I wish you the best of luck Rob.
I can only share my experience with you on this one.
I believed it when I read it in our book, that I would have to make full and direct amends. I didn't want to do it but most of this deal for me, has seemed to involved doing things that I didn't want to do. And, it's kept me sober, returned me to sanity (most of the time), and given me a pretty happy and good life. If I discovered that I had cut a corner some where, (and I have made those discoveries)... I would take care of it. My sobriety and my sanity is too precious to risk it for anything.
It's interesting that you brought up this topic. This morning I was reflecting on the importance and the therapeutic value of Step 5.
My thoughts were along the lines of something I heard as a newly sober alcoholic, and that was "you're only as sick as your secrets."
I always hated hearing that because I didn't understand it and I thought it was crap and some idiots way to get us to tell things about ourselves that would put us in a vulnerable position in life -- so that they could come along later and hammer us with something and muscle us into doing something. You know... like blackmail us.
Now, I see it entirely different.
My greatest obstacle to life, including the roots and core of my drinking, and my difficulties in trying to get sober and stay sober and maintain healthy relationships... was honesty.
And, I don't mean it as the gross types of dishonesty such as cheating, lying, stealing, and the like... even though those are bad... it was just simple little everyday honesty.
Here is how it worked for me: My dishonesty was my Power greater than myself. It was my ability to hide... to hold back... and to deny... who I was and what I believed about myself. It was my Great Protector in life. Regardless if it was the "little white lies"... or the outright denials... at the core was always dishonesty.
I learned that the word "Honest" comes from "Hon" = "at one with" and "est" = "that which is."
I had spent my whole life trying to "not be" at one -- with "what was" or "what is." It was my efforts and attempts to escape my perceptions of reality.
And, it was not until I was pained and pressured enough... to get real -- in regards to getting honest, and being "at one with what is"... that I could ever move forward into getting better.
I didn't want to do it. I wasn't willing to do it. And, I would have never done it... and wouldn't do it today... if there was another option, that didn't risk my sobriety and the good life that I enjoy today.
I learned rapidly that my life and my sobriety is the results of the actions that I take. And, sometimes -- "not taking an action" -- is actually taking actions to not take the action. And, there will be results.
Honesty is a prerequisite of acceptance. Acceptance is not something I do -- acceptance is the results of the actions that I take.... and the first action is always to get honest.
The Five Emotions that are my greatest threats to the good life is Guilt, Remorse, Fear, Feelings of being different, and Loneliness.
Any one of those emotions... left unchecked, is enough to take me out. So, I have to become willing to do whatever I have to do -- to maintain emotional sobriety.
I was told a long time ago, and I believe it because I've experienced it, that many of the things that were wreckage in our past... will slip by us in our memories. But, when it comes to the forefront of my mind... when I become aware of it enough to start thinking about it... then, it's time that I have to do something about it.
That's how it works for me. I hope me sharing my experience will be helpful to you, in your decisions as to what you might want to consider. And, if it doesn't -- hopefully, I didn't harm anything!