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Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5: Be Honest About Your Mistakes

What Is Step 5 of AA?

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

What Is the Purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5?

This step helps ease the anxiety, depression and irritability of hiding the worst parts of you. You are able to rid yourself of isolation and loneliness.

Step 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous teaches you that you can be forgiven for your shortcomings and also forgive others who have hurt you.

How Do You Complete Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5?

  • Reveal your most distressing and tormenting memories to another person—most likely your sponsor.
  • Be as honest as possible with that person and look at who you are and who you would like to become.
  • Be vulnerable and don’t hold back.
  • Accept advice from that person with an open mind.

What Are Some Tips for Completing Step 5?

  • Let go of reservations; don’t worry about being judged for what you’ve done.
  • Remember that AA is a safe and supportive environment and that everyone has stories they aren’t proud of.
  • Choose someone you are comfortable sharing with.

What Are Some Myths About This Step?

  • It’s not necessary to share your defects with another person—it’s enough that your higher power knows. It’s very important to reveal your upsetting memories to another person, so you can receive feedback and advice. You’ll feel a huge weight lifted once you confide in another. This will allow you to move on to Step 6 with humility.


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1981). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Available at: