Steps 6 and 7
Many years ago I was twelve-stepped into the fellowship of AA where my life was turned upside down, inside out and revolutionised. I had no comprehension of what was about to happen. I was offered tea, biscuits, given a seat and encouraged to listen. By the end of the meeting I was sold on a message of hope.
I asked for a sponsor who gave me clear cut directions on how to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body – alcoholism.
This man explained a simple set of actions and told me to practice them daily – to the letter. All I required was a little bit of willingness. I did these actions and felt better very quickly. Within a week of doing this my sponsor explained that steps 1 and 2 were being performed in these actions. In step 3 I became willing to do God’s will to the best of my ability. In doing so I was asked to say a prayer in the morning, asking for a sober day and God’s will for me.
More actions were required in steps 4 and 5, finding out the causes and conditions of my illness and admitting these things which were objectionable – defects of character and shortcomings – to God, myself and another human being. This was electric! The burden of my past was put to bed at last, but these defects of character: what was I to do with them? Did I want to keep any of them? The answer was no. Was I willing to have them all removed? Absolutely – step 6. And I needed to put more action in – step 7.
The key to my sobriety lies in my willingness to be rid of my shortcomings, so when I get to my knees in the morning and pray for God’s will for me, I'm also saying: “God, I am willing, I am ready for You to remove these things from me which are objectionable (character defects) so that I may better do Thy will.” I humble myself through prayer. I ask Him to remove my shortcomings, because I do not have the ability to do this by myself. In so doing I open a channel free from myself. Experience has shown me that if I choose not to put these actions in, I become selfish, self-centred etc which can prove fatal. But if I put the actions of step 6 and 7 in on a daily basis, I will remain willing to do God’s work and I can walk among men and women as a free person.
So if you hear anybody say that Steps 6 and 7 are the forgotten steps, you can say “NOT BY ME”.
Andy J., Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth