Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
Principle 5 from Celebrate Recovery: Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life…
A lot of people cover steps 6 and 7 together so I thought I’d do so here as well. The funny thing about step 6 is that we don’t always know if we are entirely ready until after we complete step 7. We might think we are ready to shrug off destructive patterns, unhealthy relationships and insufficient coping mechanisms, but we don’t always realize the price of what we are asking. I say this, simply to say that no one is ever fully ready. This readiness the steps speak of is more of a decision on our part. We have to decide that we are done with our drinking or drug of choice or issue of choice and all of the baggage that helped create it and all of the baggage that is attached to it.
Once we have made this decision and humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings we typically continue to work with our sponsor on what is safe for us and what is not safe for us. We invite God into our lives and ask Him to help us make wise choices and to alert us to what we need to change. Most of us are doing daily inventories and these dailies can provide priceless information for us and our sponsor or accountability partner. I can recall reading back through a week’s worth of entries and having several light bulbs come on in terms of stressors I needed to rid myself of as well as friendships that weren’t serving me anymore.
I included a portion of Celebrate Recovery’s Step 5 Principle above because I love how it reiterates that this whole process is a decision on our part. An Active Decision, at that. One that we must continue to make over and over again throughout our days and throughout our lives. The words “voluntarily submit to the changes God wants to make” are the foundation of lasting recovery. We have to choose to submit to the changes God brings to our attention. We have to choose to end an unhealthy relationship because we know it is taking us away from sobriety and away from God. We have to choose to end an unhealthy friendship because that person is just not who we need to be around right now. We even have to sometimes choose to leave a stressful job for one that allows us more room to breathe even if it means having to curtail some of our spending habits. Truth be told - our choices got us into our messes and it is our choices that will get us out of our messes and into a healthy and thriving life.
Step 6 and Step 7 are all about the power to choose. Many of us may have forgotten that we have any power at all, but we do. We have the power to listen to God, to listen to our sponsors, to listen to our accountability partners and we have the power to choose to make the suggested changes. We have the power to choose better for ourselves.
In my case for example, I have had to find completely new hobbies and interests and friends because sitting on a patio drinking all night is no longer a part of my life. In recovery, I have developed a love of the outdoors and photography! I discovered the world of hiking and rock climbing and paddle boarding and kayaking and I have made friends who have similar interests. I have also recently taken up golf and am loving every minute of that too. In recovery, I continue to surprise myself with the things I like to do now that I don’t drink! As for friendships and relationships, I only have a couple rules. They can’t create a desire for drinking in me and they can’t lead me away from my Creator. This basically translates to rare drinkers or non-drinkers who live out their faith instead of just talking about it. And trust me, being a thirty-something who is unmarried in the south - I have to continue to make these choices everyday. Yes, I could have more friends and go on a lot of dates, but none of it would be healthy for me so I choose to pursue only the right friendships and the right relationship because it is my choices that will keep me sober and healthy and happy. Happy choosing ya’ll.