Step 6 and 7

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
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Step 6 and 7

Postby Jools » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:20 am

My brother wrote me from prison today. He's working on step 6 & 7. He said, these are his toughest steps because he has had these character defects a long time. He said that, although they are very glaring he has to wait for God to remove them. He said he knows he has to be viligent and correct his mistakes as they happen.

As you well know, I'm not on these two steps, but I wondered if that is what we do, wait for God to remove them?

Blessings to all,

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Postby Dallas » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:40 pm

We begin by becoming willing for God to remove all of them.

Then... we ask Him! :lol:

Believe it or not... it works for me!!! :wink:


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Postby GeoffS » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:40 am

I was told, and did, and have been doing and passing on ever since, that the best way to have god remove our defects of character, is simple-

Act like they have been.

If your defect is selfishness, share and do for others
If your defect is dishonesty, be honest. (there is more to dishonesty than telling lies of course, maybe thats a discussion for elsewhere).
and so on...

Taking positive god centred action in the place of self centred action soon had me operating from a position defined by my defects a lot less than before.

HOWEVER, the major caveat is progress not perfection. My defects didn't/haven't left me. They come back and I have to hand them over to god again. He'll take them and keep them, but if I get all self-willed about things I can start using them again.

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Postby DiggerinVA » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:12 pm

Well the Steps that may have had the largest impact on me. With some odd results.

Dallas said it best.

We become willing (I was since everything I did screwed up (This I had proven many times before) and I was willing to try anything.)

Then we ask God to do it.

It was amazing the things that changed with out any input on my part. Including a cigar habit(4-5 a day, I smoked one on Saturday). Now I have learned how to just enjoy them. Very Odd considering the advise of working at it. You know looking at the list in the 4th step and working.

But the Big book just has two paragraph's on these steps. And I feel many look for more stuff than is needed. Sometimes the simplest things are the biggest.

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Postby Anja » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:16 pm

I've always thought that these two steps are the most difficult of all for me. Maybe because there's really so very little to do. And waiting can be a chore!

As I read this today it made me think of my garden. I get the seeds, prepare the soil, plant, water and weed. But there's nothing I can do to make the seed actually turn into a plant. All I can do is the prep work and the rest is up to HP.

Takes some degree of faith to trust that the miracle of new life will happen. And patience.

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Postby Jools » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:43 pm

Thanx for your input, folks. I always look forward to see and hear how others work their steps in their lives.

I was told, and did, and have been doing and passing on ever since, that the best way to have god remove our defects of character, is simple-

Act like they have been.

I really like what you said, Geoff. Thanx for sharing that.


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Postby Dallas » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:54 pm

Anja wrote:As I read this today it made me think of my garden. I get the seeds, prepare the soil, plant, water and weed. But there's nothing I can do to make the seed actually turn into a plant. All I can do is the prep work and the rest is up to HP.

That's a great illustration! If I fail to take the actions the only thing that grows in the garden are the things that I'd like to be rid of! :wink:

My first sponsor gave me some advice similar to GeoffS. "I know you're not honest -- but can you honestly act as if you'd like to be honest by trying to be honest?" When my reply was: "Gee, I'll have to think about it. I'm not sure if I can do that or not!" ( :lol: ) My sponsor said, "Well, can you honestly be willing to ask God, to help you to be willing to get and to be honest?"

Once again... I wasn't sure if I could do that.

So, he re-phrased it as "Can you become willing to become willing to be willing to allow God to help you to become willing?"

That kind of spun my head around -- and to say that I wasn't sure if I could do that -- would have obviously injured my Ego! :lol: :lol:

When I had difficulty with "some things" in Step 6 & 7, that I wanted to "hang on to" for emergencies... I took a real hard fact-facing look at Step 1. I could become willing to change or I could continue trying to painfully stagger through the gates of insanity and death.

Step 6 & 7, eventually convinced me to being a firm Step 2, believer... "Only God could have made the changes that I had spent years at trying to make... and I only miserably failed in my efforts."

Then, the proposition of Step 3, became clear to me: I was powerless over making the changes, on my own, that I needed to make. I needed God's help. I couldn't do it alone. Thus, I had to work my garden -- and hope that a loving God would show up to help me. And, much to my surprise and disbelief -- God showed up.

My sponsor had to remind me often, that some changes are painfully slow. They are incremental. Tiny little changes... and often, I don't see them myself... until someone else points them out for me.

Welcome to the forum Anja!!! It's great to have you on the board! I look forward to reading much more from you and look forward to getting to know you as we trudge this path of Happy Destiny together!


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Postby garden variety » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:49 am

This is an excellent discussion.

Although the first step was the hands down hardest for me, followed by the fourth step which was also really hard for me, steps 6 and 7 are challenging.

I'm challenged because I have the freedom of choice today. I can choose to be willing to have God remove all my defects of character. The problem for me lies in the choice itself. First let's look at the step the way it was originally written.

6. Were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character. (from the manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous)

If I look at step 6 in it's very simplest terms, the spiritual principle behind the step in a single word is willingness. We can split hairs all day about being "entirely ready" - when, where, and how. But unless I'm entirely willing, then I'll never be entirely ready.

For me, the action behind the spiritual principle of willingness is CHANGE. Step 6 says to me that if I want content sobriety (what you have), then I must be willing to change (willing to go to any length). I must be willing to look at my "character defects" or "shortcomings" which I can grasp a little easier if I simplify that term to "faults".

Today I prayed to have God help me to see my faults and to grant me the strength to make the choice to allow His will to guide me through the circumstances where my faults tempt me to act in ways that are DESTRUCTIVE. So when I face a circumstance today where I'm tempted to act destructively, I'm confident that God (as I understand Him) will awaken my spirit (or my conscience). My spirit will cause me to reflect - to think about what I'm desiring to do that is destructive, and then the solution, which will be simple, will probably become obvious.

The solution to my trouble will always be taking unselfish constructive action. I can't count how many times this happens. And you absolutely, positively must know that usually I DON"T WANT TO TAKE UNSELFISH CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION. I just don't want to do the "right thing" when one of my faults is screaming at me to indulge in some kind of purely selfish and destructive thought that will lead to the same kind of action.

So the problem lies in my freedom of choice. I can do something that is destructive which is easy. But I'll fail to grow spiritually, or go backwards spiritually. And that will later require admitting I'm wrong and trying to correct the matter which I should have done right in the first place. So willingly giving into my faults or "character defects" is easy. But what comes out of it is a complicated and destructive mess that will need to be painstakingly re-worked.

Or I can choose to allow God (as I understand Him) to direct my thinking and actions. This means my choice will be to do something that I don't want to do which will be unselfish constructive action. I'll probably whine, pee, and moan, and sometimes say to myself out loud "I hate doing this!"

So becoming entirely willing to change my faulty reactions is VERY HARD for me to do. But it's simple, always simple, because the positive results will speak for themselves, and there is nothing to get tangled up or complicated by any of my other faults. The truth is always simple and beautiful, but its not always easy for me.

Spiritual Principle: Willingness
Constructive Action: Change

That is step 6 for me.

By the way, asking God (as I understand Him) to remove my character defects only matters for today, during the time I'm awake and conscious. Some faults are only "removed" for the day. Others are gone forever as long as I don't drink. That's why I say the 7th step prayer every day.

Going on to step 7, after step 6 gets done, step 7 is pretty easy for me. Another simple way for me to see step 7 is this way, using single words:

Spiritual Principle: Humility
Constructive Action: Prayer

Hopefully, I know what my fault(s) are from step 6, and I (reluctantly) became willing to change them, but I need the Power. For me, it's a humbling experience to admit to God (as I understand Him) that I wanted to do something entirely selfish and destructive in the face of all that He has done for me. So I get on my knees (also the way the original step 7 was written in the manuscript), swallow my pride, and ask Him to totally remove the fault that stands in the way. When I reflect at this point, I'm not proud of my faults and truly want to live by following God's will and direction. For me that's the heart of the 7th step prayer.

I have to do this every day, because for some reason, God (as I understand Him) gives me only 24 hours worth of humility. But this is the only way that works for me. I can only live, love, laugh, or do anything of constructive value while I'm awake. I'm very grateful to be able to live one day at a time.

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Postby flying fiddler » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:03 am

A few days ago I had a long talk with my sponsor, discussing everything on my 4th step list. Deep secrets about myself. Things that now only he, as another human being, knows. I feel that I did a rigorously honest self appraisal. It felt right. Don't get me wrong, when pen hit the paper it sometimes wasn't without reservation. When I got stuck or felt my honesty being compromised, I took time out and prayed for guidance, strength and courage. It worked, it really really did work.
I was able to discuss with my sponsor details of my past that no one, not one human being, has ever heard from me. The big book states this is a intimate and confidential step. This was very true for me. I was not judged, ridiculed, corrected, or humiliated by my sponsor. He sat quietly listening, allowing me to air ALL of my dark past. I am truly thankful for that.
The Big Book says "that we pocket our pride and go to it" For me that is exactly what needed to happen, and did happen, just go to it. I illuminated every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. By taking this action, I began to really feel a sense of peace, and a weight being lifted off my shoulders.

Following our long talk I took some time to reflect on what I had done, carefully following the simple suggestions in the Big Book (page75, 76). Reviewing the first 5 "suggestions" and carefully looking at my foundation. was it sound, had I done the work so far. Once again, I found sticking to the simple directions of the Big Book was key for me.
I was then entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.

I sat quietly and read the 7th step prayer. I began to weep uncontrollably. I was completely overcome with tears, sobbing my way through the prayer. I can only describe the tears as tears of humility. I have never experienced anything like this before. It was the most incredible spiritual moment I have ever had. The first line, "I am now willing that you should have all of me, GOOD and BAD" that did it for me. After airing all of these defects, wrongs and actions i'm not proud of, I was ready to have god have me, GOOD and BAD. How powerful! I really felt God watching over me.
I read the prayer several times, never making it through without sobbing. It was absolutely amazing experience.

I went to a meeting that evening and shared my experience. I once again couldn't get through it without crying like a baby. And for me, that was ok, That's the great thing about this program, I can be honest with my feelings and what is going on with me, and it's okay.

I returned home and took a late night walk under a full moon. I was overcome with this overwhelming feeling that I was not alone anymore. I felt it to my core, my soul. I was overcome with tears once again. by now, I'm probably dehydrated from crying all day!

For me, doing the work, following the simple directions in the Big Book and not trying to complicate the heck out of it, being rigorously honest with myself, with my sponsor, and with God, I was able to have a little spiritual growth. And for me, that's what it's about. Willing to grow along spiritual lines. Being honest. For once in my life I was truly honest and guess what, I survived. And as a result, I had the most amazing experience. One of my big fears is being alone, even among other, I'm always alone. (yes, I'm so unique :D) After doing the work and humbly talking to God, I found myself not feeling alone. Amazing!
I really do feel like I can look the world in the eye, that my fears have begun to fall away.

It has taken me 20 years to do a rigorously honest 4th step. yes, 20 years. For me that has been my path. I would not recommend it to others however, but for whatever reasons, it has taken events in my life to get to this point, and now I'm willing and I GET to do the work! I Want to do the work.
For me now, this is a program of living, I've done the dry drunk thing for many years and it quit working, my life became unmanageable once more. I am finally ready to live.

One final note. My sponsor and I had picked 5th step meeting date a week prior and could only come up with one day that would work for both of us. Late on that day, I had a very sudden realization that that day, the day I was airing my most darkest past, was also the anniversary of my Dad's suicide, an event that has had a profound effect on me. I really feel, that however the universe works, my Dad was also by my side as I worked this simple program. What a miracle!
thanks for letting me share.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:57 am

Thanks for your awesome sharing John! As I read through what you did I could hear the lines in the Big Book, that was describing what the founders did and what they were suggesting for us to do -- and it was a perfect match! Also, as I read your experience -- I followed a parallel memory of my own experience -- and I would have been able to say "he did it just like I did!" :wink: And, now -- 24 yrs sober later -- that message that I get from your sharing is: "Yes! The instructions for recovery in the Big Book still work -- just like they did 24 yrs ago -- and for many years before that!

You did a great job of sharing. It isn't an easy task to put in writing or into words a description of "what it was like" for us. And, for those of us who have had the experience -- identify w/ you!


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