Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

When I was new to Al-Anon, I believed this step was about admitting my wrongs to another person, and to a degree, this is true. But this step also addresses one of my foibles - self-deception.

In my perceptions of others, I am usually close to the mark. Never have I been as astounded by the discovery of someone else's true nature, as I have been by my own self-deceptions.

For all our adroitness, we humans can be almost transparent in our manoeuverings. We've all been in the position of listening to a friend or colleague tell us something patently untrue about their nature: been dumbfounded at their ability to fool themselves into believing that nonsense. How many of us have been willing to face our own ability to dissimulate?

If I adhere to my old convictions, I am standing in my own way. If I cannot admit to myself the exact nature of my wrongs, I am the only one who isn't aware of them. Those closest to me would easily be able to list my faults.

When I did my first step 5, I was terrified that admitting my faults to another human being would bring shame upon me. I was taken aback to discover that my sponsor already knew all about my character defects, could, in fact, discuss them at some length. She may not have been aware of my wrongs as far as what I did, but she absolutely knew how I thought, and even how I might be feeling as a result of that thinking.

This was a hugely freeing lesson - that I needn't try to disguise myself. It's an exercise in futility, takes up far too much of my energy, and wastes time I could spend upon my recovery. I still use humour when I'm nervous or uncomfortable, but I use it for a different reason - to share joy in life, rather than to hide behind. Shared laughter brings us closer to others. Program keeps us safe, even in that proximity.

1 comment:

  1. How true about self-deception. I am fortunate to have a sponsor who understood my character defects. And I was fortunately willing to tell him about them. In fact, he felt that I used Step Five to beat up on myself quite a bit. I've had to learn to also list my positive aspects and "rights" along with the wrongs.