from "Daily Reflections" by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

Posts tagged ‘Sixth Step’

Opening Up to Change

Self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. . . . we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life—the one that did not work—for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever. ~ AS BILL SEES IT, pp. 10, 8

I have been given a daily reprieve contingent upon my spiritual condition, provided I seek progress, not perfection. To become ready for change, I practice willingness, opening myself to possibilities of change. If I realize there are defects that hinder my usefulness in A.A. and toward others, I become ready by meditating and receiving direction. “Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58). To let go and let God, I need only surrender my old ways to Him; I no longer fight nor do I try to control, but simply believe that, with God’s help, I am changed and affirming this belief makes me ready. I empty myself to be full of awareness, light, and love, and I am ready to face each day with hope. 

 

All We Do is Try

Can He now take them all—every one? ~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76

In doing Step Six it helped me a lot to remember that I am striving for “spiritual progress.” Some of my character defects may be with me for the rest of my life, but most have been toned down or eliminated. All that Step Six asks of me is to become willing to name my defects, claim them as my own, and be willing to discard the ones I can, just for today. As I grow in the program, many of my defects become more objectionable to me than previously and, therefore, I need to repeat Step Six so that I can become happier with myself and maintain my serenity. 

 

Entirely Ready?

“This is the Step that separates the men from the boys ” . . . the difference between “the boys and the men” is the difference between striving for a self-determined objective and for the perfect objective which is of God. . . . It is suggested that we ought to become entirely willing to aim toward perfection. . . . The moment we say, “No, never!” our minds close against the grace of God. . . . This is the exact point at which we abandon limited objectives, and move toward God’s will for us. ~ TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 63, 68, 69

Am I entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character? Do I know at long last that I cannot save myself? I have come to believe that I cannot. If I am unable, if my best intentions go wrong, if my desires are selfishly motivated and if my knowledge and will are limited—then I am ready to embrace God’s will for my life. 

Letting Go of Our Old Selves

Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. . . . Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable? ~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 75, 76

The Sixth Step is the last “preparation” Step. Although I have already used prayer extensively, I have made no formal request of my Higher Power in the first Six Steps. I have identified my problem, come to believe that there is a solution, made a decision to seek this solution, and have “cleaned house.” I now ask: Am I willing to live a life of sobriety, of change, to let go of my old self? I must determine if I am truly ready to change. I review what I have done and become willing for God to remove all my defects of character; for in the next Step, I will tell my Creator I am willing and will ask for help. If I have been thorough in the preparation of my foundation and feel that I am willing to change, I am then ready to continue with the next Step. “If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 76) 

On a Wing and a Prayer

. . . we then look at Step Six. We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable. ~ ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76

Steps Four and Five were difficult, but worthwhile. Now I was stuck on Step Six and, in despair, I picked up the Big Book and read this passage. I was outside, praying for willingness, when I raised my eyes and saw a huge bird rising in the sky. I watched it suddenly give itself up to the powerful air currents of the mountains. Swept along, swooping and soaring, the bird did things seemingly impossible for mortal birds to do. It was an inspiring example of a fellow creature “letting go” to a power greater than itself. I realized that if the bird “took back his will” and tried to fly with less trust, on its power alone, it would spoil its apparent free flight. That insight granted me the willingness to pray the Seventh Step prayer.

It’s not easy to know God’s will in each circumstance. I must search out and be ready for the currents, and that’s where prayer and meditation help! Because I am, of myself, nothing, I ask God to grant me the knowledge of His will and the power and courage to carry it out—today.