Many will at once ask, “How can we accept the entire implication of Step Six? Why–that is perfection!” This sounds like a hard question, but practically speaking, it isn’t. Only Step One, where we made 100 percent admission we were powerless over alcohol, can be practiced with absolute perfection. The remaining eleven Steps state perfect ideals. They are goals toward which we look, and the measuring sticks by which we estimate our progress. Seen in this light, Step Six is still difficult, but not at all impossible. The only urgent thing is that we make a beginning, and keep trying.
One of the things I’ve been able to appreciate and articulate for years is the fact that I see the Twelve Steps as a plan. A map. Guidelines. They state ideals to me, meaning they tell me what I’m aiming to get closer and closer to all the time. They tell me I won’t ever make it all the way there. That’s not my objective and it’s useless to aim for that. Really, most of the time I make a 100 percent admission that I am powerless over alcohol, especially at this late day in my sobriety. But there have been times through the years when my admission was less than 100 percent. Luckily, thankfully, I’ve been able to hold on and get through those times without picking up.
I luck out in another way. It states that it’s urgent that we make a beginning and keep trying. I did not do this in the past. I didn’t do a complete and formal fourth step until I had five years sober. After that fifth step, I declared myself to be on Step Six until ……… I don’t even know until when. My wife and I took a trip to Akron to see the old AA landmarks, and I asked her to take my picture on the sixth step of Dr. Bob’s house, because that’s where I live, on the sixth step. That had to be approximately ten years after my first fifth step, and several years after my second fifth step. And I didn’t spend all those intervening years trying constantly either. And once again, I have to say this is not a good example to follow. I’m lucky that I lasted long enough to come around to this.
So now I’m wondering about this. Is all this thinking and writing that I’ve been doing on the sixth step enough to call it a go this time? Am I done, for now? Have I made progress?
I’ve gained some new insights over these months of considering the sixth step. I understand that I have every human character defect to some degree, that we all do. I understand that I have to consider mine daily. I understand that when something is disturbing me greatly, my character defects are the reason for my disturbance.
I’m wondering if and how knowing these things and accepting these things and examining these things makes possible a lessening of my defects.
I never quite thought of this in terms of instincts and desires that oppose the grace of God. My instincts and desires are human and fine in their own way. It’s the excess that brings pain, and it usually is demanding more than my fair share of something. One of the meditation books I read had as today’s thought something having to do with this – I have everything I need. And today, I truly do.