Friday, November 14, 2008

Step Six

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

The Sixth Step is contained in one paragraph in the big book:
"...we then look at Step Six.  We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.  Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?  Can He now take them all -- every one?  If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing."  (p. 76)
After I had shared my first Fifth Step, my sponsor told me to go home and do exactly what it said at the bottom of page 75, and that was to review the first five steps and see if I had skipped anything.  I asked myself if I had done these things to the best of my ability.  I then turned the page to Step Six.  

The Sixth Step doesn't seem like much.  There is no specific action involved.  But it is important enough for the Twelve and Twelve to say that this step separates the men from the boys.  (And being a grown-up, I know that also means that it separates the women from the girls.)  

I have fortunately not been one who willingly clung to a character defect.  That is not to say that I don't have plenty.  But I was willing for God to take them away.  It is amazing what happens when you just get willing and let God work.  I could not remove my character defects and I don't believe I can "work" on them.  But I can be ready and willing for what God is able to do.  I can also cooperate.  I can't just go around doing the same old stuff and expect God to take care of it. I do have to cooperate.

I can't say the Lord's Prayer and ask God to "lead me not into temptation" and then place myself into temptation.  I need to make the changes necessary to stop doing whatever it is that is harmful.  

The most concrete example I can think of is my cigarette smoking.  I was sober 7 years.  I smoked like a fiend and vaguely considered this a character defect.  I did want to quit smoking in an abstract way, I just didn't want to actually stop smoking.  I prayed.  I prayed.  And then I prayed some more.  I joined a group to stop smoking.  Thank God that back in those days, there were no medications to take.  It was just a few days of misery and then you were done!   But first, on our assigned quit day, I had to take my cigarettes, crumble them up and throw them in the trash. I had to stop sticking cigarettes in my mouth and lighting them up.  God took care of the rest.  It was a few days of not fun, and then now 18 years of being a non-smoker.  I do not believe I could have done that without the help of God.  But God couldn't have done it if I had continued to stick cigarettes in my mouth and light them up.  

I am now half-way done with this endeavor to write about my experience with the steps.  I have complained to some of you about how much I have not enjoyed this.  I would so much rather write more light-hearted things.  I have been attacked non-stop since I started this.  There are little puny people out there who are obsessed with satan (not God) and these steps are a terrible threat to a satan-driven life.  

Being a loving person, it hurts me terribly to see someone who is so sick.  But I have to realize that there is nothing I can do for them. I wish I could wrap my arms around them and comfort them, and get them to start believing in God instead of the devil, but I can't.  


Scott W said...

The sixth step can be as simple as it can be mysterious. Some days I have it, some days it eludes me. But I keep trying and realize it will be a life long endeavor.

Sometimes all we can do for someone is to pray for them.

dAAve said...

If I ever relapse or slip with my sobriety, it will be because of not practicing Step 6. Of this I am convinced.
I have enjoyed this trip down Step Lane. I will continue to enjoy it. I also know that it's not for everyone. That's their problem, not mine.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I think the Sixth step is the one that wipes out a lot of folks from the program. It is essential though and like you stated it is in our willingness and cooperation that it comes, I also like that you post these and am sorry you've come under attack...but thank you, this has been an amazing journey for me to read.


Hope said...

This reminds me of a time shortly after I sobered up and a friend was over. I told her I was praying for the ambition to clean up the house. She told me I had to get up off my butt first and pick up the broom and then God could inspire me.

J-Online said...

I love your cigarette analogy. This explains it perfectly to me. Thank you for taking the time to go through the steps. It is really helping me better understand the deeper meaning behind them.

Kim A. said...

I am glad I can accept the unhappiness and cruelty of others with detachment today. I use to take these comments to my core and let them define my emotional state. I have learned that there are only two expressions from the human that share love and one that calls for love. My response is the same to all (on my good days) :-)

Keep the postings going.they have helped me this past week.


Lou said...

"wanted to talk about not smoking, but didn't really want to stop smoking." That mind set is very prevalent about many charachter defects. Oh yeah, it's called walking the talk!

♥Shann♥ said...

it does hurt when someone is sick and now willing to do what they need to to help themselves get better.. ooh is it ever hurtful these days

Anonymous said...

Why wont you publish my comments "God Warrior"?? Are you ashamed of what you are?
You're the most disgusting person I have ever come across. You're the most unholy person I have ever come across. I hope you wake up and find the real God because whatever God you speak of is not my God. Disgusting person. You are of the devil. Didn't you read the Bible? YOU are not one to judge any other person. YOU are supposed to love and care for others. YOU are supposed to treat others as you would like to be treated. Or does your ignorance only allow you to pick and choose what you would like to believe? Are you one of THOSE? You read and interpret only that which you want to be true. You're ignorant and stupid. Disgusting. Lonely and sad person. You deserve not one semblance of happiness. Disgusting and very very very disturbing.

Mary Christine said...

Dear Anonymous,
I think you have me confused with someone else. So far, you have left me nearly 40 comments, please confront the person with whom you are angry. I am quite certain I know who it is, and it is not me.
Thank you,
Mary Christine

Syd said...

I still have my list of character defects. I am willing to give up all except one or two right now. And I pray about those. But my will is strong on one of them. It's as you said, cooperation is the key. Thanks for your writing on the steps. I really am enjoying it.


Mary Christine,
Every comment I post to you is being PUBLISHED on my BLOG


Hopefully you will see the ERROR of your ways, Mary?

You don't want to end up like, ED, who sent you 4o COMMENTS!?

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing such personal information and your testimony and giving God the glory will be honored.

I'm cheering you on!

AlkySeltzer said...

After doing my 4th and 5th Steps, I figured It would be downhill from there. It was UP hill. And it still IS
...little did I know. Better put, little DO I know!

Mary LA said...

Years ago a elderly Catholic priest told me that the closer people come to God, the more they come under attack from the demonic and possessed. I don't often use this kind of language but I do wonder if he had a point --


big Jenn said...

Thank you for this! I've had an AHA sixth step moment this morning and will be talking to The BIG GUY,( that's who I call GOG sometimes) about it shortly. So much wisdom. I'm so grateful. jeNN

Just Another Sober Guy said...

This where I am now. I have become willing.... perhaps I am still becoming willing. Thank you for sharing your experience here with us.

I gave up the cigs the same way nearly a year ago, asked God to take the desire and obsession away. I had tried meds and they didn't work, asking God did.