If we ask (Step Six continued)

If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character.

This sent me to the dictionary to look up “character.”  Some of the meanings are: moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, courage or the like; integrity.  So, in context, God asks that we try our best to make progress in being a good person. 

The number one first thought that popped into my head when I tried to think of this in terms of being an oldtimer is that boy, I should be so much better than I am for all the time I have.  This may be a result of meeting older newcomers who have used other means with which to evolve, so that even though they are new to AA, they have practiced the principles in other formats and are halfway decently put together.  It may also be because I’ve been having a hard time, which has driven me to these steps, which has driven me to this reflection, which will result in a better me.  I believe!

What is the work of becoming “white as snow?”  Knee jerk answers include go to meetings, talk to people, read the literature, pray.  Go a little deeper and meditate, do an inventory, work with newcomers, work the steps.  What else?

One thought on “If we ask (Step Six continued)

  1. You write:
    “character. Some of the meanings are: moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, courage or the like; integrity”
    In my humble opinion, it would be better to stick with the terminology used in the A.A. Big Book so as to keep everyone on the same page so to speak. A more useful term used to describe character qualities would be the term principles as it is used in step twelve part two: “practice these principles”.
    Since it is not defined anywhere within A.A. approved literature exactly what these principles are I took it upon myself to gather a list of them. I started with H.O.W. it works; Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness. Grabbed several more from within the 12 steps. And finally; found a bunch more contained within the 12&12 book.
    I ended up with 36 distinct principles not including synonyms and paraphrases. I then asked my sponsor if he had ever seen a list of principles and he happened to have a book in his library which contained a list of 105 principles.
    I added his list to my list and came up with a new list containing 141 principles. I exclaimed to my sponsor, “What an order, I can’t go through with it”. That is I could not go through learning 141 principles which I needed to practice in all my affairs.
    I was relieved to find that some of the principles were duplicates and proceeded to cross them off the list. While doing so, I saw some principles which were broader than others and embraced lesser principles within them. Sort of like a deluxe edition of a book that bundles multiple books within a single volume. i.e. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
    When I was all finished I was greatly relieved to find that I only had three primary principles left to deal with. They were humility, serenity and benevolence. Humility included honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. Serenity included prayer, meditation and acceptance. Benevolence included love, amends and service to others.
    I was amazed at how simple the program really was once I looked at it as
    9 spiritual lessons (steps 1 – 9) to introduce us to the principles; and 3 spiritual exercises (steps 10 – 12) to keep us spiritually fit.
    What a simple order, I can go through with it. I simply resolved to practice at least one simple act or meditation from each category each day without fail. I was already familiar with the concept of detachment; that is the idea that I am responsible for making the effort and the God is responsible for the result. Thank Bill W. for the phrase “we are not saints, we claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection”.
    Ever since I have implemented this simple daily program, thoughts of alcohol have not entered my mind. I no longer struggle with resisting the temptation to drink “one day at a time”. The problem simple does not exist for me. Just as it says in the 10th step promise described on page 85 of the Big Book. I have found the solution, I am recovered. I am no longer just “one drink away from my next drunk”. I am now “one infinitely powerful God away from my next drunk”.
    This may sound cocky to some but it falls right in line with what Bill W. said about the program being summed up in 6 words. Trust God, clean house, help others.

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