We found Step Six to be the step to “separate the men from the boys” as the Twelve and Twelve says. Being willing to change, or to let God change you, is key–change not because you have to or else, but because we now want to be different. After all, these steps are meant to change one’s consciousness–I like that–to change consciousness. Step Six is the becoming willing step, so Step Seven is the action. We ask God as we understand Him/Her to remove the things that separate us from each other.
We don’t pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, we give, surrender, our selves to God as in Step Three, and now that we are more aware of our weaknesses of character–we humbly ask God to purify us more–to remove our flaws in thinking and acting.
Humility is important here. I am not talking about being humiliated, but finding humility as something we want to have more of. I once took a person to a 12 step meeting down in Douglas, AZ and I suggested the topic of humility with her in mind. Most of us, myself included, find ourselves the center of the universe. Me, Me, Me. With a sense of humility one can more easily find joy. This is one of those Spiritual things I cannot explain well except with perhaps an example.
Growing up in Michigan, one is never more that 6.5 miles from a lake, river, or stream–it is the Water, Winter, Wonderland as our license plates used to say in the good old days. In recovery I had a tradition I made up–to drive up to a place called Port Hope on the coast of Lake Huron–in the thumb area of Michigan. I used to love the feeling I had when I stood there with Lake Huron and its immensity and size and depth and awesomeness. This feeling I got I consider akin to humility. I love the feeling and understanding of being small–in a good way. I understand people feel this when standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon as well. A famous poet (Robert Bly I think) once said, “Lord help me, for my boat is so small, and your sea–so Immense.”
My favorite sentence in all of recovery literature is in this chapter in the Twelve and Twelve. I was once reading and all of a sudden these certain words grew in size and had to read them over again. “We never thought of making honesty, tolerance, and love–of man and God–our daily basis for living.” At first I laughed–no I never thought of THAT, but then I realized he was serious and I try to live this way now.