Leader's Share and Step Questions
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The principle behind Step Six is WILLINGNESS
[This is another Step using the word, "God," and by now you have a way to deal with that.]
Hello, fellow OA-ers, I'm Susan29 W, still trudging along the "Broad Highway" with all of you! I've been so touched by all the Step Five posts! Some of you are finding a new way of life, and you're such an inspiration to the rest of us! :-) Today, with Step Six, we're at the halfway point of the Steps! Wow! And by now, some of you should be experiencing some of the "Promises" found in the AABB. Thank you, all, who share with the loop -- so many of us get a great deal out of reading other people's ESH (Experience, Strength and Hope). Keep up the good work!
Before I get to Step Six, I need to demonstrate some "rigorous honesty" with you. :-} Last week I ate some food not on my POE, and I ate it between meals (also not part of my POE). There's good news in this, and I'm eager to share it. But first of all, I want to share with you *why* I'm sharing this with you. I'm telling you this because it's important for me to remain humble and honest -- especially with all of you. I told you all that I was committed to being abstinent during this whole 12-week course, and I broke that commitment. It's important for me to tell you this because it holds such valuable lessons for me -- and perhaps for you.
The first lesson I learned is the reminder that this disease of COE is "cunning, baffling and powerful." It can sneak up on anyone -- even your "abstinent leader" with "great recovery." But the second lesson I learned is that one slip does *NOT* mean a full-blown relapse. I ate one in-between-meal snack on one evening last week. This behavior was off my POE. However, I was right back on my POE (and abstinent!) the very next meal. In the past, if I broke my diet with one non-diet item, that would have given me permission to raid the kitchen like a banshee on steroids! :-) I would have eaten every "bad" food in the house, and I would have seen this as a "oh-well-I've-blown-it-so-why-not-go-whole-hog" excuse to start another COE spree. It would have been the end of my dieting for weeks/months/years. That did *not* happen here! I have been back on my POE since the moment after that slip. I see this as a direct result of having worked these Steps. The Steps have changed how I behave in many areas, and especially with my food and my behavior with food. If I break my abstinence one moment, I can be right back into abstinence the next. The only "failure" for me in OA is the failure to get right back into my abstinence.
So thank you for letting me share this with you. I'm still happy/joyous/free despite this slip, and I re-commit my plan of abstinence with you. I can't forget that The Disease is "out in the hall doing pushups" while I'm in here writing my WTS shares! :-) Ok, on to Step Six! :-)
Step Six uses the verb phrase, "were entirely ready." All three words are equally important to me. "Were" implies that the subject of the sentence is the plural, "WE." This is *still* a "we" program. I simply canNOT do this program all by myself, in my room, with my AABB in my hand. I need others. I need the fellowship. I need OA-ers who are new, recovered, and relapsing -- I need you all! With all of you I can see my past, my present, and my future. Addicts have terrible memories. :-) The pain of "the first bite" that we took last week (like me! ) is too easily forgotten. The pain of jumping down someone's throat in a fit of rage is too easily justified. The pain of not staying spiritually fit is too easily ignored. We need each other. "Together we can do what we could never do alone."
The next word is, "entirely." Oh, yeah, that reminds me of that famous AABB quote: "Half-measures avail us nothing." The AABB certainly stresses that if we're *not* in a mindset of "entirely," we don't get a little bit of recovery, we get *NO* recovery.
And the last word is "ready." So I don't have to actually "do" anything here except sit still and "become entirely ready" in order for something to happen. This is a thoughtful action, not a physical action. But it has to be done, because if I'm not ready for what's coming, then it's not going to happen.
[For example, if I'm supposed to be ready at 2 pm to drive to a doctor's appointment, and I'm *not* ready to leave at 2 pm, then I *DON'T* leave at 2 pm! It simply doesn't happen! I may leave at 2:02 or 2:15 or 3:30, or I may miss the appointment entirely! But I do *not* leave at 2 pm because I was NOT READY. And "entirely ready" for my appointment means that I can't have on all my clothes except, say, my shoes. If I'm "sort of" ready, but not wearing my shoes, I'm still NOT READY.]
Ready for what? [Um, I mean, ENTIRELY ready for what? ] Well, again, it's not something I'm going to physically do. What I'm getting entirely ready for is for someone else to do something for me. I'm opening myself up, so to speak, so someone/something else can do something. I'm getting entirely ready to have my HP remove my CD's (character defects, defects of character, flaws, faults, short-comings, unattractive personality traits, etc.). Yep, *I* don't remove them -- my HP has to remove them. And trust me, HPs will do just that -- but only if I'm not standing in the way -- only if I'm ENTIRELY READY to have that happen.
It has been said that we're as powerless over our CD's as we are over food. I have to believe that Step One applies to my CD's in the same way it applies to my compulsive eating. I'm as addicted to my CD's as I am to my trigger foods. HP gave me the gift of abstinence, and he can give me freedom from my CD's -- if I'm willing to be entirely ready for him to remove them.
So, why wouldn't I want that to happen? Why wouldn't I want someone to remove from me, say, my potential to be a Ms. CrankyPants? Why would I cling to *any* CD? When I first read this Step, I thought everyone would want to get rid of every CD! But apparently some of our CD's can feel "cling-worthy." Self-righteousness was one that I found I wanted to hold onto. It allowed me to justify any feelings of "I'm right and you're wrong." This is all EGO talking, of course. But after working the Steps, that first blush of HUMILITY taught me that I'm no better (or no "right-er") than anyone else. So when those feelings of self-righteousness pop up in me, it means that HUMILITY is being chucked out the window. I can't be doing HP's will if I'm clinging to *MY* will (my being right, my being better than you, my wanting to do it my way).
My EGO was "in charge" for a long time. Perhaps it grew large for a very good reason... For example, if I were a victim of abuse, then the EGO needed to puff up at least somewhat or I'd have been "annihilated." EGO saved me on some level. But now I'm an adult and an ADDICT, and EGO will keep me in my disease of COE. It's no longer "saving" me, it's actually killing me (with CD's that push me toward food which is used to "self-medicate"). For me to recover, these CD's have to go. They "block" me from doing HP's will. They "block" me from being useful to my fellow humans. ["Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to [our Higher Power] and the people about us." AABB pg. 77] I really need to have this "psychic change" that the AABB talks about, so my old ways have to stop. The AABB has a wonderful prayer that gets me ready for that.
STEP SIX PRAYER
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 &
guide me toward spiritual & mental health.
I hope you'll join me in getting "entirely ready" for the next phase.
A. Read in the AABB, from the last paragraph on page 75 thru the first paragraph on page 76 (just two paragraphs!).
1.) Make a list of as many CD's (character defects, flaws, short-comings, unattractive personality traits, etc.) as you can think of. [You don't have to share this with the loop unless you want to.] Some of mine were selfishness, self-centeredness, self-importance, impatience, people-pleaser, intolerance, bossiness, low self-esteem, etc....
2.) The principle behind this Step is WILLINGNESS, and it's discussed in the two-paragraph reading. Why is willingness so important here? Have you shown yourself to have willingness in earlier Steps? In what way? [Give examples of how your new-found WILLINGNESS has lead you thru these Steps.]
3.) Why do you think we have to ask our Higher Power (HP / God / your choice) to get rid of these CD's? Why can't we get rid of them ourselves?
4.) What CD's are you still clinging to? Why? What payoff do you get by clinging to them? [Note to myself: I don't do anything unless there's a payoff.]
5.) Look at your list from #1 (above), and re-read the Step Six prayer. Think about whether or not you really are entirely ready to have these removed. If you're not entirely ready for some, list them, and write about how you can become WILLING to have these removed by your HP.
See you next week for Step Seven! :-)
The Twelve Steps
© Copyright 1995 ~ 2012 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved