Admit to yourself, to your Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, to proper priesthood authority, and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs.
Step 5 Reading
As I've gone through the process of writing my inventory this time, I feel like I have learned so much about myself! It's been an awesome learning experience and I really can see that I can grow from doing this, as hard as it is.
Step 5 can seem a little daunting and nerve wracking. Even more then step 4 was, because now instead of just going over all of the nitty gritty details of my life to just myself, I am opening it up for someone else to react to. Now, this reaction may be accepting and it may not be and that's the hard part about it. But if I were to do step 4 without step 5, it would be like acknowledging an infected wound in my leg and just covering it over without cleaning it or taking care of it.
Step 4 is looking over the wounds and acknowledging the infections. Step 5 is cleaning those infections out so they can be healed. It's not fun, and can be painful, but it is absolutely necessary or the infections will fester and get worse.
So Step 5 must take place soon after Step 4 is completed. Because right now it is fresh in the mind. And since I have taken the time to really complete Step 4 by writing it down, there is a complete and written version of the problems and solutions there ready to be read aloud so nothing is missed.
It says to first confess to the Lord. This I feel I have been doing while I was working step 4, but before I go to confess to anyone else I plan to kneel before the Lord and confess for everything all during a single humble prayer. Because then it's serious.
After this, it says to confess to proper priesthood authority anything illegal or sinful that may prevent one from holding a temple recommend. Of course this will include my self gratification addiction. I don't know if my recommend will be taken away or not. I feel like I'm making real progress. But a part of me feels like perhaps I have been unworthy for long enough while holding a temple recommend that maybe I need it taken away just because of that. But it's not my decision to make, and I don't want Satan's negativity to enter in and destroy my positive outlook on this. So I'm going to leave it up to the bishop's inspiration, and trust in his judgement.
Step 5 also encourages me to select another person in which to read my inventory aloud in it's entirety. I have never done this, even in the last couple of times working the steps. I did talk to the bishop the first time through the steps, but I didn't feel better afterwards and couple explain why. Now I understand it's because it wasn't my full inventory after all. I was so majorly in denial I cannot explain it. Anyway, I feel like this decision to disclose to another person is completely up to the individual working the step. To me, I feel like I've been talking with my husband about the details during this entire process so I feel like I have been disclosing it. However, I may feel inclined to share sometime in the near future if someone at the meetings seems like the right person for me to do this. I just don't know who yet, and I feel it is very important to select the right person.
I do feel like this other person provides further opportunity for me to grow, because it will allow for another person's perspective to come forth in what I've written. Maybe through this other person, the Lord would give me even more to learn. It would further challenge me to be completely honest and open about who I am.
I made my appointment with my bishop for tonight. I was actually kind of disappointed because I made this appointment on Saturday and wanted to get in for a Sunday appointment but he was fully booked. Now, however, I feel like I've had the opportunity to add some more thoughts to my inventory. I've had a couple more moments of heightened understanding since I made the appointment so now I have more to say to him.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Confessing my sins helps me to make positive changes because once I have confessed and those mistakes are out in the open, they are suddenly easier to leave in the past. Now that I've confessed to myself, and to God, it is easier to recognize what is happening when temptation strikes.
I think having someone listen to all of my honest failings and weaknesses and sins and then react with love and understanding helps me heal because it would reinforce God's love and forgiveness as I put forth my best efforts to get better. Being judged righteously in the way God would see it, I would also finally be able to forgive myself and put things behind me.