Step Five of Chronic Pain Anonymous – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

 Step Five prodded my asking Higher Power for Courage and Rigorous Honesty, two Ingredients critical to working this Step. Already, I was stretched to the max with my inventory. I needed help.

True, Higher Power had unearthed my anger, hidden from myself. Like dark lenses permanently affixed to my glasses, their toxicity distorted the world around me and triggered festering resentments in my psyche: the accumulation of decades of unrelieved illness and joint pain. This discovery still smarted. Yet, my written inventory compelled me to move forward and not cop out. CPA offered me a new way of living, already glimpsed during daily conference calls.

Again, I reviewed my list of character defects: their truth had scoured my essence, their conniving thwarted my attempts to live life fully. Only within insubstantial posturing had I aged into my senior years. With no one had I been intimate. But this, too, would change.

Because my sponsor had supported my self-scrutiny, I chose her to receive its findings, expecting them to be lightened by her sense of humor and seasoned grasp and practice of the 12 Steps. I was not disappointed. New learning began to supplant out-worn attitudes and practices: Gone was my uniqueness, afflicted by poor health; gone was my false pride parading under the guise of pseudo humility; gone was my nasty comparer enslaving me in bondage; gone was my exaggeration embellishing stories; gone was my reluctance to expend meager energies in service to others.

A new Liz emerged from the ashes of this discovery: flawed but graced and unconditionally loved by Higher Power. But there was Step Six …