Home Steps Perfect Peace

Perfect Peace

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The Fifth Step: what a daunting Step it was for me as a newcomer (and still is today)! However, as the Big Book says, “If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome . . .” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 72).

After having written my Fourth Step, I was hesitant to conduct the Fifth Step. However, since I reported to my sponsor that I had finished writing it, she put me on the spot to make our Fifth Step appointment. I can’t remember everything that was on my Fourth Step inventory, but I can remember the feeling when I was done with my Fifth Step. I was relieved. I had shared my deepest, darkest secrets with someone else, and two miracles happened: she still liked me and the sky didn’t fall on me. (And a mighty hole didn’t suck me into the core of the earth, either.) My Fifth Step helped me accept myself and the wrongdoings I had committed in the past. As the OA Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition says, “Nothing in us can be changed until we first accept it” (p. 41). Because both God and my sponsor accepted my defects, it was hard for me not to do the same.

I have also been the recipient of a Fifth Step or two since joining Overeaters Anonymous. What an honor that someone trusted me with their secret scandals, thoughts, and deeds. When I receive someone’s Fifth Step, I am mindful that I need to listen to that person and give him or her my full attention. I do not need to formulate my comments to them in my head while they share with me. I need to be fully present for them.

I have given away several Fifth Steps since joining Overeaters Anonymous. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of the Fifth Step, I suggest starting the process by reading together pages 72 to 75 in the Big Book, including the Fifth Step Promises, beginning with “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted . . .” (p. 75).

— Edited and reprinted from Utah Soaring newsletter, Northern Utah Intergroup, May 2001


Learn more about working the Fifth Step by listening to our Step Five podcast. Find it at oa.org/podcasts by clicking the link “The Importance of Working All Twelve Steps” and then clicking the “Open Importance” menu on the following page.

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