I know that many of us come into S-Anon feeling deeply lonely with a strong sense of not belonging. I definitely felt that when I came in. This loneliness and isolation made the prospect of admitting my wrongs to God and to another human being very hard. Underneath, though, I knew the Fifth Step would bring me freedom and peace. So using the principle of this Step, I chose to admit my worst secret to my group and to God — that I had stood by and done nothing about my daughter’s incest. It was very painful to admit that I had not been there for her and that I had not been the mother she needed — that I had been so out of touch with my reality and hers. As I had hoped, admitting it to the group brought me a sense of forgiveness and healing. Some of the group members were the age of my children. Feeling their compassion and forgiveness was particularly healing for me. One even came up to me and said she wished that I was her mom, because I was able to admit my wrongs and say that I was sorry.

After doing the Fifth Step on this issue I gradually forgave myself and released the guilt. My life is now increasingly better on a daily basis, even though I still occasionally feel some sadness when I think of how my actions affected my children. Yet I am grateful that I was able to share the secret. Sharing it gave me the strength that comes with knowing I can identify my truths and I can share them. Sharing about my denial of the incest also gave me the courage to go on and formally work an entire Fifth Step with my sponsor. Today when I’m stuck in difficult feelings or a problem, I turn to Step Five. It helps me live in reality.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 56-57.

 March 11, 2024

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