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Step 5

Section 4: The SEA's 12 Step Workbook
Self-Esteem Seekers Anonymous -

The SEA's Program of Recovery
By James J. Messina, Ph.D.


Step 5

We admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to others the exact nature of our strengths and weaknesses and of our achievements and failures.


Directions: As you systematically work through the twelve steps of the SEA's program, you will be expected to read the material in this section and respond to the questions in your journal. Each step contains key words or concepts, which are explored in the questions under each step. Your recovery from the negative impact of self‑esteem is dependent on your honest assessment, admission, and acceptance of the steps you need to take in order to ensure your personal recovery. Most likely over your lifetime you will need to review these twelve steps, so for later reference keep the SEA's manual along with the other Tools‑for‑Coping‑Series books in a safe place.

Admission to self and others

Step 5 emphasizes that, after you have completed the exhaustive self‑inventory in Step 4, you openly admit what you discovered to your Higher Power, to yourself, to your counselor, to your SEA buddies, and to anyone else you wish. Your inventory of the positives can become a rich source of material of self‑affirmation. The inventory of the negatives is a goal setting process identifying those negative behaviors which you can work on in your recovery from low self‑esteem. Openly admitting your positives while committing to work at rectifying your negatives is what this step is about. It is the public statement of words and concepts which, if said over and over again, will become a reality. The more you say it, the more the word becomes “flesh.''


It takes great humility to admit that you are recovering from low self‑esteem but only in admitting this fact can you begin the road to recovery. If you deny or ignore this fact and keep it from others, they will never be able to assist and support your efforts at recovery.


You and the mental health professional who is your sponsor in the SEA's program need to review your Step 4 inventory. This review is a means for your counselor to assist you to accept personal responsibility for your own life and to systematically help you overcome the negative impact of low self‑esteem in your life.

Answer the following questions as you proceed in Step 5:

  • How comfortable is it to admit that you have low self‑esteem?
  • How much easier is it for you to admit your negatives rather than your positives?

How do you feel admitting your strengths and weaknesses to:

  • Your Higher Power
  • Yourself
  • Your counselor
  • Your buddies at SEA
  • Others


What value do you see in this open admission of positives and negatives?

  • How different is this “open admission'' model from the “secret keeping'' you experienced in your dysfunctional family of origin?
  • How does the rule to always have humility about your “good points'' contribute to your low self‑esteem?
  • How does the rule to openly castigate and punish only yourself for your faults and failing contribute to your low self‑esteem?
  • How does the balanced approach to Step 4 and 5 help you in your recovery process from low self‑esteem?
  • How do you feel about yourself as a result of completing Steps 4 and 5?
  • What assistance do you need from your counselor, buddies at SEA and others to help you sustain the healing process begun in Steps 4 and 5?



Restate Step 5 as you complete your efforts at open admission of your positives and negatives to your Higher Power, yourself, your counselor, and to others.