinking about actually sitting with someone I had never seen in my life and telling him all the things (well, almost all the things) I had done “wrong,” I got a little sick to my stomach.

My day came though and I was called into this little office and sat down across from, of all people, a priest. He wasn’t wearing the usual black dress and the fact that he looked more like a regular guy helped me a lot. He was able to put me at ease and as it turned out, I got so comfortable and felt so relieved as the meeting went on that I found myself even talking about those things I had sworn I was never going to tell anyone.

All in all, I came out of that 5th step feeling better and – surprisingly – cleaner than I ever had. The whole self-forgiveness and self-honesty things they had been talking about in the lectures suddenly made sense. Whether it was a “confession” or not just didn’t matter. I had sat with someone who I knew hadn’t judged me, hadn’t added to my feelings of shame (actually, had decreased them greatly) and had helped me accept myself for the first time in my life. In the end, that was worth all the work, all the sweating and fear.

It is said that nothing worthwhile comes without a price, without effort. From my perspective, the 4th and 5th steps are a real bargain for what they return on the investment!

If you’re stuck at this juncture in your recovery and feel too afraid to move on, sit with the fear and move on in spite of it. It will be well worth the effort!


Journey to Recovery: Steps 4 and 5

Creating a life on purpose

Debunking the addiction story


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