Step 5 of AA

Step 5 of AA is taking the character defects discovered from step 4 and admitting these faults in three ways: (1) to God (a higher power), (2) to ourselves, and (3) to our sponsor (a trusting human being).

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

<< Step 4 | Step 5 | Step 6 >>

What is Step 5 of AA?

Read the full chapter on Step 5 of AA.

Step Five is the practice of admitting one’s defects. Many who skip this step, even those that remain sober for a long time, often discover that they never obtain true relief from irritability, anxiety or depression when avoiding Step Five. When living in isolation, as most alcoholics do, Step Five helps rid the loneliness that tortures so many alcoholics. We need insight from another trusting human being to have honest discussions about our personality flaws. It’s incredibly exciting for an alcoholic to discover a common bond with others and to no longer feel alone.

Until the alcoholic talks with complete openness about their conflicts and listens to others do the same, Step Five will not bare much fruition.


How to do Step 5

1.) Share with another person

In order to begin step 5, your step 4 must be complete. If you aren’t working with a sponsor, then it’s advised to seek someone whom understands the nature of alcoholics, like a psychologist or clergyman. You need to feel comfortable with this person and know that you have their complete trust – meaning that they will keep all you say a secret.

When sharing step 5 with another person, sessions should be limited to 1 or 2 hours. Depending on the alcoholic, completing step 5 can take a few hours or even weeks. However, it’s important not to delay and stretch out the process of completing the step. Without rushing, try to bang it out as soon as possible.

What not to do

  • Do not share your step 5 with someone that could be hurt by your share (for example, your wife or a parent) as doing so could damage your relationship to no repair.

2.) Share with God

The Big Book on page 75 giving directions about step 5 when completing step 5 with God.

Immediately after completing your share, in full, with another person, the Big Book says to go find a quiet place for hour in order to share with God (higher power). This place can be in your home or even a walk in the woods. During this time, we thank God to the best of our ability. Then, as it says, we should turn to page 59 (in the Big Book) which contains the twelve steps and read up to step 5. As you carefully read the first 5 steps, you need to ask yourself if you have accidentally omitted anything. If you are convinced that you have not left anything out of your fourth step, it’s time to move on to Step 6.

Step 5 AA Worksheet (Questions)

Completing the step 5 aa worksheet is good way to pause and reflect on your current state of mind before doing your 5th step. There are no right or wrong answers. Save the very last question at the bottom of the worksheet for after you complete your 5th step.

A useful worksheet to complete after doing your 5th step.