By Jamie Moon
Any of us that have read the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous on Step Six, is likely to remember the statement made by Father Dowling “this is the Step that separates the men from the boys…” Step Six says we: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Now on the surface this seems to be a rather innocuous Step. I mean it seemed to me the first time I looked at this Step that all I would be doing is to become Willing to let go of all those things that were wrong with me.
Wow. If God or Higher Power or whatever you wish to call it did that I’d be perfect. Now who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be perfect? But is that what is being asked of us? Is that the result that we can expect from Step Six? What is Step Six actually asking of us? And what the heck did Father Dowling mean by his now infamous statement? How do I live in Willingness as a Principle of life?
Well I can truly say that my belief that I would be made perfect was one of ignorance. That would imply that I am not prefect to begin with and that everyone else also are not prefect. As a part of the process of going through the Steps that one comes to is the Willingness to accept that “either God is everything or God is nothing.” This is a choice we must be Willing to make. Now once I re-framed the word God to my own understanding of a Higher Power I could then make that choice. I choose to believe that God is everything. That being so and God is perfect then all is perfect.
What is truly being asked in Step Six is that we be Willing to let go of every one of our self-defences. So for me the Step means to have the Willingness to become entirely ready to have God remove all of those defences that we have used to protect ourselves from real or imagined dangers in life. What would that mean for us? Well for me it means that we would depend on the Universe—Higher Power—a Higher Intelligence—a Higher Consciousness—God (whatever we have chosen to call It) to protect us. We would trust it to defend us, not our anger or any other character defence we have used in our lives. Now IF that is why Father Dowling said “This is the Step that separates the men from the boys…”? I get it.