In response to some questions about my sponsor/support person that I shared my inventory with:
I alternate meetings every other week with two different groups in my area. But the group where I originally began attending is constantly evolving. There are only one or two women who have been attending as long and consistently as I have. (Aside from the missionary and facilitator.) This makes it difficult for very good sponsorships to develop. As I was doing my Step 4 inventory I was worried about who I would share it with. There was one "sponsor" that I knew of, and at first I didn't feel like I could relate to her. As the time for my sharing grew closer, I approached the missionary and she gave me the names of a few women who had offered to listen to inventories. The one I knew best was the sponsor in the group, and I decided to trust that Heavenly Father was aware of me, and that this woman would fulfill my need for a support person.
She turned out to be experienced, kind and very supportive, but I'll write about that later.
Step 5 is called "Confession" and it includes admitting to Heavenly Father and another person our discoveries about ourself and our weaknesses, strengths, attitudes and beliefs. I'm just going to reiterate what the manual says about this "sharing" experience.
- When necessary, confessions should be made to proper priesthood authority.
* I don't think this necessarily means that you share your entire inventory with your bishop, just any relevent unresolved sins.
- Where appropriate seek out the help of a professional counselor.
* Once again, I don't think this means that someone you are paying money to listen to you is necessarily the best person to share your entire inventory with. But some issues from the past may arise that might be best resolved with professional help.
- It might go without saying, or it might not, that the person you share your inventory with should be the same gender.
- Your support person should not be an immediate family member.
* I think the reason for this is that it might prevent you from being completely honest or it might cause hurt or harm to the individual you share with.
- This person should be someone you can trust, who will show empathy. Their role is not to give advice, it is just to listen and to keep you from "exaggerating or minimizing [your] accountablity."
and for that reason...
- Where possible it should be a person who has completed their own Step 4 and Step 5 and is familiar with the purpose and the program.
I've heard people say they have done it over the phone if need be. My biggest suggestion is even if you can't find an offical "sponsor", find someone you can be totally honest with, who will be kind. It is scary to bear your soul, to put all your secrets out there, but it will be most rewarding if you can do it in an environment, with a person, that is safe and gentle.