How to Work Step Five | 12 Step Program Tips & Worksheets

woman prays to God

If you’re in recovery, you might be working through the 12-Step Program. The process of working each step in this program is a life-changing one that helps many people achieve and sustain lasting sobriety. 

In this blog, we’re going to provide you with an overview of each of the 12 Steps and dive in deep to explore Step 5, with explanations, tips, and links to printable 12-Step worksheets that you can complete on your own or with a sponsor or counselor.

What are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Why Is Step 5 Of the 12-Step Program Important?

Step 5 of the 12-Step Program is important because it allows you to shed the dark secrets of your past (and all the shame that comes with them) and start over with a clean slate.

After months or years of lying to friends and family, coming clean about all of it isn’t easy. In fact, lots of people dread Step 5 because it not only requires you to be fully honest with your higher power or God but also someone else. That’s challenging!

Bringing everything out into the light may not be something you feel like you can do and it requires quite a bit of courage. A lot of people feel very scared or nervous about how others will view them, so if you feel the same, you’re not alone. However, if you can overcome that fear, the result of working Step 5 to the best of your ability is truly fulfilling.

If you can openly admit all your wrongdoings in front of your higher power and another person, you’ll finally be able to let go of the past and move forward knowing that you’re a different person now.

Shedding the old you and establishing a new sober life is essential to a full and sustained recovery. Step 5 isn’t meant to make you feel ashamed or unworthy. Instead, if you complete this step and you’re completely honest with your higher power and another person, you’ll free yourself from the heavy weight of pride and fear so you can get on with a new, fresh start in life. What’s not to love about that?

How Should I Work Step 5 of the 12-Step Program?

There’s no doubt about it: Step 5 is arguably one of the most difficult steps of the 12-Step Program. However, it’s worth pushing through the fear to do the hard work and persist. Here are a few tips to help you work through Step 5 of the 12 Step Program.

  • Think about how you’ll feel once you’re done. More often than not, the process of working Step 5 is emotionally painful. Despite that, it’s ALWAYS rewarding. Many people say that they feel a sense of peace and freedom when they finally complete Step 5. For most individuals with a history of addiction, this is the most incredible feeling, especially when it follows months or years of deceitfulness, dishonesty, and fraud. The weight of those behaviors is so heavy, but when you finally let go of them, you’ll feel so much lighter.
  • Consider who you are now and who you would like to become. You might need some motivation for sharing your deepest, darkest secrets and your most distressing memories. Often, these are what drive people to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. Instead of focusing on how your higher power, sponsor, or counselor might potentially view you, consider who you are now and who you’d like to become. Self-improvement is always a difficult process, but the reward for persistence and determination is so great. Until you take the time to share and understand the nature of your wrongdoings with another person, you aren’t likely to have the willingness or capability to live any other way.
  • Pay attention and recognize patterns of destructive thoughts and behaviors. As you share your innermost thoughts with a close mentor, you’ll likely recognize some behavioral patterns or ways of thinking that have led to your addiction and poor behavior. These behaviors can reflect underlying character defects that will help you understand why you behave the way you do and how you can start making positive life changes to stay sober. This will be key as you continue working the steps with Steps 6 and 7.

If you feel like you’re just not ready to work Step 5, talk with your sponsor, counselor, or addiction treatment provider to get additional support.

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    Printable AA Step Five Worksheets

    If you choose to start working Step 5 with a printable worksheet, here are a few online resources that may help. You can also get 12-Step worksheets from your addiction treatment provider, counselor, or sponsor.

    Who Can Help Me Work the 5th Step of the 12-Step Program?

    Perhaps you’ve been putting off Step 5 because you’re afraid to do it or worry about what others will think of you. Just keep in mind that working Step 5 is a chance to get rid of all the stuff that is holding you back from a new life. You finally get to be free of all that!

    When you’re ready to work Step 5, you’ll need to get with another trusted individual such as your sponsor or a counselor. While using printable 5th Step worksheets can help you get started and figure out what you want to say, working with a supportive person is an essential part of this step.

    If you haven’t gotten sober yet but you’re ready to make a change, the professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are ready to help you get started. Our drug detox centers and caring staff members provide evidence-based medically-assisted detox programs for drugs and alcohol. We help you overcome your physical dependence on substances so you can start working on your mental health and wellness as it pertains to continued recovery.

    Although the primary purpose of medical detox is to overcome physical addiction, we recognize that a full and lasting recovery from substance abuse requires more than just physical abstinence. That’s why we provide clinical counseling and H&I meetings. These meetings serve as an introduction to the 12-Step Program and give you time to learn, listen, and connect with other people in recovery, including potential sponsors.

    After detox, we’ll help you establish an ongoing treatment plan, which may include completing an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. At Briarwood Detox Center, we work with several different insurance providers to ensure that your treatment program is effective and affordable, based on your financial ability and treatment needs.
    When you’re ready to make a change, please call (888) 857-0557 to speak with a Briarwood Detox representative today.

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