Paul’s Perspective: Step 5

By Paul, Renascent Alumni

I have been asked to write my experience with Step Five which is “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs”. 

I first came into Alcoholics Anonymous in January 2001, and I stayed for almost two years. I enjoyed the fellowship, had a Home Group; yet did not get a sponsor, nor did I ever entertain the Twelve Steps. I was raised Catholic and renounced any kind of God; that I had perceived as a punching God. The mere thought of telling another human being my deep dark secrets was not something I had ever intended or was willing to do.

I went back out drinking, and my life became even more unmanageable until I ended up going to Renscent in February 2010. Even then, I did not want to do the Steps, for I thought I was different and they would not work for me. 

You see, I thought God was punishing me for things that I had done or been a part of throughout my life. I was 42 years old upon entering Renscent and I was completely broken. I told myself I would do anything that was asked of me regardless of how I felt about it. I surrendered completely and started taking direction from my new sponsor, and those who had gone before me.

Fast forward to ten months sober, and my sponsor and I started talking about doing a Fourth Step and then my Fifth Step. I was scared. The thought of writing things down and putting forth a complete moral inventory, then to turn around and say out loud the things I never wished to look back on, or discuss ever again, was terrifying to say the least. Little did I know at that time the true impact this process would have upon my life. 

The day finally came and my sponsor showed up at my home and we commenced the Fifth Step. He had me first (prior to his arrival), admit to myself in a mirror what I had perceived as my wrongs, then to pray to my Higher Power and admit my perceived wrongs to him. We sat all afternoon going through my inventory discussing each resentment, each fear, my harms to others, and finally my sex conduct. 

Five hours later we had completed my first Fifth Step. He instructed me to take the hour to pray and reflect after he had exited. He shared with me some of his inventory and also gave me feedback; for like I said, it was my perception of things, and that perception was not always correct. 

He was able to help me shine new light on certain painful memories in my life. It took me several days after that to wrap my head around what I had just experienced. Some of these things no longer seem to have power over me. It also allowed me to open up more with others. The more I shared, the better I felt. It was the beginning of a beautiful journey that I absolutely love. 

Since that first Fifth Step, I have completed an inventory at least once a year because I want to keep getting better, and as my sponsor would say, “how free do you wish to be”? And freedom is all I have felt; freedom from the things that were blocking me from that power they discuss throughout the entire Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The other beautiful experience I have had the pleasure of, is hearing another person’s Fifth Step numerous times from sponcee’s I have worked with. 

This program just keeps giving. The humbling experience of hearing another person bare their soul to you through their Fifth Step is something you do not wish to miss. I am so honoured that my God chooses me to be an extension of his hand in helping another human being experience what I have, and so many others before me have through this Step Five process.

I cannot convey through these words the experience these Twelve Steps have done for my life. I feel like one of the luckiest guys on the planet. So if you are new or struggling with fear to take this Step; please walk through that fear, for you will come to know a new freedom that I cannot express. Thank you Renascent, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Twelve Steps for forever changing my life for the better.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email