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Connect the Dos

Getting from A to B

Fair warning, i’m working on Step 6 in Alcoholics Anonymous and so my next few posts will be about that.

Step 6

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

WTH? Defects of character, moi? What defects of character?

One of the things i like most about AA is that there is a clear, practical program to get better. It’s as easy as connecting the dots.

Here’s a short Step By Step refresher course of how i got here.

In Step 1 of AA’s 12 Steps, i admitted my life had become unmanageable because of my inability to handle my drinking.

In Step 2, i said that i obviously couldn’t control my drinking, so a power outside myself was going to have to. My Sponsor and i  decided this “Higher Power” was AA Meetings.

In Step 3, i turned over control of my drinking and life to this power.

In Step 4, i made a list of all the deepest, darkest defects of my character and the actions these defects led me to.

In Step 5, i went over this list with another person (my AA Sponsor).

Now, in Step 6,  i’m letting my Higher Power know that i’m ready to give these up to him/her/them/us.

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About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home. http://about.me/AlKHall

Posted on May 23, 2012, in AA Step Work, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. People always say, BOO, Step 4 … but step 6: DON’T MAKE ME LET GO MOMMY!!!! Good luck, and way to go … you’re romping right along. Booyah! Your Wesson, Smith, BB-Gun toting pal, Mel

    • Step 5 was a tough one too, talking about the most horrible things i’ve done with someone else, holding nothing back… Step 6 is easier than you might think for me because i did such a crappy job of trying control everything!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. inthesameboatla

    I have a hard time with the “defect” stuff. But I’ll give it a shot:

    I, like many people, desire “instant gratification.” Alcohol certainly gives that, and it was appealing to me in moments of stress, in socially awkward situations, and when I was bored. So one of my “defects” was a desire to take an easy way out.

    Well, maybe that’s not a defect. Maybe that’s natural. The “defect” was an inability to see and/or an unwillingness to admit that the consequences of my drinking were far greater than any benefits obtained. My defect was that I did not recognize that drinking was not an efficient way to cope.

    I now understand that drinking was making whatever ailed me before worse. I’ve learned that there are alternatives to dealing with stress, such as exercise that are much healthier. I’ve learned that social awkwardness can be overcome, and when it can’t, I have the option to bow out gracefully. And my iphone, macbook, and surfboard all keep me free of boredom. So has my “defect” been released?

    • i can totally understand how difficult the “defect” step must be for some people. Fortunately, i had no problem with this. i’m a control freak, i can be egotistical, i have a short temper… don’t get me started!

      As for you, it seems like your defect has been released, so you are now free of defects! Congrats, brother!

      And keep coming back, my friend,

      Al K Hall

      • Ha! Oh great! I’m perfect now! Thanks, Brother!

        I know nobody’s perfect and all that, and we need to be reminded that we are fragile, and put in our places sometimes. And maybe it’s just the language I don’t like, but this defect dwelling stuff came off to me as having to rub my own nose in shit. And I fought it. The example I had running through my head was from The French Connection: Suppose a guy who has been clean all of his life gets captured by bad guys, is tied up, and injected with heroin daily until he’s physically addicted. What “defect” caused his addiction? That he isn’t immune to heroin? Nobody is. Similarly, I guess my rationalization was that someone who is part of today’s society cannot really escape alcohol. It’s practically forced on people, starting at an early age. Can’t someone just say “Look, my defect is a genetic predisposition to problems with this stuff.” Look at the Eskimos. See what alcohol does to most of them?

        But now I see it’s a way to solve a problem. Certainly people who stumble into chemical dependence need to through the realization that whatever it was that led to this nightmare needs to be identified and corrected. Or that some realization that they are not immune to the negative effects is in order, yeah?

        • ITSB!

          Yes, brother! The idea is to avoid the traps our genetics lay out for us, in a sense. In the past, i would deny my defaults and hide from them through alcohol. After suppressing my defects for so long, it was an important step for me to dredge these up and face them head on. My sponsor always made me focus on my strengths as well. This step isn’t just an excuse to bash ourselves over the head, after all; hell, self-punishment is another defect that needs to be addressed as well.

          Keep coming back, brother,

          Al K Hall

      • inthesameboatla

        “i’m a control freak, i can be egotistical, i have a short temper… don’t get me started!”

        Oh this reminds me. Add Adolph Hitler to the list of people who didn’t drink but you wish they had.

      • working on it

        I was reading about how Hitler didn’t drink, however he took enough other drugs that a drinking problem would not have been relevant.

      • inthesameboatla

  3. working on it

    Nice way to work it. I’m torn between steps 1 and 2. As I may have said before when I grow up, I want to be just like you. Tough days moving forward, but plan on making good choices. I look forward to your future posts.

    • inthesameboatla

      Working, you don’t have to admit you’re “powerless” to reign in your drinking problem. Why not just stop for 30 days and see if you feel better? But ease into it. Take a week to “titrate” so you don’t go into withdrawal. If you’re used to drinking 4 or more drinks a day, a week of cutting down helps. Something like this:

      Day 0: “Say good bye to alcohol. Have all your favorite drinks.”
      Day 1: 4 drinks
      Day 2: 3 drinks
      Day 3: 3 drinks
      Day 4: 2 drinks
      Day 5: 2 Drinks
      Day 6: 1 drink
      Day 7: QUIT

      Then go 30 days without drinking, and see if you feel better.

      • working on it

        In the same boat. I have deepest respect for you. I’ve read your comments way before I ever commented. I have gone 30 days twice before. The last time I stopped was about 2 weeks ago. I do think I need a taper approach this time my body feels different. I.don’t want to be a 42 y/o dead person. Today is 5 yrs since my dad passed and I’m trying to make myself stay awake…sober.

      • Really good advice. Cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone … just interjecting because i have a VESTED interest in Working On It. Hi you! And Thanks for gentle, supportive words, inthesaemboat.

      • inthesameboatla

        Cool. Keep working on it. Remember that if you don’t drink, you can’t have problems with alcohol. You might have other problems (we all do), but alcohol isn’t one of them. And that should be a relief in and of itself.

        I always find this post helpful: http://blog.kenperlin.com/?p=2997 To summarize, a great Yeamani philosopher once said “Freedom is what we do with what was done to us.” And you have the freedom to drink, but one day you’ll look back and say “Jeeze, I wasted my life on this stupid chemical, when I could have gone out and experienced life is so many better ways.”

        Not drinking is freedom.

    • Thanks! But oh god, not like me, please! You can do much better.

      Step 1 was super easy: i was hospitalized for 10 days after nearly dieing from a suicide attempt and about to be evicted from my apartment. Life doesn’t get much more unmanageable. After that i just needed to find a Higher Power and i was fortunate enough that my Sponsor told me AA Meetings were my Higher Power because that corresponds closely to my perception of “God” being my personal soul combined with the souls of others on the planet.

      Hang in there, keep working on it and keep coming back!

      Al K Hall

  4. It is very interesting to read about your journey through the program – I wish you all the best with step 6!

  5. Keep on rockin’ it, my dear! You are doing great, and I am glad that you are continuing forward.

    Just curious about something I’m trying to work out in my head, too (so I have no “agenda” with what I am going to ask — I’m not “leading the witness,” to put it in courtroom terms. I’m honestly trying to work out a conundrum).

    My question is with this,

    Now, in Step 6, i’m letting my Higher Power know that i’m ready to give these up to him/her/them/us.

    So, like, I believe that I am divine, and that I have a source of higher power (via a “higher self”) to which I am connected. It’s both “me” and “not me”; “me” in a bigger sense, a more universal sense, but if I am only focused on my plane of existence here and not being conscious about my source/higher self, then it is easy to forget that connection and just see “me” — my human ego-self/personality here on this planet.

    If a person does not want to be religious or see their higher power as something outside of him or herself, then how would one give the defects up to “oneself”? What would that look like, or be like or how would that work out? I guess I can see how it *does* work if you say that AA is your higher power. If you give up the defects to AA, then going to meetings and doing the work of the steps, is, in fact, giving it up to the higher power of AA. It’s a little more circular than I feel comfortable with, but I guess in a way it works (mentally, logically).

    I dunno. I guess so much of the program is spiritual in nature (which I am cool with). But sometimes I don’t like how it gets to the point where a person is giving up all of his or her control to something *outside* of him or herself, right? I am kind of in the mode of “Question Authority.” Don’t want to just blindly give up my own power to something that claims authority over me. All that jazz. That shit can get scary.

    I like things best when I start to take responsibility for the removal of my own defects, recognizing that I am a powerful, sovereign god-being, and when I tap into that part of myself, I recognize that I am *not* powerless, I am powerful!

    Maybe it is saying the same thing in a way. I’m still recognizing a part of myself that is bigger than the “self” that is in this body on this earth — a spiritual being having a human experience. When I remember that spiritual being that I Am, then it is possible to be able to “tap into” that part of my divine self and surrender the ego-personality to the spiritual self.

    Blah blah blah. Enough existentializing, lol. But I am curious if there are other people who think like I do and how it all works out for them.

    • Hi M’dear!

      Thanks for your visit and thanks for your questions.

      It’s a tough one indeed, and i can’t answer for everyone, but i know that for me and other sober people in the program with me that when we tried to run our lives, we ran them into the ground. So, for us, it’s important for us to find a power outside of ourselves.

      There are two ways to look at this and i think a lot of readers are focusing on the destination, on “the God” side of the equation. The “Who i’m giving up control to”. i imagine there are a lot of religious AA groups in the States and they center their recovery on this aspect of the program.

      With the people i hang with here in Yeaman, however, it’s not so much where we put control of our lives so long as we get it out of ourselves. i’ve mentioned before, one of the guys in know in the program has the Bus #59 as his Higher Power. i heard about another guy that gave up control of his life to a pumpkin. It’s a gesture of saying, i cannot control my life anymore and when i try i mess things up so i’m going to stop trying.

      Most normal people don’t have the issues we addicts have so it’s probably hard to imagine giving up control on purpose. But the addicts i know reached a point where they had to stop pretending they were in control of a runaway train, we had to stop playing God because it was making life Hell. So, it’s not a religious experience but a conscious decision to stop trying to control everything.

      Does that make any kind of sense whatsoever? lol

      Keep coming back, babe,

      Al K Hall

  6. OK, even though i’m not in the program … ditto everything you said so eloquently and honestly … “giving it up” so much giving up to … ??? Great stuff Celeste. HI MRS!!! Hall!!!!

  7. jumpingpolarbear

    A little by little. Step by Step. Glad you are doing well!

  8. working on it

    Yes. Too.bad Layne’s choices caused him to be snatched from this world. He was gifted.

  9. When I first stepped foot into AA I was naive enough to think that steps 1-12 could be worked boom boom boom and I’d be done. Boy was I WRONG! lol It definitely takes time to work the program. Lord knows I’ve tried enough ‘quick fixes’ throughout my life to fix things…I’m ready to do this the right way and not look for a quick fix. Congrats on getting to step 6! I’m looking forward to following along on the rest of your journey through the steps.

    • i think i’m taking it slower than most, but i’m not in a hurry. Why rush to the destination when the journey is the point? Good luck with your steps as well, Ginger!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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