I was asked to share my experience, strength and hope concerning Step 6. We all arrive in Alcoholics Anonymous from different experiences so I’ll let you know a bit about my past as it led to my experience with Step 6.
When I was young I often felt different, alone. I remember alcohol giving me the power to be social – all of the sudden I fit in, felt part of. I grew to need that feeling. Over the years the consequences were consistent and grew more severe. When I finally opened the door to enter an AA meeting and honestly asked for help I was aware that I had lost all power over alcohol, I had allowed much of the things I valued greatly in life slip away. I was in true fear that I could hurt someone close to me, I often blacked out and people would tell me stories about things I did with intense fear in their eyes. I had experienced incomprehensible demoralization over and over expecting different results from the same actions.
What was important for me was that when I came into the rooms I was ready to throw my hands in the air and beg for mercy, for any help. I was someone I did not want to be and was unable to change.
So this sentiment was helpful when step 6 came up for me. I was ready to change, I could see my very best efforts in life had landed me in jails, institutions and situations where I felt insane and out of control. I remain eager to make an honest effort to improve. This where step six lives with me, the honest yearning to be the best person I can be.
When I first worked step 6 I thought of only the most outrageous behaviors I had grown used to; for example when I would drink heavily and was confronted I would blame those around me for putting stress or pressure on me, I would try to make them guilty for not excepting me for who I was. In early sobriety I was really ready to get rid of a habit, which I listened to myself, say things I disagreed with.
Now, after revisiting the step many times I pray to have the defects of character removed that get in the way of me being the best person I can be. Sometimes that has me on my knees multiple times throughout day. I often bite my lip and let God’s grace give me the space between my thoughts and my words. I have learned to breathe and exhale when listening, rather then interrupting and directing.
-James K, Salt Lake City