Step Five of twelve is a big boy – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Confession is an ancient discipline,” according to the AA 12 x 12.
We are not talking about a Sunday chat during half time of the Chiefs Game. Addiction steals from the addict. It steals sensitivity to others, steals love, steals family, steals friends, steals job and career, steals home, house and car. Addiction isolates the addict. The drug is a jealous lover, a lover that does not want the addict to have any life other than with the drug.
When the addict confesses their wrongs to God and another they are beginning the journey of reconnecting. Their isolation is coming to an end. Step five serves to help take down the walls of false pride – the denial of reality.
The addict learns to receive forgiveness and to return the favor by being forgiving. Humility begins to emerge as a fundamental value.
Choosing a person to confess to is critical. My first notion, and certainly not a requirement, is to go hire a Catholic Priest – someone familiar with confession – (and someone who knows how to keep a secret. ) Thirty years ago I would have recommended a professional Drug Counselor – but that profession has become demented by their own failure – power has deluded them.
This person should not rescue the addict by merely forgiving. The addict’s mind has been confused by drugs and Step Five is an instrument of clarity. The listener must have a critical ear, willing to confront confusion and rationalizing. The task of the listener is to challenge with love, to challenge inconsistencies, to challenge rationalization, to challenge minimizing statements. The challenge must be done without sarcasm or demeaning statements.
The effectiveness of Step Five rests with the true underlying character of the addict – the confessor. This step requires tremendous integrity – a willingness to be completely honest with self and others. It requires great will power – and recovering addicts generally meet that need.
The recovering addict, by completing this step, will often feel a great sense of relief. They will feel the sense of acceptance – in spite of their past. They will begin the process of reconciling with their fellow man.
See Also: On Addiction