My share on Steps Six and Seven: The first time I did these two steps I had no idea that I was not the one who was going to do the removing of defects; that, in fact, I was just as completely powerless over my character defects as I was my food. I was going to rely on my Higher Power to take these defects from me just as my HP did for the obsession of food. How cool is that!
So, I had to get ready to give up my defects. Of course, I was ready to give up these things that had such a hold on me and prevented me from moving forward with my life. Or was I? On closer examination I saw that what I really wanted was to give up the "consequences" of those defects, not the defects themselves. Just as I had for years and years wanted to give up being fat BUT did not want to give up my overeating. Ha! I knew it! Trick question once again!
I began to look more closely at these defects of mine that I held so close to my heart. Fear was my number one defect. Why would I not want to give up fear? It had such a grip on my life and ruled my world. I was tired of being so afraid to do anything or go anywhere. But then, on the other hand, fear kept me at home in my safe little cocoon where I didn't have to try and be brave. I could simply stay at home, do nothing but moan and groan. No need to fear failure if I didn't even bother to try, right?
My next biggest defect was resentments. I hoarded my resentments and brought them out into the light when I really wanted to feel bad. The world was against me! I had the proof! Just look at all those resentments, at everything people had done to me. I had the right to feel as bad as I did! But? Didn't those same resentments cut me off from having healthy relationships with people? Wasn't my mind filled with past hatreds that fed on the negativity of my addiction? Weren’t my resentments keeping me from recovery, from becoming the person that I was meant to be?
Pride allowed me to cover up my insecurities with my oversized ego. Sure I could feel good about myself, but it was often at the expense of other people. It also kept me from developing healthy relationships, mostly because my focus was always on self.
Dishonesty kept me imprisoned in the disease of compulsive overeating for 35 years of my adult life. If I did not believe I had a disease of addiction, then it wasn't true. Right? Ha! I was and still am an addict, whether I believe it or not. Honesty is absolutely essential in my progress down the road of recovery. Until and unless I can face the truth of who I am and what I have done, I will not be able to change what needs to be changed.
Yes, after reviewing the pros and cons of my defects, I have decided to give them up as they hinder my further emotional and spiritual developments. So how do I do this? Where do I begin?
Step Seven begins with humility, not to be mistaken with being humiliated. The dictionary says that being humble is not to be proud and/or haughty or pretentious. Then I noticed that humility and humble are a part of the word HUMAN. So, what does the dictionary say about the word human? Of or relating to the species people belong to. So, for me, humility allows me to be on equal footing with the rest of the people of the world, neither above nor below anyone else.
I pray for the humility needed to let go of my shortcomings. I take my list of defects and I kneel before my Higher Power and I hand over my shortcomings as I did with my obsession of food.
Will my defects be removed immediately? Perhaps, perhaps not. I know it takes a while for my willingness to develop in letting go of a defect. It is a process of my being more and more aware of what a defect is doing to me and how it is preventing me from further emotional and spiritual growth. The more awareness I have, the more acceptance I have that the defect needs to be removed and that acceptance allows me to become more willing to have my HP remove it from my care.
This step taught me that I am NOT my defects. Since I am a human being and not perfect, I will always have defects along the way. I accept that and am able to change what needs to be changed with the help of my Higher Power.
To have a defect removed is a powerful miracle for me. For years I suffered several phobias that kept me from moving ahead in life. Fear of heights was one of them. Then a few years ago, my mother and I were driving through the Shenandoah Mountains and I was commenting on the beautiful scenery when my mother said, "Hey, you don't have your blinders on!" *Laughing* For years, whenever I drove through mountains, I would have to put my hand up to my eyes to protect myself from the steep views. Now I could view the mountains in all their glory without quaking and getting dizzy. That was a wonderful feeling for me!
There have been many, many moments like that. The whole process of working through the steps and incorporating what I have learned into my daily life has allowed me to change into a person that I love and admire. I like me! I really, really do!
May the Twelve Step process allow you to become the person that you have always wanted to be.
Love in recovery,
The Sixth Step Prayer:
Dear God, I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself and guide me toward spiritual and mental health. Amen.
Principle of Step Six:
In Step Six we learned more about the necessity of willingness as we became entirely ready to let go of our shortcomings. We apply this principle in many ways now, learning through each day's experience the difference between self-will and a simple willingness to cooperate with the guidance of our Higher Power.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 104-105.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Seventh Step Prayer:
My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do Your bidding. Amen
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous: Page 76
Principle of Step Seven:
In Step Seven we began to understand the meaning of humility. We practice this principle today by continuing to let go of status seeking and of thoughts and actions by which we belittled ourselves and others, and to humbly trust God for the removal of our shortcomings.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 105.
Study Guide to Steps Six and Seven:
To help comprehend the questions, please read The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Read the chapters on Step Six and Seven, answer the questions, go back and reread those chapters and add onto your answers if needed.
You might also like to read in the BB of AA, page 76. (Fourth Edition)
Questions for Step Six:
1. What is the difference between saying I am entirely ready and being entirely ready?
2. Why is it so hard to be entirely ready to part with my defects? Am I fearful? Do I feel I would be less interesting as a human being without some of my defects?
3. What are the choice defects that I would rather keep?
4. What does EACH of my defects do "FOR" me? (note: What was the benefit?)
5. What do EACH of my defects do "TO" me? (note: How did it affect me?)
Questions for Step Seven
1. What is my concept of humility?
2. What have I learned in OA about humility?
3. Why do I want my HP to remove my shortcomings?
4. Why is it important for me to accept each of my defects?
5. What is my list of defects?
6. What do I do when I make a mistake?
7. How do I cultivate the willingness to have any newly discovered defects removed?
8. Which character traits that have hurt me have become great assets when applied to the right things at the right times?
9. How has repeated practice of Step Seven affected my relationship with my HP?