Step 5 Guide as posted separately on blog


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

Instructions: Read and highlight:

BB pp 72-75

Step 5 in the 12 & 12 (AA, OA, NA your choice)

Little Red Book step 5

Principle Theme Action Defect Result


Own our defects Confession Fear and isolation Relief; Humility; Nearness of HP


Purpose Process Experience Result Promise
Confess to another person the obstacles to our desired relationship with God. Read step four inventory to someone, thoroughly revealing our shady behavior, our selfish motives and our darkest secrets. Relief Feel hope based on complete self-revelation- an ability to look God in the face and accept compassion and forgiveness. Beginning to have a spiritual experience to know God better.

Principle: Integrity

Step 5 Prayer

God, please remove my fear and help me be completely honest in what I am about to do. Please Father, give me the courage, faith and strength I need to share with this person my whole truth; especially the things I swore I would take to the grave. Amen.

Prayer: We thank god from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.

5th step promises:

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing,

We are delighted.

We can look the world in the eye.

We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.

Our fears fall from us.

We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.

We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.

The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly.

We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. ”


The exact nature of our wrongs, when we have fearlessly exposed them, must then be expressed to God, ourselves and another person. Although we have admitted the exact nature of our wrongs to ourselves and God, the process of clearing away the wreckage of the past is not complete until we have shared these wrongs with another human being. It is only when we include another person in this healing process that we are able to become aware of our own self-delusion. The other person, if carefully chosen, will show us where we have not been totally honest in the digging out of our wrongs. We must be candid, to the best of our ability, with this person and lay out all our wrongs that we are aware of.

After completing Step Five, many benefits will be ready for us if we have done a thorough and honest job. Our ability to remain sober/clean will be increased. Step Five is part of the footwork that allows the grace of God to enter us and expel the acquired destructive obsessions. No longer will we feel that terrible sense of isolation. The willingness to forgive, not ourselves but also other people, will be enhanced. This healing tranquility will be a greater awareness of the presence of God within our lives.

Purpose and Preparation for Step 5:

Why is it necessary to do the 5th step?

What do you believe the purpose of step 5 for you is?

What are the principles for choosing the person or persons to take step 5 with?

Process: What do you take to be the instructions for the Step 5 itself?

Step 5 should last 2-3 hours: it is about the exact nature of our wrongs, not a catalogue either of the wrongs done to us or the wrongs we have done to others.

Have I set a time and place for my Fifth Step? When and where?

The AA BB suggests that we go through our Step 4 and list one example of each ”twist of character” that you have and anything that you are ashamed of.

Why are we searching out the flaws in our make up?

Why is anger poison to us?

How should we react if someone offends us?

Why should we put out of our minds the wrongs others had done?

When reviewing our own conduct, what should we be looking for?

Why should we avoid hysterical thinking or advice?

If we have been through about our personal inventory, what will we achieve?

Review the work you did on Step 4.

Is there anything out? Write it down.

Share and discuss the inventory, including assets, as well as character defects.

Step 5 Written Inventory:

An optional Step 5 Written Inventory is included with this worksheet.   Remarkably, the written step 5 inventory is very similar to the assets and liabilities step 4 inventory of the B2B!


Write down your definition of each word in the step. Then, look up each word individually to the dictionary and write down what you learn about the difference between what you thought it meant and the dictionary says it means.

Facing fears

Do I have any reservations or fears about working the Fifth Step?  If so, how can I manage them?

How has working the first four steps prepared me to work the Fifth Step?

We Admitted to God [of our own understanding]

How can your connection with your higher power help you to share your inventories?

How will I include the God of my understanding in my 5th step?

How is my Third Step decision reaffirmed by working the Fifth Step?

Admitted…to ourselves

Can I acknowledge and accept the exact nature of my wrongs?

How will making an admission change the direction of my life?

Admitted…to another human being

Why do we need to admit the exact nature of our wrongs to another human being, not just to ourselves and to God?

Why is a solitary self-appraisal insufficient?

How does confessing our defects to another human being heal us?

The following questions are suggestions to assist in choosing your Step 5 receiver:

  • What are the necessary qualities of someone who will hear my 5th step?
  • Does this person have experience in 12 step or keeping confidences?
  • Can I trust this person? How can my higher power help me to trust them?
  • Can you be totally honest with yourself, your Higher Power and this person of the exact nature of your wrongs?
  • What do I expect from that person?

Set aside some time to pray and schedule in some time with that person.


How will working Step 5 help me to begin to develop new ways of having relationships?

Am I in complete readiness to talk to the right person, (74: 2) and to listen to their response?

What may happen to those who hang on to some of the worst items in stock, or have not told someone else all their life story? (73: 0)

The exact nature of our wrongs

What is the exact nature of your wrongs?

How does the exact nature of my wrongs differ from my actions?

Why do I need to admit the exact nature of my wrongs, and not just the wrongs themselves?

What corrective measures should be taken?

Sometimes the repetition of the same type of situation will reveal the exact nature of that situation.

  • Why do we, for example, keep choosing to involve ourselves with people who don’t have our best interests at heart?
  • Why do we keep approaching every relationship we have as though our very lives depended on having the upper hand?
  • Why do we feel threatened by new experiences, and so keep avoiding them?

Finding the common thread in our own patterns will lead us right to the exact nature of our wrongs.

  • At some point in this process, we will probably begin calling certain patterns of behavior our “character defects.” Though it won’t be until the Sixth Step that we begin an in-depth examination of how each one of our defects plays a role in keeping us sick, it certainly won’t hurt to allow this knowledge to begin forming in us now.


In the 5th step, we practice the spiritual principles of trust, integrity, humility, courage, honesty, acceptance and forgiveness.

What did sharing your step 5 help you to understand about the above principles of of trust, integrity, humility, courage, honesty, acceptance and forgiveness?

To what extent have I developed love and compassion for myself and others?

Questions for reflection: Results

What are the benefits of sharing your inventory?

What are the consequences of not doing it?

What did Step Five teach you about listening, confidentiality and empathy?

At the end, what is the exact nature of my wrongs?

Do I have a sense of a personal relationship with God?

Am I now able to forgive others and myself?

Have I become more honest with myself and others as a result of doing this step?

At the completion of Step Five, it is suggested that:

A. We remain quiet for an hour and carefully review what we have done in working and living Steps One through Five.

B. We thank God that we know Him better.

C. We carefully reread Steps one through Five and ask ourselves if we have omitted anything.

Outcome: After taking step 5 honestly and completely, you will be pleased:

You will see yourself as equal to others. No more and no less.

You will be at peace when you are alone.

Your fears will leave you.

You will feel close to god.

You will begin to awaken spiritually.

You will feel that your problem is solved.

You will experience God leading you.

This work will set you free.

Fifth step completion form:

Find a quiet place where you can be alone for an hour:

Carefully think about the steps you have taken. Briefly describe your thoughts and feelings.

Write a thankful and grateful prayer for knowing God better.

Review each of the first 5 steps and ask yourself if you have omitted anything.

Has your work been genuine?

Have you done the work correctly?

Will your work serve as a foundation for the other steps?

Have you been completely honest?

If you are satisfied with your answers: Can you forgive yourself?

References:  Please forgive any omissions.


Click to access 18-STEP_5_09-2010.pdf


Click to access 4-hour-12-steps.pdf

The AA The Original Way – 4th Step Inventory,


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