Topic for the week: The Sixth Step
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”.
I’m Sophie, an alcoholic and grateful to be here with you all and to have the opportunity to be of service.
Our topic this week is Step Six, but I believe our GROW group conscience is that we can share on this Step this week or at any time during June, it being the sixth month!
I find it helpful to return to our AA literature and I love sharing our literature with other alcoholics.
Our AA website has it available, I’m sharing links to help anyone who doesn’t have access to the AA literature and would like to.
Read online: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step6.pdf
Or Listen online: https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions-audio-version#audio-player
I like these sentences, taken from p.65 Step Six in the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions book;
[God] “asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character.”
“This does not mean that we expect all our character defects to be lifted out of us as the drive to drink was. A few of them may be, but with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement.”
“The key words “entirely ready” underline the fact that we want to aim at the very best we know or can learn.”
And from As Bill Sees It – no.10; Out of The Dark
“A clear light seems to fall upon us all – when we open our eyes. Since our blindness is caused by our own defects, we must first deeply realise what they are.” (Letter, 1946)
The emphasis with italics and underlining are mine, these are the things that really resonate for me on Step Six for today.
I didn’t get much of an insight into Step Six until I was around 5 years sober and working through the Steps and a Big Book study with a new sponsor after having moved cities. Previously I’d had lots of awakenings around other areas of the program and living a sober life and using AA principles as a guide.
But it was the inventory I wrote at that time that my second sponsor then sat with me and helped me see which defects were at play. It was as if I’d been in a fog around things until then. Things my first sponsor had talked with me about finally became clearer. It was also the beginning of me getting a deeper understanding of how the questioning process of inventory taking opened me up to understanding the exact nature of my defects or my part in things. I guess I was just more ready at that point in my sobriety.
In my experience I am ready when I’m ready and all I can do is practice willingness and courage and keep moving forwards.
Last week the Serenity Prayer long version talked about being patiently ready for those changes that take time. This idea is true for me too here with my defects.
There was a slogan in my early days I used to see a lot; “Give time time”. I always feel it’s a reminder to me saying Give God time.
Step Six for me is about having those insights and understandings into how I tick, where my choices and behaviours and actions are coming from, and accepting I can’t fix myself, that I’m spiritually sick with this disease of alcoholism and that god can and will in god’s time. I find the best way to see myself is to be in regular contact with my sponsor and to use questions in my column inventories and actually put pen to paper.
Things are revealed.
Healing is possible.
Growth and change are possible.
I no longer have to stay stuck struggling and miserable or in self pity and digging myself into the quagmire even deeper.
Step Six for me is about facing myself, the me from my immediate past or longer ago, having opened up to my sponsor and being clearer about my part and the character traits that I’ve used. Uncomfortable at times. Really painful sometimes too. But always the same message; once I know what the problem is I can do something about it and move into the solution; acceptance, giving it to god, applying the principles of our beautiful program.
I can call my character traits defects or shortcomings but to me they’re part of me, they’re the behaviours or skills I developed to survive my life without god, pre AA, and in my drinking and as a child. They’re my battle armour, my Mrs Fix-It armour, my Mrs I-Know-Best/Better armour….
But now I have god and am sober I can be different. Now I have AA and all of you I am inspired to be different.
It’s all here, everyday, I get to tap into this beautiful rich resource and live sober and better and different.
Please share on whatever you need to, and around defects or being ready or entirely ready or whatever your journey is with Step Six.
I know we have over 200 women here so there’s a lot of gals listening to whoever chooses to share… I was told no one knows when the thing you share may be the thing that changes someone’s day or even saves their life. I grow because others are willing to risk sharing. Thank you all for being here. I can’t do this alone.
AA hugs to anyone who needs one today.