Member: Adam H.
Location: Nagano, JAPAN
Time: 10:02:47 AM
"Okay...now what do you actually DO?" I asked when I first got to this step. Well, my experience has shown me that what I get from Step 6 is the opportunity to start aiming for something higher than what I have always been.
Step 5 was really good for me because the actual experience of being honest with God, myself and another human being relieved me of a huge burden of dishonesty. The challenge I was presented with was practicing that kind of honesty in all my affairs from that point on. My sponsor said that if I would try to do that on a daily basis, I would never have to feel that kind of unworthiness and shame that I felt when I was drinking. He also assured me that if I tried to practice restraint of tongue and pen and made an effort to contact HIM instead of the person whose blood I wanted to see when that volcano inside of me erupted, I would learn something about human relations beyond "When in doubt, attack."--which was the principle that I practiced in all my affairs before coming to AA.
So there's a couple of things I had to aim for...rigorous honesty and a little bit of self-restraint. Was it going to be easy? Hell no...I'm used to living without either of those things. However, if I go on that way, even in sobriety, it's back to the bottle for me because we all have a breaking point. So once again, I need God's help. I believe God will remove the defects of character, but I need to do is cooperate with that. So what I get to do here is make a decision to TRY to aim for something higher in the way of character building so that God CAN remove the defects.
Grateful to be sober.
Member: Tracey W.
Time: 2:06:41 PM
I came into A.A. in '86. Though I'v been clean from alcohol since then, I have had many slips with prescription drugs. I stopped going to meetings years ago - this is what happens when one stops going to meetings and relies upon self-sufficiency.
I'm here... I'm ashamed, and defeated. I have a long way to go.
Member: Ray C
Location: Haines Alaska
Time: 12:40:16 AM
I'm Ray C ,alcoholic...like that concept about being ready for some self improvment.Entirly ready is a pretty stong statement,can't say I'm all that humble all thec time but at times when the fear,guilt or other dicomforts become unbearable I find it a bit easier to do.I've heard the steps were just to teach us some humility and accept some unpleasent truths about ourselfs this one would certainly fit in that catagory.Thank God it's spiritual progress and not perfection that we seek because I'd certainly be drinking if perfection was a requirment.Enough ramblin...Tracey,I took my last drink in 76 but after 10 years of absolute drug and alcohol absinence I smoked pot for a couple of years because it was legal here where I lived because I guit making meetings and became self relient too.Anyway the laws here changed but I still smoked for a while before the feelings of guilt scared me back to the program.Just wanted you to know you wern't alone I've talked to lots of both long and short term AAers that have done the same thing,glad to see you back.It is all about just today anyway,right? Thanks for tolorating my rantings and thank you all for your posts.
Member: Stew E
Time: 5:52:03 AM
Stew, greatful recoving alcoholic.
Tracey, we are all here with you. I felt ashamed (still do at times) and defeated too. The defeated feelings have become triumphant feelings and the shame will be replaced with with feelings created by 'walking the walk'.
Keep coming back.
Member: Stew E
Time: 5:54:06 AM
Stew, greatful recoving alcoholic.
Tracey, we are all here with you. I felt ashamed (still do at times) and defeated too. The defeated feelings have become triumphant feelings and the shame will be replaced with with feelings created by 'walking the walk'.
Keep coming back.
Location: NW USA
Time: 10:01:08 AM
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
The sharing of the Experience, Strength and Hope is what has given me some of 'the readiness'.
There was a man that would come to a meeting and share ... He would stand up, state he was an alcoholic, then he would state he could not read. He would tell that he learned the steps and traditions by going to step and tradition meetings, then he would recite the steps and traditions. He would tell of going to big book meetings so he could hear the big book. He would talk about 15 or 20 minutes. It was the same every time he talked.
I am able to read so there was a 'difference'. I really needed his Expereince, Strength and Hope when I reached 40, unable to read(thought I had drank myself blind). The doctor told me I needed reading glasses. I really needed his Expereince, Strength and Hope when I got this computer, I was 'computer illiterate'. I took a computer class with other seniors and I shared my about my 'illiteracy'. So the 'difference' was really a 'similarity'.
The sharing of Experience, Strength and Hope is what has given me some of 'the readiness'. Thus I make progress one day at a time learning to live sober.
Thanks one and all for sharing your Experience, Strength and Hope.
Member: Gary B.
Time: 12:49:03 PM
Hi Gary here - Alcoholic,
After a long bout of drunkiness - I have been clean for 3 days and am breathing a lot easier. Brought it to the attention of my bosses this morning and feel great - they are very supportive - what a weight of my chest. Will be looking for meetings this week and have seeked counceling - anxious to find sobriety - found your group and look forward to your friendship and support...
Time: 3:07:14 PM
Hi Gary! You have completed that first and difficult step. 3 days is better than no days. Admitting we are POWERLESS, takes a lot of humility. I told my boss and found out he is a proud member of the Alanon family. My life has totally changed and it is a lot easier to not have to live a lie. Congrats!
Member: Rich P
Time: 5:20:13 PM
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
I think this has a lot to do with forgiveness. In my case, letting God forgive me and then forgiving myself. I am really struggling with this. I struggled with all the steps actually, but was always "willing" to believe that one day I would believe. That one day I would "get it". Some days I do get it. Some days I feel absolutely on top of the world. This is not one of those days.
I went to a noon f2f, bought a 12X12 book, then drove into the mountains and just tried to feel the presence of God in my life. Looking out across the Great Divide, literally on top of the world, I felt small. My defects of character were still there. I must not be entirely ready to have them removed. I feel restless, irritable and discontent. Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down the road. I am willing to believe that this will happen for me one day...hopefully sooner rather than later.
Member: Elaine B
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 9:15:37 PM
Hi Rich P. Tonight I joined AA and completed my first day (after several previously unsuccessful attempts) of no alcohol. I have caused much pain and suffering and have MANY character defects. I know I will struggle with this step when I get there - but I wanted you to know in our group tonight people talked about this and it must be unconditional love of everyone towards everyone else - no judging, just honesty. Several had spent years in jail, etc. Anyway, it hurts to see you hard on yourself - think about how HP must love you unconditionally - start with yourself! Hope this helps - from a brand newcomer!
Member: Jim K
Time: 8:08:41 AM
I now am able to see and understand my feelings(chac. def.)a lot easier then when I was using. Now hopfully I can think before I react,then I can respond in a beter way. JimK.
Member: Jake H
Location: Immingham England
Time: 9:15:09 AM
As the result of good sponsorship after 10years continuous sobriety (it just took me a long time to find a sponsor who understood the steps) I was able to complete a good step 4 and 5 from this process. I was able to find the nature of self and the aspects of my character that caused me harm. Before this process I was blind or in denial of these traits in my personality. They made up my inadequate survival package, this was the way I had learned to deal with life as the result of the disease of alchohoism. Having found the truth about myself, I then proceeded to make a list of these defects as I went through Step 5 with my sponsor. I took some time to digest these facts as destructive patterns, this was me. To become completely ready to change I had to accept these aspects of my make up as objectionable, in other words I had to see that I did't like myself when I acted or reacted using these defects in my personality. Left to myself I would find it very difficult if not impossible to change. In asking God to remove these defects of character and in my belief that God works through others, I found it beneficial to expose my defects to others friends, family and my sponsor who had highlighted them in the first place. In order to deal with them on a daily basis, using common sense just what is disclosed to who. I am sorry but I find it impossible to deal with step 6 in isolation Having listed my defects of character I was told to make a list of opposites step 7, I made a list of my short comings, the things that I did not do or the positive aspects that I was not very good at practising. This is the list I try to work on, on a daily basis. Through this process I have been able to change. I am a long way from being perfect, but thanks to this programme, my sponsor, friends and family - I like myself and am wanted, needed and loved by others. The power of this programme is awesome. But for me it took ten years of struggle and dry drunkenness to become teachable.
thanks for running this site. your friend in recovery Jake
Member: Jim K
Location: Plymouth IN
Time: 5:01:06 PM
Tracey, if you want help yourself, I strongly sujest you try going to meetings again. The only req. is a disre not to drink today.There you maybe able to fine some you can talk to about your other problems. Jim K
Member: Michael B.
Time: 9:58:35 PM
Hi! My name is Michael, and I am a recovering alcoholic and addict, sober today only by the Grace of God and the Fellowship. Thanks for the sincere shares. Welcome newcomers!
The key here to me is that God as I understand Him must remove my character defects, because I don't have the power and the wherewithal to do it using my own personal resources.
When I first came into the AA program and came to Step 6 with my sponsor, hitting bottom was still a vivid and frightening experience everpresent in my mind, so I was willing to do anything to have god remove my defects of character.
Today, I seem to deal with the more peristent defects, which I am less likely to be willing to let God remove. In any case, this is an extremely important Step for us AA';s, because it's our dfects which will lead us back to a drink.
Member: Jack B.
Location: Palo Alto, Pa
Time: 2:28:55 AM
Hi, I am Jack, a real alcoholic. Step six for me is simply asking myself, Am I ready to take a stand, am I ready to have some values, am I ready for change, and am I willing to say no when it would be so much easier to say yes. In short form, step six is for me, freedom from the old me. Thanks for allowing me to share and God Bless.
Member: Bill F.
Location: Lost Angeles
Time: 1:55:20 AM
Oh man was I ready for God to remove all my defects of character on sober day one. Zap Bang Why didn't He get on with it? But I had to have a Higher Power that I understood - Step 3, and I had to know what my defects were - Step 4, and had to admit to myself that I even had real defects of character - Step 5, before I would even know I had been changed. A sponsor once told me the steps are in order for a reason. These sure were for me.
Member: MITCH T
Time: 9:05:26 AM
I Would love to talk about Step six the problem is I never got that far. I,m currently working on step 1, I find myself coming in and out of AA having alot of interrupted sobriety. But I can say this, my happiest times of my life are when I,m sober. I know what I need to do is keep coming back on a regular basis,I would appreciate some encouragment. thanks
Member: Phil W
Location: Kamloops BC
Time: 2:32:27 PM
I am Phil and I am a Grateful Alcoholic i havent got to step 6 yet i am scared to know what life without the defects i have been living with will be like i know there will be a lot of growth and i can finaally find who i really am but it takes time and hard work i am only 20 years old and i have been clean and sober now allmost 65 days i have been in this program scice i was 16 and came becasue of probabtion i am staying in a recovery house in kamloops right now called New Roads Recovery i love it my life has never been this good so many people respect me and see me for who i am and not what i am i love the way living life on lifes terms has taken me i just finnished step one and i am going on step 2 we have our own set of steps and rules in the house for doing them like 50 questions and esasy to write on step 1 and step 4 is 456 questions it is gona take me a month but my sponcer helps me so much he has 35 years in the millitary and is rather strickt. As with my sponcer we are on step 4 and it has been bringing a lot of thinks up that make me feel shitty i hate my character defects like i hate drugs and alcohol asnd i cant wait to change them but it takes time and sometimes i get really scared about who and what i am gona be like when i do i know we live just for today but i like to think ahead once and a while. anyone with sugestions on what i have said i would really like a response it would be a big help but i am off to a aa nonner right now so i thought id right and run ill take 24 and everyone take a 24 to that you for listening
Member: c .p
Time: 6:14:43 AM
Taken from "The Steps We Took" Joe Mcq
STEPS 6 & 7
All the change that comes about through God working in our lives is by our consent and permission. All the growth that happens, happens through our will and our consent. We have to make the decision. We have to become willing and ready, and we can see it building to the point of change. Steps 6 and 7 are the pinnacle of the program. If we look back at the other Steps and see how they work, we can see that we took them to give us the ability to take Steps 6 and 7, where the changes can really begin. In Step 1 we saw the problem, in Step 2 we saw the solution, in Step 3 we made a decision, and in Step 4 we had to go to work to identify the things that blocked us. In Step 5 we re-examined those blocks, getting down to their exact nature, making sure they were fine-tuned. Now weāre ready to start changing. So Steps 6 and 7÷the changing process.
Step 6 is about becoming willing to let go. After all, we have worked for years with the things in our lives that cause us problems. We have made them a part of our lives. We have worked at our character defects and built them into our personalities! Through the power of Step 4, we have seen how damaging these character defects are. After discussing them further with someone else, we should now be willing to let go of them, the Step covers that, too÷because we will pray for the willingness until it comes. (Prayer is useful throughout these Steps!) But we arenāt ready to let go of some of these character defects (or shortcomings, or whatever we choose to call them). Step 6 is getting the willingness to let go of them. Once we are willing, we ask God to remove them in Step 7. steps 6 and 7 are companion Steps. They are not Steps we take one after another like the others. Theyāre Steps we take beside each other. That is, we may see our defects gradually, over time, and we will use Steps 6 and 7 as we see them: we will become willing to let go of them and ask God to remove them. There has been a lot of discussion about these Steps, but they are simple, basic tools of change. They are based on one of the oldest laws of human nature: whatever you practice, you become good at. Whether itās baseball, piano, or typing you learn that skill because you work at it. You canāt go to typing class, learn the theory of typing, and be a good typist. Once you take the ideas the instructor gives you and put them in your mind, then you have to practice those ideas to own them. After that, you own the ability to type. You can go out and sell it daily on the job because you own the skill÷you own it through practice. This is certainly the way we own our defects of character. We have accumulated them through years and years of practice. We have drilled them into our personalities. Our personalities are nothing but a pattern of mental habits we have accumulated and practiced and made into a pattern. Each one of us is a unique personality÷in fact, our personalities are just as unique as our fingerprints. All of us have particular mental habits we have practiced. Now that we have examined this set of patterns that we have, we see that some are unproductive. We should be willing to change them because they are not bringing any returns in our lives. In fact,they are bringing trouble. Weāre actually going to use the same process in changing that weāve used in developing this personality. That is, weāll have to practice something different. Now that we have examined these unproductive things in Step 4 and 5, they should be objectionable to us. Thatās the key word: they should be objectionable to us. We should now see they are of no value to us. If we didnāt do Steps 4 and 5, these things will not have become objectionable to us, and we will see no reason to change. Itās the power of these Steps that makes our defects, our unproductive attitudes, objectionable. Once we see them as objectionable, we will become ready to let go of them, and thatās Step 6. step 7 then comes into play: if we want to change, we will begin to practice something different to take the place of our defects and unproductive attitudes. We will change our personalities by the use of that principle, the principle of change. If you want to change, you canāt give in to the same old ideas produced by the same old thought patterns in the same old mind of the same old personality÷our selfish, dishonest, self-seeking character. Remember, that character is there because we have practiced it. No one can brainwash us. No one can wipe out or remove those ideas from our minds, because they are imbedded there. But we can remove any objectionable idea from our minds by overriding it with better ideas. This is what weāre going to try to do. Then when an old idea comes up, we can recognize it right away. When we see ourselves in an old familiar thought pattern, we say to ourselves: ćThis is not productive. I donāt want to think like this. I know the outcome of this from before. I saw it in the inventory process and when I talked it over with someone else. Thereās no value in the same old outcome, Iām getting out of this.ä Thatās very hard to do in the beginning. But if we donāt lend our thoughts to those old unproductive ideas, theyāll die in our minds. The Big Book assures us, ćThe old ideas will be cast aside and a new set of motives will begin to dominate the mind.ä (p. 27) As the old ideas die, then we can replace them with new ideas.
Step 6 is based on this truth: if you want to change, you donāt do what you want to do. If you donāt do what you want to do, you can slay that old idea with inaction. In the New Testament the apostle Paul says that successful living means daily dying. (1CORINTHIANS 15:31) Many people assume this means physical death, but I believe it means dying in certain areas of our ideas, so that we can live somewhere else. He said only we can slay ourselves. Successful living is daily dying. Only we can do that. We have to die in some small way so we can live in a better way. The real problem is that most people cling to what they are, even though they donāt like it. Itās painful, but at least theyāre familiar with it! Theyāre not ready to give up on that for something better. I like to ask people, ćHow do you get a new car? Whatās the very first thing you do to get a new car?ä Most people will say you start by looking in the newspaper or by going to the dealership, those kind of things. Thatās not right. The first thing you have to do is give up on the old car. As long as you think, ćI can put new tires onä or whatever, youāll still have the old one. Somewhere along the line you say, ćIām through with this.ä Then youāre on the road to a new car. This is what we have to do here in Steps 6 and 7: we have to give up in certain areas. As we stop doing the things we want to do, we force ourselves to do the things we donāt want to do. As we force ourselves to do these things, we get the benefits of these new thought patterns. They bring us different returns. Weāve learned that our lives are like a business: we have a certain stock-in-trade, and our lives are based on what we have on hand to trade in. If we are trading with better ideas, theyāre going to bring better returns into our business of living. As they bring in better returns, then weāll buy into these ideas even more and make them part of our personalities. Weāll look at the new ideas and say, ćThese are valuable. I like these.ä Over a very short period of time, weāll find ourselves noticing these new ideas becoming a part of our personalities. The old attitudes we used to act out will become less and less. New traits, backed by our new thoughts, will replace them. With different ideas, we have a different stock-in-trade, and weāll be getting different things back, so weāll be having a different life! Because, as weāve said earlier, our lives are based on the ideas we produce in our minds! Once you make yourself do those things that arenāt easy or attractive to you, you will begin to see the rewards. But you canāt receive rewards unless you do it. We can have all kinds of grand, philosophical ideas, but if we donāt make them a part of our personalities and live them, they are of no value. Many people have great ideas, but those ideas are not really a part of their lives. For instance, we can decide we donāt want to gossip anymore. We all get into gossiping because others are into it. Itās very hard to avoid. If somebody gossips, you canāt just say, ćWell, I donāt gossip.ä Youāre afraid that if you did, nobody would talk to you. So you buy into it and listen. But I realize each time Iām involved in any gossip that what it is, is selfishness. By participating, Iām saying Iām better than this person being talked about. I am actually building my ego on somebody elseās downfall. We have taken the first five Steps. At this point, many people make the mistake of turning it over to God and expecting God to apply Steps 6 and 7 to their lives. But these are our Steps÷God doesnāt need to take Steps 6 and 7. We do. One of the greatest mistakes people make with Steps 6 and 7 is thinking that itās some easy, automatic process. We turn it over to God and say, ćFix me up, give me the $29.95 special.ä Itās not going to happen. Remember, weāve been given self-will. Although we canāt do it by ourselves, and we have to ask for the strength to do it, only we can refashion our personalities. If God controlled the personality, it would have never gotten in the shape we let it get in! We can fashion this new personality based on what weāve learned, the insights weāve gained, in Steps 4 and 5. There are certain things weāve seen that have become objectionable to us, so we begin to work against those things. We work against them and replace them, and the new things will then become our new character. We can use the new ideas and thought patterns,and get better returns. We can buy into them and let them become part of our lives. And we can also change that later, if need be. We can go anywhere we want to go, most of the time, based on what we want to give up. Everyone thinks change is based on what youāre going to get÷but change has a lot to do with what youāre willing to get rid of. Itās like a hot air balloon that goes up when you throw the sand out of it. A lot of people donāt want to throw the sand out; they want to keep the sand and still go up. Remember, we are discovering the principles of living. Theyāre universal and unchanging. Life is based on the principles. All the great religions teach the principles. Thereās a great similarity regardless of where we see them, in one group or the other. Thereās a great oneness in the principles of living. Behind everything is a principle: everything on the face of this earth, everything we make, everything we manufacture, has a set of principles behind it. We are created with a se of principles, too. Thereās a way to live; you can find it in many great books, all the great religions, any Twelve-Step program. We look at the Twelve Steps as just simple principles, without a lot of instructions. And people show you how to use those principles. I think religion took the same principles, put a lot of instructions with them, added a lot of comment to them over a thousand years÷to where now people can hardly find the principles in their programs. Often religious groups have gotten involved in other things and gotten away from the basic principles of how to live. So the whole process from now on is change. We must be open, we must be willing, we must see the power of change. We must realize our inability to change anyone else. We can see all the frustrations this has brought into our lives. We have learned that the key to changing a situation from now on is to change ourselves, change our reactions, and not even try to change anybody else. The best way to change things ćout thereä is to change ourselves. We change our reactions, and we are free. And ironically, by doing so, we may produce some changes out there. When we were drinking or using drugs or pursuing any other compulsion, we were trying to fill our emptiness up with the wrong things. Alcohol, drugs, food, control of other people÷all of these are expressions of people who donāt have the principles for living. These compulsions are just symptoms of the problem, and the Steps donāt deal with symptoms. The Steps are not talking about dealing with alcohol, drugs, food, co-dependency. The Steps teach us how to live. If weāre learning how to live and practicing the principles, then the problem wonāt be there÷because itās just a symptom. Whatever our compulsion or addiction is, it is only a symptom of an underlying illness. (There will never be enough of this thing we think when weāre living lives based on self÷never enough of what we think will satisfy us!) But if we use the program, we can get over our compulsion. Itās a simple process. Not only do we get over it, but we find out the result of getting over it is that we get some living skills weād never have gotten if we hadnāt the problem! So, actually, we come out of the situation a lot better than we went into it: we gain the tools to live by. I always like to use the illustration of how to lose weight when we talk about the principle of change. If you want to change the body, you use the same principle as you use to change the mind. The body is the result of the food we put into it. (Thatās what our minds are÷the result of the thoughts that we have put into them, from the very first one we had until today.) If we want to change the body, we have to change the food we put into it. If you want to lose some weight, you have to stop eating the food you really like÷maybe itās candy or fast foods, milk shakes and French fries and all that stuff. Those things are objectionable, and why are they objectionable? You looked in the mirror and saw yourself, you saw how you looked, and you saw the results of eating those foods. (When we looked in the ćmirrorä with Steps 4 and 5, we saw our personalities.) Now those foods have become objectionable. If you want to change, then you have to not eat those foods. You have to deny yourself. When you donāt eat those foods, you have to turn around and make yourself eat others that you probably donāt like, some low-calorie foods, most likely salads, vegetables. You really donāt like that stuff. What you really like is the other stuff, but you donāt like what itās doing to you. As you work against your self, as you stop eating what you want to eat and start eating what you donāt want to eat, youāre going to see some changes in your body. As your body begins to change and you start losing weight, you think better about yourself. Your self-esteem goes up, you can do things you couldnāt do before, you have different relationships÷your life is really beginning to change as a result of this. Then itās very interesting: people tell me that food they didnāt like÷the low-calorie stuff÷they begin to like. They donāt even want the things they used to anymore. Those new foods have become a part of their way of life. The same thing happens in the human personality. We get rid of the old things and start practicing the new. With these new things÷more love, tolerance, patience÷we begin to have more people in our lives and fewer and fewer problems with people. As we receive more courage, we can do things we couldnāt do before. Our self-esteem grows. We feel better about ourselves. As we practice the Steps, we see powerful changes taking place in our lives. I look at the battles that go on in life, and I look at the resentments and fears, guilt and remorse, and how these things block us from God and shackle us to the self. Then I look at love, tolerance, patience, courage, and wisdom. These qualities have come from God, and they are always within us. In our outer and inner conflicts, we can see the powers of self combating the powers of God. We look at those things÷the powers of God we have within us÷and recognize that they are powerful tools. We have not been using them because we were traveling on resentments, we were traveling on fears, we were traveling on guilt and remorse. Yet all people have these powers from God, powers for good, in their personalities. God put these in each person. These powers, these awesome forces are right within us. We havenāt been using them because we have been blocked from them by clinging to our selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, fearful, inconsiderate characters. As we begin to let go of these traits, we begin to see the real qualities of God within us. Our shortcomings are removed based on what we want to let go of. If we let go of fear, courage is going to come into our lives. If we donāt practice resentments, weāre going to see love, tolerance, patience, understanding, and good will coming into our lives. We practice those things and see our relationships with people grow. These changes will come about, and weāll see the awesome power that lies within these forces. We can accomplish things each day that we never could do before. The Big Book says we can go places and do things that we never could before. The Big Book says we have tapped an ćinner resourceä of strength. (pp.569-570) This is power. You know, hereās what a shortcoming is: when youāre long on resentments, then youāre necessarily short on love, tolerance, and patience. Itās like sliding a scale. Youāre supposed to have some resentments÷theyāre what makes you competitive÷but if that side of the scale goes too far, then it makes you shorter on the side of the scale with the real powers of life, powers like love, tolerance, and patience. If you have too much resentment, you canāt express the real powers, and you have to express either one or the other. Some people donāt really see love in themselves. Itās there, but it seems non-existent because it hasnāt been expressed in the personality. Just what is love? Love is basically concern for another personās welfare or for our own welfare. All of us are designed to have the ability to be concerned about ourselves and about each other. God put it in every person. Without our ability to be concerned about each other, the human race could not exist. We couldnāt have families, neighbourhoods, states, or nations. Love is a bond that is natural. Most of the time we hear it expressed differently, like in the context of a male-female relationship, but love is a feeling we all feel. Itās what makes us bond together. When a person does not have this ability to bond with others, then heās not fitting into the family, heās not fitting into relationships, heās not fitting into the society in general.Love is a powerful force for healing. I like what Martin Luther King said÷that love is the most powerful force on the Itās like sliding a scale. When youāre long on fear, youāre necessarily short on courage. When youāre long on love, tolerance, and patience, youāre short on resentments. face of the earth. Gandhi said love is the only thing that could turn an enemy into a friend. Itās an amazing thing÷you take all the bombs and weapons we have, no matter how many we have, weāll never make friends with these weapons. But we could with love. And I see that happening in the world today. Through a series of circumstances that have happened in other countries, and also through our concern in helping them with their problems, we are seeing some downgrading of the ability to wage war! Sometimes a person might say, ćWell, I donāt have these positive forces in me.ä They are so blocked, but down inside they do have them! As we begin to practice these new positive traits (love, patience, tolerance, for example), we begin to see the real value in them, and we find that we are developing true concern for other people. And concern for ourselves as well. I ask a lot of people who come into the program, selfish, self-centred, and messed up with these character defects, ćHow concerned have you been for your own life for the last couple of years?ä We need to learn the wisdom of ćLove your neighbour as yourself.ä (Matthew 22:39) If youāre not concerned about your own life, you canāt be concerned about your neighbour simply because concern is not there. To go out and do things for other people without this self-love is a token. Itās hollow÷youāre trying to do something to cover up the hollowness inside of you. Thatās using other people. Or itās bargaining with God, trying to earn His love. We canāt earn Godās love, because itās free. Deep, true concern for others will come after we have realized our own value in Godās eyes. Then it will grow with time, over the years. Love is a two-way street: it has to be given and received. A lot of people donāt have that ability because they canāt receive. They canāt let another person help them. If we canāt receive, then we canāt truly give. This ultimately makes for conflict, and we respond with resentments. We really need to consider the power of giving up. We can ask ourselves in a certain situation, ćWhat is it that I have to give up?ä Weāre always looking at what weāre going to get, but we should look for what weāre going to give up and be able to spot that right away. Itās usually simple÷itās usually one of the character defects weāve talked about.
How this ćspirituality of subtractionä worksWas stated beautifully by Meister Eckhart, a14th century mystic: ćIt is said that nature abhors a vacuum; I tellyou God abhors a vacuum and cannot abide avacuum anywhere on earth. So, empty yourselfof self and you automatically fill with God.ä
Hereās how it works÷when you get rid of a character defect, you have overcome a shortcoming! Itās practically automatic. By natureās law, there canāt be a void. There is no void in the universe. Something rushes in to fill a void. So if youāre willing to let go of a defect, the void it leaves is going to be filled by its opposite. Fear is going to be replaced with courage; resentments with love, tolerance, patience, understanding, good will towards others. When you let go of one, itās not going to leave a hole, a blank spot. This positive thing will be there to take its place. Nobody had to teach me love, tolerance and patience. I had never used them, but they were there. This process is sometimes frightening. I used to say to myself, ćIām some kind of freak because I donāt have that positive quality. I never have done that÷maybe I was created without the ability, and Iāll have to learn it.ä I didnāt have to learn it, though. When I got rid of other things, it was already there! I have a pretty rocking chair down in my office. When I first bought that building, someone had run off and left it behind. There wasnāt anything there of any value, but there was this old rocking chair. It was just a horrible-looking mess, painted black, with one of the rungs broken out of the back of it. I decided Iād keep it, thinking maybe one of these days I might put it together. Quite a few years went by and it just sat in the attic. Several times some of the guys tempted me to throw it away; in fact, Iād find it around by the dumpster and Iād bring it back, saying I was going to look at it one of these days. So I finally got this old rocking chair out of the attic and into the light downstairs so I could really see it. And I began to look at it, and I saw that it was a really fine chair. I got some paint stripper, and I began to strip it. I stripped all the paint away and found that it was solid oak. I took the old raggedy bottom that had been covered over many, many times with different cloth and with tacks, and I tore it off and threw it all away. There was one broken rung and I made an identical one by bending one and putting it in there. I sanded and sanded and refinished this chair. Finally, I took it to the upholstery shop. I asked the man there how much it would cost to put a nice white velvet bottom in it. He looked at it and said, ćIāll be glad to put it in there, but before I fix it, Iāll offer you $350 for that chair.ä That beautiful, valuable chair was always there. It was there all the time! It was simply covered up. That chair has always been beautiful since the day the guy made it. And thatās the way I am÷and you are÷with Godās life inside us. God made us this way÷beautiful and valuable. Like the rocking chair, over a period of years, I covered myself up with all sorts of things and made a big mess. The Steps of this program have enabled me to uncover, discover, and discard. Itās a program of getting rid of things to get down to what we want. Itās not a program of getting anything. Itās a program of getting rid of things: uncovering, discovering, and discarding. I believe that deep down inside everyone is the fundamental idea of God. We might have covered it up, but itās there. Regardless of what we see in the most horrible individual, down underneath he still has the qualities of God to live by. He may not be using them, and we may punish him for his actions, but he is created with these things÷these God-qualities. Each and every one of us is. We donāt have to go out and look for them. All we have to do is convince ourselves that they are already there. Our personalities are just like gold. You have to really dig to get it. Thatās why it has value. If gold could be found all over the streets, everybody could get all they wanted. That might be great, but then gold wouldnāt have any value. There would be too much of it, and it would be too easily found. Itās the same way with life. It may take a lot of digging, scraping, a lot of mining; thatās what weāre doing in Steps 6 and 7. but remember, weāre mining for gold! For our innermost selves! This is whatās fascinating about Steps 6 and 7÷this looking into ourselves and going after our own gold, our God-qualities. Of course, this gold-mining weāre talking about is a lifetime task. But whatever our immediate problem is÷our compulsion or addiction÷we can be surprised at the progress we make in a few months. We may have a change sufficient to recover in 100 days. According to the Big Book, we can change the personality by use of the principles in Steps 6 and 7, by working against some traits, in 100 days. Then we can go on and on with the process for the rest of our lives. The first, early changes get us on the road, put us in sight of our goal: to grow spiritually. Like with patience, for example. You canāt really work on patience. But if you use patience, you see the power of it, the power of the ability to wait. Sitting and waiting for a streetlight to change, even little things such as this can make us impatient. Well, youāve got to sit there anyway, so you might as well enjoy it. Iāve had a lot of people tell me that in reading directions for glue, the directions may say ćwait five minutes,ä and in two minutes theyāre putting their finger in there because they donāt have the little bit of patience to wait. Patience is accepting Godās timing in life. There is a time process involved in everything. Patience is the ability to allow the time for things to work. The individual has to fit into the timing, and patience is the ability to fit into the timing of life. If we donāt fit into the timing of life, then we experience frustrations, irritations÷simply because we are not letting life happen. We are trying to make life happen on our time, which it never will. So patience÷the ability to wait, to fit the timing of life÷is a powerful tool.
We may get up every day and have plans. Itās okay to have plans. Most of us get up and think about our day at work, for example, about what weāre going to do that day. Youāre mentally fitting all this in, trying to fit in twice as much as you can get done. But you head for work, and the Fire Dept. has the street blocked off. So what weāre talking about here is that plans are great, but our plans have to be open to change. We have to be able to adjust throughout the day and let things happen. Some days I have certain plans and everything falls into place just fine÷itās unbelievable÷and on that kind of day I figure Iāll get everything done that I can.
Other days it just wonāt happen.Hereās how Steps 6 and 7 most often happen: We go through a period of time when we ask, ćWhatās wrong with me?ä We get so much new self-awareness, awareness of our character defects. As we see things that we want to change and work against these things, we (and others) will see the personality change begin to take place. We will have different responses to situations. This is the key to our growth: we realize we canāt change the situation or other people, but we can change our response to it! I remember when I was very new and going through all these changes, a situation came up at work and I got in an unpleasant discussion with the manager. I felt real bad about it. I saw that I was wrong. It was the first time in years I could remember seeing that. That was some growth taking place in me. I went to this guy÷Iāll never forget, he was closing up for the night and he was counting money, he was preoccupied÷and I told him I wanted to talk to him. I said I wanted to make amends to him for what I said when this thing came up. ćWhat was that?ä he said. I went on to explain to him, and he said, ćIt was nothing÷it just came under the heat of us being busy.ä I remember how good I felt when I went home that night. It was like experiencing something brand new. I could see the value of it. Remember, we never know the value of something until we put it into our stock-in-trade. Like a businessman, if heās selling shoddy goods, heāll never know how many customers he would have if he put something really good in. And he may never know what a truly successful business is. All of us are different people; no two of us have the same desires or motivations. Thank God we donāt. We will always be individual personalities. No two of us start from the same place. No two of us are going to end up in the same place. I think along the road each one of us will fashion a much better life with the tools of change the program gives us. Change is the name of the game. As God reveals things to us, we can make changes. And we can continue to grow and grow forever. We can give up and grow, give up and grow, and this is unending.
Member: richard m
Location: sarasota, florida
Time: 9:29:15 AM
Helo my name is richard. I am an alcoholic. today is 5963 , since my last drink....one day at a time..... Only Byy GODS GRACE AND LOVE has this been possible . Tracy , no need for shame.If we were perfect we could do it on our own . The let go and let god really works . we just ned to quit takeng it back.email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: The Beach
Time: 2:26:35 PM
Step Six was a turning point in my life. The willingness was a hard part of it all, but once I was moving through six and seven, the obsession to drink vanished. Just like that. I have remained willing to do what it takes and I have not had drink since.
Member: Michelle B (BabySteps)
Location: Vta, Ca.
Time: 2:03:25 AM
Hello everybody...Michelle, Alcoholic....Wow! Did I come in at the perfect moment! "Entirely ready..." I guess not! I really tried to work on, in, out, and through this step via the BB and the 12&12 a long time ago. My sponsor had me at it again numerous times over the years, but usually bypassing the 6th and dealing with my participation and enjoyment of the seven deadlies. It is VERY apparent to me that I need to back-up a bit. I guess I haven't been truly ready. I jusy got back from the beach - God's world makes me so small at the ocean.... And through my tears, I realized I have been holding onto SOMETHING that keeps kickin' my a__! I believe I am ready now... THANKS...THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES!
Location: Mt Vernon.IL
Time: 4:57:37 AM
Hi, I am anil, an alcoholic. Step six for me is simply asking myself, Am I ready to take a stand, am I ready to have some values, am I ready for change, and am I willing to say no when it would be so much easier to say yes. In short form, step six is for me, freedom from the old me. Thanks for allowing me to share and God Bless. Thanks to AA and AL anon members.
Member: Anonymous Alcoholic
Location: 2689 Ridgecrest Drive
Time: 9:00:23 AM
Today, Sunday 4/28/02, I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. One of my recent insights into this step concerns the word "THESE". I believe (although I haven't tried to find it in the 12 and 12) that the word 'these' is a link to step 5. What I mean is that in step 5 rather than going on and on about every single nasty story, all I really need to tell my sponsor is what my character defects are.
Anyway, one of my character defects is going on and on, way past the point of another wanting to listen (read). So I'll stop now. Thanks.