I didn’t give much time to Step Six when I first went through the steps. I didn’t think it needed a whole lot of thought or discussion. I had discovered my defects of character in Step Four and shared them in Step Five. So yes, I was ready to have them removed and move on with the program. I was still, perhaps, in the mode of getting through the steps as fast as possible: quantity over quality.
A couple of years ago I went through Step Six and Seven again with my sponsor. As part of the process I read the book, “Drop the Rock”, a Hazelton Publication. Here I came to learn that I missed two fundamental parts of Step Six when I first went through it. I got being prepared to let my Higher Power remove my defects of character. But I totally missed that in order to have those removed, I had to let them go. And I wasn’t quite ready for the new person that would be created as a result of this transformation.
Going through the first five steps had changed me. I was starting to like who I was again. I had learned to look into the mirror and love who was looking back. I thought I was doing pretty good with the whole recovery thing. And after seven months in recovery, I was. I just didn’t have the depth necessary in order to understand what ‘entirely ready’ really meant. Yes, I wanted to be rid of those character defects of arrogance, perfectionism and entitlement, to name a few. I wanted them gone. But wanting them gone and letting them go? I didn’t realize that those were two different things. I had to open my hands and let those things go. As the book says, I had to drop those rocks that were weighing me down and holding me back.
The other thing I didn’t realize at the time is something that is sort of understood, but not stated in the step. In the same way that ‘could restore us to sanity’ in Step Two tells us that we were insane, here too there’s an understanding that I am going to be a different person when I have my defects of character removed. This I really didn’t consider the first time through the step. My character was made up partly by those defects of character that I wanted gone, so it made sense that I would be a different person at the end of this. But: I had to be willing to let go of the ‘me’ I knew for a ‘me’ that was new. In this step, I can’t hold onto the old me, I have to release it in the same way that I release the rest of the ‘rocks’ that hold me back and, at the same time, trust my Higher Power and the process of going through the steps would create a new and improved Tim.
Letting go of who and how I am still proves to be difficult. Every once in a while I find another part of me that needs to be worked on. It comes with living the Steps. I must be willing to leave behind as well as move forward. I am grateful that I have many examples of others who also live the steps and I can see the results in them. I know that my Higher Power will do the same for me.