In review the 12 Steps covered in previous articles:
- Admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives became unmanageable.
- Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of that power (God as we understand God).
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This 5th Step, like all the steps can be very difficult for people. It involves being vulnerable and honest like the 4th one does, and involves trusting other people and for addicts this can be a daunting task.
At AA meetings and other support groups like it, one is given a sponsor. This is true whether or not you are the addict or a member of Al-Anon. Sponsors have completed the 12 steps at least 1 time and are there to assist you in completing your program. They are also there to work their own program like everyone else, and you should be as well.
Sponsors are not substitutes for therapist though and often addiction has very painful and complicated issues that need to be addressed. Sponsors can help as someone who has been there and done that, and so can some therapists and even coaches.
Admitting to God, yourself, and another human being the exact nature of your wrongs can be difficult for many reasons, chief among them the brutal honesty is difficult for people. God is the least difficult, because even if you define the word as Group of Drunks you can have the freedom in choosing a different group of drunks next time.
Admitting to yourself is difficult because you live with yourself day in and day out and often times wrongs are in conflict with our internal value system, or what we believe our value system should be. Several addicts tell me that the internal value system can often times be the wrong or the source of it (that’s an entire article on belief systems however).
This brings us back around to finding another human being to admit this to. Someone who is non-judgmental and won’t tell the entire world about you, a good therapist. One of the best ways to find these people is to ask your sponsor who they recommend. Admitting these things to your sponsor is also helpful, but again the sponsor is no substitute for treatment.
Next week we will examine the DSM-V changes to the addiction criteria which could result in all of us being labeled addicts.