In our 12 Steps and 12 Traditions book, the first thing it says on this matter is, “this is the step that separates the men from the boys.” I can’t tell you how frustrated I was upon reading that the first time. “How can these people judge me as not being a man?” I thought, “I’ve done so much work up to this point, there is no reason for this criticism. I’ll do a Step 6 when I’m ready. This book doesn’t have one up on me, and this motivation tactic is a flawed one.”
Surely some of you old timers reading this can see the hilariousness of this alcoholic irony. My thinking was still in a place where it needed DESPERATE help and love from the program of alcoholics anonymous. I had the character defect of pride dancing throughout my mind, and it was still preventing me from moving forward. I embraced it to an extent, because by holding on to it, and building a case against this step, I was able to have my will-power back. To a mind dealing with uncured alcoholism, what a treat this was!
We AA’s have a tendency to live a double-life. Exercising our will in the shadows gives us a feeling of “living on the edge”, an exciting place to be, but dangerously fatal. We feed our ego again this way, fueling the same beast that landed us in these rooms in the first place.
Up to this step, i had had a wonderfully freeing experience of raising the white flag and admitting i couldn’t go on fighting, finding a power greater than myself, and committing my new life to him, laying out my inventory in black and white, and sharing it with another human that I had trusted and well as God. It still wasn’t until I did this Step that I realized how the nooks and crannies of my alcoholism were still glossed over as unwilling. Not because of a desire to not do the steps, but because of the sheer power of how badly this disease had locked me into selfishness.
By the grace of God, however, once this was pointed out to me, it was obvious how desperately I needed this 6th step, and how much I still needed, need, and desire to grow. By offering myself to this Higher Power, the good, the bad, and the ugly, I emerged on the other side a stronger individual, with a keener eye into the dark caverns of my own alcoholism. God makes this possible. The question poised in the Big Book: “Can He now take them all – every one?” is a simple answer. Yes. God also helps me use these character defects to light a path to ones I didn’t know existed within me. The rabbit hole is deep, but with God’s help, and willingness, it has a bottom that is not nearly as low as the one I used to live in. I am so grateful to share my experience with this step. I am truly blessed to have gone into Step 6 a boy, and to have emerged a man.