The Road to Recovery :: STEP 5

In The Road to Recovery column we’re working the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery that are based on Beatitudes and the traditional 12 Steps of Recovery as they align with the monthly calendar.

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

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. ~ James 5:16

PRINCIPLE FOUR (Celebrate Recovery): Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” ~ Matthew 5:8

We’ve lived a life of secrets and lies, denying the truth of the pain we were causing to ourselves and to those we love. It’s time for the lies to stop and for truth to prevail. And often times the truth hurts.

In Step Four we began the process of coming clean by writing our spiritual and moral inventory. Now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. All our baggage, the good, the bad and the ugly, is going to come off the page and into real life as we share inventory aloud with another person.
Step Five consists of three parts: admitting to God, to ourselves and to another human being. Each part adds a new dimension, a deeper level of intensity to our confession; one reverential, the next personal and finally the painful reality. Let’s look at each level.
ADMITTING WRONGS TO GOD allows us some distance from our wrongs, a sense of objectivity that keeps us from feeling too much pain. However, there may be a time during our confession when words can’t express our feelings. We may need to allow the Holy Spirit to take our prayer of confession from the sounds and groans of our pain. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO OURSELVES seems redundant after having just written them down in Step Four.  But repeating the inventory, this time out loud to ourselves, helps cement our confession. This brings home the truth of what we’ve done and what we are capable of doing to our prideful ego. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING is probably the most painful and even embarrassing part of Step Five. While there is no perfect way to work this step the most important thing is the trustworthiness of our confessor. Whomever we choose, we must make certain this person will never use what we tell them against us. We can’t make our confession unless and until we feel safe.
During this painful process we can look forward to the freedom we will feel after unloading our long carried burdens. We can rest assured the Biblical promise of healing will come after confessing our sins. And having shared our personal inventory with another person we will gain the support which frees us from our sense of isolation, our false pride, and denial. 

Lord, my inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you. Assure me, and be with me in this step, for without this step I cannot progress in my recovery. With Your help, I can do this and I will. 

Show me who can hear my confession and not hurt me.
Show me who can stand my story and not condemn.
Show me who can listen and honestly care.
Show me who can be a human being and still show mercy.**

Click here for The Road to Recovery theme song.


**Prayers for the Twelve Steps: A Spiritual Journey
Celebrate Recovery Bible
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice by Rami Shapiro
The Twelve Steps for Christians