The Gift of Goodbye To Pain
Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.
I used to tell God how big my problems are
I now tell my problems how big my God is
There is a law of the universe that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. For many years I thought Step 6 was all about me overcoming my defects of character. The more tolerant I tried to be of others, the more intolerant a person I became, the more patient a person I tried to be, the more impatience grew inside of me. These are just two examples of my many flaws that I tried to self-will away and all that happened is they got much worse.
The only action required in Step 6 is to position ourselves into a place of readiness for God to come and remove all our defects of character. The action of readiness is to lay down arms, lay down our sword of ego and shield of anger, and everything else in our defective arms cache and surrender them to God. Willingness is once again the vital key to the kingdom here.
Our Step 4 inventory was like opening the door of our hurt locker and discovering the pain of our existence. We uncovered the truth of how wrong we had been about life. The pain of our hurt locker experience now becomes the touchstone to a new freedom for us. The freedom comes from having no option but to be willing to let God take all our defects of character root and branch.
Most of our character defects are grounded in the tenants of delusion.
We are about to enter a new kingdom and a new way of life. Unfortunately the one requirement to enter this new kingdom (and its non negotiable) is that we leave behind our own kingdom that we have been trying to rule for so many years. We have sat on the throne of judgement and opinion of others for so long, it has become the only way of life that we know. We thought nothing wrong about this, after all this is what life was all about wasn’t it? We have discovered how our judgements and opinions were killing us, not the other person and how crucial it was to now let God be the judge and juror.
So this state of readiness is in essence the act of being willing to let go. We once thought it extremely empowering to live in the root of judgement of others, but hated the consequences of our character defects such as anger, jealousy and resentment. I was more than happy to let God take the consequences of my drinking, but take away the comfort of my judgement? I don’t about that! For many years in recovery I suffered the delusion that I had completed Step 6 to the best of my ability and yet the pain of anger and resentment still came often to haunt me. In the midst of my delusion I had become ready to let go of the consequences of my character defects, but held on tooth and nail to my judgements and opinions of others. Step 6 had become the great betrayal for me.
Having discovered my failure in Step 6 I now had to become ready to have God take away my roots, my judgement and opinions. I couldn’t imagine a life without my comfort of my opinions, my throne of judgements, I just couldn’t ready myself. This is when the penny dropped for me. Of course I was incapable of letting go, my lack of power being my fundamental problem rendered me unable to hand over my judgements, but God does have the power to take them away if only I will allow him to do so. The delusion I had suffered from was that my judgement and opinions were my power over others, but in reality they were destroying me. This is the insanity of this disease in full flight, I was terrified to surrender my false sense of power that didn’t even exist to a point where it nearly killed me.
Furthermore the only way that I was willing to relinquish my false sense of power, was to be assured that if I do surrender the power of my judgements I would immediately by awarded with another power, I would get a reward for abandoning my throne.
There is a story of a 4 year old girl who got her arm stuck inside a chocolate vending machine. She was starting to get frantic and her parents were unable to help her. The paramedics and fire department were called and started making plans to cut her arm out of the vending machine. Whilst the chaos was happening, one of the paramedics who had been carefully observing the whole event, knelt down by the terrified little girl and said ‘sweetie do you have anything in your hand? To which the girl reluctantly answered yes I have a chocolate bar in my hand”. The paramedic said “Sweetie if you let go of that old half eaten chocolate bar I will give you two brand new ones to eat right away!” The reward for letting go of her old chocolate bar outweighed the pain of letting go. She let go and her arm came out of the machine unscathed.
Our reward for letting go of false sense of power is gaining the real power, God’s power! It is a power that delivers the effect we so desperately seek just to exist, except God’s power delivers a life beyond our wildest dreams.
If all else fails and we still find we are holding on, we pray for the willingness to be willing!
Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist