Step Five – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I once heard at a meeting that Step Five was about integrity. By that time in my sobriety, I had realized that I didn’t always understand the correct meaning of words, so I looked it up. Here are some definitions that helped me understand the word integrity in regard to the Fifth Step:
Integrity: honesty, sincerity
Honest: being free from deceit; genuine
Genuine: being what I really am
Sincere: being the same on the inside as I am in outward appearance
So for me, integrity, as it applies to the Fifth Step, is the state of being “real”–being the same on the outside as I am on the inside.
My Fifth Step was the closest I’d ever gotten to being that real to another person. More than just a confession of my faults, it was also a way of showing someone my feelings and fears. I still find today that I need to strive to be as real as I can be. Perfect integrity all the time is something that I may never achieve, but it’s an ideal that I must be willing to work toward.
The program tells me that in order to recover I must be willing to develop a manner of living that demands rigorous honesty. So when I retire at night, I ask myself: Is there something that I should discuss with another person at once? What do I not want to share? Do I feel any guilt? Am I worried about something? Fearful? What was my thought-life like today?
These questions spur me to talk to someone. The more I share, the more I live “in integrity”; and the more I live in integrity, the more at peace I am with myself, and the more useful I can be to God and my fellows.