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Working Step 5 by: Marie B.

After completing my Step 4 work, I felt like I had taken rocks out of my backpack. My load was lighter.

In Step 5, we continue to lighten this load: “Step Five: Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step Five is about accountability. As the Codependents Anonymous book states on page 51, “Many of us experience a great sense of relief and a new spiritual and emotional freedom from the bondage of our past.” In Step Five, we stand naked in our truth.


“Many of us experience a great sense of relief and a new spiritual and emotional freedom from the bondage of our past.” (Co-Dependents Anonymous, p.51)

For many codependents, much of the unmanageability of our lives came from doing the work of our Higher Power. We couldn’t trust our Higher Power, or we wanted to control the outcome. In doing the work of our Higher Power, we limit the possibilities to only what we can conceive—our Higher Power may have so much more for us in store! Admitting the exact nature of our wrongs to our Higher Power means recognizing to our Higher Power that we had acted as our Higher Power.



In admitting our wrongs to ourselves, we are using the “name it to tame it” mentality. As the Codependents Anonymous Workbook states on page 71, “Giving the Fifth Step to ourselves, and looking at our self-defeating behavior and the harm we have caused ourselves and others, may put us in touch with the exact nature of our wrongs as never before. As we do this, we can see the pain caused by our denial.” In our group, we say that denial is “Don’t Even No I Am Lying” (to myself).


“Giving the Fifth Step to ourselves, and looking at our self-defeating behavior and the harm we have caused ourselves and others, may put us in touch with the exact nature of our wrongs as never before. As we do this, we can see the pain caused by our denial.” (Co-Dependents Anonymous, p.71)

Sharing our wrongs with a trustworthy person may be the first time we speak them out into the world. This trustworthy person might be our sponsor. The Codependents Anonymous book offers additional insight on page 51: “In completing Step Five with the person we have chosen, we must remember we’re allowing our Higher Power to cast a healing spiritual light on our darkness. We must be thorough and honest. Withholding aspects of our past continues to enslave us.” This monumental step takes courage. This is an exercise in vulnerability.


In completing Step Five with the person we have chosen, we must remember we’re allowing our Higher Power to cast a healing spiritual light on our darkness. We must be thorough and honest. Withholding aspects of our past continues to enslave us.” (Co-Dependents Anonymous, p.51)

As I close this blog post, I ask yourself to consider:

  • What am I feeling as I think about admitting the exact nature of my wrongs?

  • Do different feelings come up for different parties (i.e. Higher Power, Self, or others)?

  • Do I feel worthy to release the ties of the bondage from my past?

  • How will I select the person to share “the exact nature of” my wrongs in Step Five?

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