Here are some questions that pertain to Step 6.
1. What does it mean to be entirely ready?
2. Why does this step put the onus of removal on God and not on you?
3. What is YOUR part in this process?
4. How do you respond to the term “defect of character”? Bill W. was once asked why he used so many different terms for these issues: problems, defects of character, our wrongs, our shortcomings....He said it was because an English teacher had taught him not to use the same word over and over again. Does this make any difference in how you respond to the term “defect of character”?
5. What are the defects of character that you are getting ready to have removed?
6. Are there some you are not yet willing to let go of?
7. Does this mean you are stuck at Step 6 until you become ready?
8. What do you do to work through this?
9. Might there be some appropriate reason to hang on to some of them?
10. Is this just a thinking step, or are there actions you need to do in order to become entirely ready?
11. Will you ask help from anyone in order to be able to complete this step? Who? Why?
12. What joys and blessings do you expect once you have taken this step?
Here are my answers to these questions:
For me, to be entirely ready means to stop waffling...to get off the fence....to realize there are no other options...to make a decision and take the next right action that is indicated by that decision. It is not about knowing for sure that this decision is the right one...it more likely involves faith that my HP will make it clear if I am wrong, and will create a path for me to follow that will lead back to the one I ought to have been on in the first place. This does not say I have to be entirely willing....just ready. I think part of this ‘ready’ comes from steps 1 and 2 where I can clearly see that I cannot do this on my own. It is about admitting that my way isn’t working, no matter how much I wish it would work. I hate heights. If somehow you convince me to climb up to a 3 meter diving board and walk to the end....I will be entirely ready to jump in. I will NEVER be willing...and you may need to push me....but I will be ready. Some of us come to this place willingly....some of us end up here because there is no going back. Either way, we can be entirely ready....
This step puts the onus of removal on God and not on me because, duh....I am powerless! If I could have fixed myself, I would have, wouldn’t I? And, God knows, I’ve tried. I cringe to think of how much money I have wasted on self-help books, diet books, diet food, diet companies, etc etc. I need God to help me, because I have run out of options.
My part in the process is to say, “OK FINE!” if I am in a snippy mood, or “God, please help” if I am feeling more gracious. My part is to STOP CLUTCHING my CDs as if my life depended on them...and to be willing to change and be changed.
I believe that everything in creation is a gift from God...that sometimes we mis-use what we have been given(for myriads of reasons, not all of which are our fault by any means), and that that mis-use causes us and others difficulties. Some of my CDs were the very thing that kept me alive when I was young. I did not have appropriate tools to deal with the insanity of my alcoholic home, and I did the best with what I had. But now I am an adult, and I have outgrown those immature tools like perfectionism, fear, shame, codependency etc. It is time to put them down, like I put down those favorite shoes that now hurt my feet because I have outgrown them. I also see ‘defects of character’ as being the consequences of that mis-use...that what was good, and beautiful, and pure, and holy has become warped and twisted....and needs to be straightened out and transformed. I do NOT like the term “remove” in this step, because I believe I need God to TRANSFORM my character defects, not remove them. I have an image of a potato whose eyes have been gouged out when I read “remove my character defects”! I do not see my CDs as moral flaws as much as symptoms of my disease. As God heals my disease of addiction, one day at a time, I become more and more able to let go of my CDs and let God transform them into Character Assets.
I am getting ready to release my CDs of fear, control, impatience and resentment. That means I have to let go of them. At this moment, I believe I am ready to let go so these CDs may be transformed. Tomorrow might be another story. I may grab them back again...Thank God this is a one day at a time program! I believe that my HP honors my best efforts, and is eternally patient with my ability or inability to let go at any given moment. I believe that whatever I can let go of will be transformed...sometimes it is immediate, sometimes it is a process...and that there is no need to consider myself ‘stuck’. Working the steps is an ongoing process, and if I am not ready right now, there will be another opportunity. If I am unwilling right now, I can pray to become willing at a later date. I can act as if. I can use the tool of writing to investigate what payoff I am getting from hanging on to the CD, and ask for clarification as to how else I could get this need met. I can seek wisdom from my sponsor, my fellows, my HP. And I can be patient with myself. When the time is right, I will be willing.
I think that sometimes I hang onto old CDs because I don’t yet have anything to replace them with...and to be without something to replace them would leave me too vulnerable. Sometimes the best I can do right now is use an old CD....but I can work and pray to access healthier options in the future. Nature abhors a vacuum, and I need to make sure, especially since I am an abuse survivor, presently living in an emotionally abusive situation, that I have tools that I can use to keep myself safe. Sometimes unhealthy tools are better than no tools. It is not where I want to stay, but I have learned to be pragmatic in my recovery, and not beat myself up over my inability to always be healthy. Progress, not perfection! For me, this is a step of action. To be entirely ready, I HAVE to release my death grip, think and act and talk differently, and often, ‘act as if’. I may have to practice different responses—role play. I have taken to carrying around a notebook in which to write my ‘negative responses’ rather than say them. I have had to seek wisdom from my sponsor, my spiritual director, my friends to help me keep perspective on what is my side of the street and what is not, what the next right thing might be to do, what is ‘normal’ and what is not. I will continue to seek input from people I trust as I do my best to navigate these challenging waters. The blessings I expect include regaining my equilibrium, experiencing that ‘happy, joyous and free’ feeling because I am not trying to manage all this mess. In a way, I see Step 6 as another version of Step 3.
The Twelve Steps
© Copyright 1995 ~ 2014 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved