Step 5: Twelve-Step Program

A note on language: At Renascent we help people recover from substance use addiction and integrate 12-Step facilitation into our programming. We recognize that the substances our clients are recovering from and the 12-Step groups they connect with may vary. Throughout our website you may see general terms relating to the 12 Steps as we are inclusive of all recovery programs, including AA, CA, and OA.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 5 in the 12 steps may ask you to acknowledge parts of yourself that have caused you and others hurt because of your misuse of alcohol or drugs. When working through this step, you may experience some fear in sharing your wrong-doings to yourself or another person. 

The purpose of Step 5 

This step can often be known as the “confession step,” which can feel a bit overwhelming, and maybe a bit jolting or confrontational. The connotations around the word “confession” and this step may feel negative or uncomfortable at first. We want you to know that, although this step involves you revealing parts of yourself to others; parts that you may have hidden for a long time, you should know that it is not meant to make you feel ashamed, or embarrassed about your past actions. It is meant to help you find a sense of freedom, providing you with emotional, mental, or spiritual relief. This step is here to help you build integrity.  

How do you do Step 5? 

As you take part in this step, you must practice honesty and know that this can be a vulnerable part of your recovery journey. This is the step where you not only reflect on your actions but also understand the impact of your actions. 

Experiencing fear with Step 5

It is common to not want to participate in Step 5. The reasoning behind this may be that it can be difficult to admit how your actions have made your life unmanageable and negatively impacted others.  

Embracing vulnerability

This step can feel vulnerable, but although it may feel that way, it’s important to know that you are not alone. The importance of this step is that when you participate in it, it will bring you hope and help minimize your fears.

Finding a Higher Power in Step 5 

Paul came to Renascent in 2010, however before he came to us he experienced doubts in entrusting a higher power, or a person other than himself to help guide him throughout his recovery. He talked about his past experiences which made him unwilling to even consider the 12 Steps. He went through many difficulties because of his addiction so when he came to Renascent, he did so with complete openness and accepted guidance from those who wanted to support him. 

During his time with his sponsor, he realized that his perception of the 12 Steps was what was holding him back in his recovery. He also explored parts of his past, moved through his experiences, and his feelings, and from that came clarity and a new openness in his life.

Paul’s experience of drawing closer to a higher power is shared by many others who have successfully completed this step.

How Renascent helps

Renascent deeply understands that unique individual journey that is necessary for you. We are here to support you and guide you to define what your recovery means to you. Your Road to Recovery starts here. 

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.