Week 7--Steps 6 and 7--Ready to be Done
Welcome to Week 7 of the Working the Steps study for the first quarter of 2015. I am Cindy M., a compulsive overeater in recovery, thankful to share with you in this study. All the lessons are available here: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2015/index.html
When we left Step 5, with returning home after sharing it with a trusted person, we were told to take an hour at home to review everything (p. 76) to be sure we’re ready to proceed. Here’s a list for you to consider:
- Have you thanked God from the bottom of your heart that you know Him better?
- Have you reviewed the twelve steps, carefully reviewing the first five proposals?
- Surrendering to powerlessness by admitting it, acknowledging HP able to handle it, and turning it over to that HP? (Steps 1-3)
- Sharing your resentments and fears, carefully delineated and resolved to “your part” in each one, then communicating those to another person?
- Are you satisfied that your work is solid so far—proper stone placement, adequate cement in the foundation, mortar with appropriate sand content?
Once these items are in place, we are ready for Step 6:
Were entirely ready
To have God remove
These defects of character.
I don’t know about you, but having gotten this far, I was more than ready to jump right in and say yes, I was ready to be DONE with selfishness, self-seeking, dishonesty, and fear. Something about a painstaking Step 4, shared in Step 5, and reviewed right after, makes me READY to be rid of these things. And that leads right in to Step 7:
Humbly asked Him
To remove our shortcomings.
Can we fool ourselves about this willingness, about the honesty of our prayer (or our commitment to our highest values if we are not religious)? Yes! But having given it an honest going-over as follow-up to Step 5, we can confidently move into Steps 6 and 7, knowing that in later steps (10-11) we will have frequent (daily?) opportunity to handle other things as they arise. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be honest. And this is where abstinence can help us have confidence that we’re being honest. But as my own sponsor has said, many are unable to be abstinent until they’ve completed all the steps. So if you find yourself in that place, be patient, keep forging ahead, and trust that this process that has helped myriad people can help you. Our healing also includes spiritual progress, not perfection, as my sponsor reminds me.
- Are you entirely ready?
- Have you asked HP to remove your defects of character, your shortcomings?
- Out of your list of defects or shortcomings, could you share about perhaps one that really stands out to you right now, or a surprising one you learned about yourself in the process of doing these steps?
Congratulations! You’ve completed Steps 6 and 7! Next week we begin Step 8—Harms and Willingness.
Please write me privately at OneDayCindyM@embarqmail.com if I can answer any questions for you as you work through the study. I want it to be as helpful a study as it can be, and your feedback helps me do that!
For Those Who Have Time: Reading and Contemplation
Read quickly through a list of all twelve steps to really review how far you’ve come and what you have still to do. Feel free to comment on that as you submit your work this week.
As I have mentioned before, many find that the process of writing out their resentments and winding up with their character defects is therapeutic in itself, and just getting them recorded removes some of their power. But these two steps give us opportunity, in the brief page of their description in the Big Book (p. 76), to really assess what we’ve done so far, and to “say out loud” that we’re ready to be done with the things that have kept us needing food (or other substances or behaviors) to cope with life.
We think we might be about ready to face life on life’s terms. We still have things to do to fully process them, but our action now is to commit ourselves to the next parts of the process, to turn from our inner contemplation to outer—telling another person (Step 5), committing to HP (Steps 6 and 7), then facing the people we’ve harmed as we do our amends in the next steps (Steps 8 and 9).
Being entirely ready means we have a glimmer of hope that we CAN do without the foods that have so comforted us in the past. As I write this I am a few weeks short of a year during which I have abstained fully from my worst trigger foods—high-fat candies like chocolate and caramel, cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, corn chips and potato chips, and similar high-fat, high-refined-carb processed foods. I had a time the end of last February when on a spiritual retreat I saw something glaring in my history that I had not fully opened up about, and in the process of “confessing” it and asking prayer from trustworthy people, I experienced a miracle—the ability to “just say no” to these foods, after dancing around them for a half a year, trying to find a way to keep them in my life.
I have occasionally felt sorry for myself having to work around these foods (it’s a pain in restaurants and at holidays and birthdays!), and I have experienced other marginal foods causing me trouble from time to time, so I know I have work still to do. But somehow that weekend I experienced a line drawn in the sand, and I have not crossed it. That’s a miracle, the origin of which I do not completely understand. And I’m not missing out—instead, I’m getting my life back, or getting my life in the first place! I hope and pray the same for you.
Remember--progress, not perfection, in the spiritual as well as the physical!
Blessings in Recovery,
The Twelve Steps
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