(Psalm 32:5) – “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” (Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5)

Accepting that we are forever flawed beings and doing wrong is an innate part of our structure, the above passages turn us outside of ourselves. By this point in our recovery we accept our powerlessness and know that God has all power and will deliver us from our dependencies. After taking a fearless and thorough inventory of ourselves we have identified character defects that are simply part of our fabric. Its now time to take these shortcomings to God. I believe my earnest effort to hold these flaws up to God needs to be preceded by our internal and contemplative admission to ourselves that this is a serious and concerning picture of our dark nature. We must fully understand and accept who we are and then we are ready to take our list to God asking at this point for his forgiveness but also knowing that we are approaching the point when we ask God to relieve these shortcomings.

The scriptural quote doesn’t say anything about addressing our character defects with another person and yet that is certainly stated in the second quote (AA Step 5). Keeping secrets and living a dual life is descriptive of my life prior to recovery and I’m certainly not alone with that. I just didn’t want anybody knowing what was really going on. Taking our personal inventory to another trusted human being does two things. First, it releases these dark secrets. I hear frequently, “We are no better than our secrets.” Accountability is the second reason for speaking with someone. Someone else now knows exactly what we are trying to leave behind.

The result, freedom … or at least partial freedom. There’s still more work to be done in this personal “housecleaning” effort but at this point we have an accurate vision of ourselves and have taken those SPECIFIC characteristics to God and another human being. We are on our way to living beyond our past in a new and reborn way.

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