Step Six

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.



Dear Fellow Travelers,

Step Six Essay

Addicts are given to magical thinking. It is one of the symptoms of addiction. So, having made a list of defects and told it around, the next step ought to be to get God to wave a magic wand and do away with those few that I possess.

It's something like trying to swim across a swift stream. I can wear myself out trying to swim straight across, or I can swim in conjunction with the current and come out some way down stream from where I started, but nevertheless across. Going with the flow in this instance means to let the powerful force of the current have its way without having to have "my way or none," and therefore I get across, while "my way or none" results in mostly "none."

There are two kinds of magic, really, if magic is the word. The magic of magical thinking is a belief that somehow, if we can get the right potion, spell, or alignment or some such, we can get the results we want. The real magic happens when we line ourselves up with the real energies of the universe and allow them to flow over us and through us and energize us to do the things that are necessary for our recovery. The energy of which I speak is that of our Higher Power.

God, as I understand God, can wash away my defects of character if I am willing to stand in the current, the energy stream, that is the source of the will, the strength, and the capability to remove character defects. I have to put myself in the right place or position, and be willing for God to do this work in God's own way. Any effort to skip over this or trot past it in a rush will result in my not being in the right place for God to accomplish these things, and if I expect something to happen as a result, I am truly engaging in addictive magical thinking.

So what this step says to me is that I am beginning to need to get in touch with reality. God, what a horrible thought. After all, one function of an addiction is to avoid reality. Isn't the real solution to all problems another little binge? In stupor I can imagine myself without any defects of character. Any problems are yours, not mine. I have none. This way of thinking was constant when I was in my addiction. But Step Six draws me up short. There is a reality there, and now I have to come to terms with that reality.

Even Steps One to Three are not enough reality, necessarily. As an addict, I can be the most pious you-know-what around, if I choose to be that way. Surrender to God? Sure. I wrote the book on it. Have another bite. But there is no such way around Step Six. My piousity is not going to do this job. Of course, it really didn't do the job on the first three steps, if this is the way I worked them. All I got was "fat serenity," the addictive delusion that I've made everything all right with God, when the sign that things are all right, abstinence, is lacking. But there's no place to hide with Step Six. If you've come this far, you really have to be turning your life and will over to the God of your understanding, or you really won't change.

This is to finally come to the sacred space within. My own image so much of the time is one of being bathed in light, a light that can penetrate all the darkness within me, and do away with the dark things that are lurking there. It is only an image, but it guides me to a place where the possibility of emotional and spiritual recovery as well as physical now become a real possibility for me.

I have much to do yet, but I have done much already. And one thing I do know is that before I ask for a miracle, I have to put myself in the place where the miracle can happen. For me, that means working my program 24/7, because that's where it happens. I forgot to bring a magic wand on this journey, so I have to get myself into a right relationship with my Higher Power, a relationship in which love conquers in its wonderful, slow, inexorable, beautiful, and thorough way. This is the best magic, after all, I think. I am just a muggle, anyway.

Love,
John

Note: A muggle is someone without magical powers in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, if you don't know.


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