50, steps 6&7

steps 6 & 7

How Do You Work AA’s Steps Six and Seven?

AA’s Step 6: We’re entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.

AA’s Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

Drop the Rock parable. It’s about the Twelve Step group members who set sail on the ship Recovery across the Sea of Life for the Island of Serenity. As the parable is usually told, soon after the boat pulls away from the dock, the passengers realize some of their friends are not yet on board.

Sure enough, their friend Mary comes running down the street and onto the dock. The people on the boat cheer her on. “Dive in and swim, Mary!” they shout. “You can do it!” Mary dives into the water and swims for the boat as fast and hard as she can. But as she gets close to the boat, she slows and struggles to stay afloat. Everyone on board can see why: a heavy rock is hanging from a snarl of strings around Mary’s neck. “Drop the rock!” they all shout. “Let go! Drop the rock!”

Treading water, Mary looks down at the rock. She realizes it contains her fear, resentments, self-pity, anger, intolerance and other character defects. She also realizes that if she doesn’t let go of them, she will drown.

She tears off the strings, holds the rock away from her body, and lets it go. Freed of the heavy and useless weight, Mary easily swims the rest of the way to the boat. She climbs aboard, dripping and deeply relieved.

A big part of Twelve Step recovery is learning to recognize and let go of the character defects, shortcomings and attitudes that would otherwise sink us. And with every “rock” we drop, we not only free ourselves to become the people we want to be, but our acts of humility, willingness and courage have a positive and healing “Ripple Effect” on one another, as well.