Spotlight on the 12 Steps
Steps 6-9 By Amy W.
Drug Rehabilitation:

Whew! I survived. I survived the monumental Fourth and Fifth Step of drug rehabilitation that as a newcomer I was terrified of. After completing Step 5, my sponsor and I looked at Step Six. She said, “Are you now willing to have all of your defects of character removed?” My response was, “If I do that, I might not have a character left?” Her response was, “Good! Then you can start over fresh and let God define your character.”

Looking at the character defect list I balked: profanity, lying, stealing, manipulating, ego, blaming, perfectionism, etc. etc. These were all of my survival skills. They were finely tuned. They were my means of getting everything and anything that I wanted. My sponsor assured me that my Higher Power would provide all of the things I needed.

The willingness came easy as I had just completed Steps 4 and 5 from drug rehabilitation and all of the defects of character were all of the parts of my behavior that caused me and those I loved pain. My sponsor kneeled with me beside the couch, opened her Big Book and we recited the Seventh Step prayer together. I expected some bright light to be shined upon me and “POOF!” I would have a defective character no longer. That is totally not what happened.

My sponsor went through the list of my less endearing qualities and she showed me that on the opposite side of every character defect is a spiritual principle. She told me I needed to practice the spiritual principles every day. So when I lied to someone I had to say, “Hey, I just lied to you. Here is the truth.”

Practicing the spiritual principles and talking honestly with my sponsor is what changed my character. On this new spiritual path from drug rehabilitation, I came up against the Eighth Step. My list was SO LONG! I immediately felt defeated and overwhelmed. I wanted to give up. My sponsor encouraged me and taught me how to keep things SIMPLE.

We broke my Eighth Step list into three parts. Part 1: People I was willing to make amends to now. Part 2: People I might be willing to make amends to later. Part 3: People I was never willing to make amends to. She told me to begin to pray for the wiliness to make amends to the people on parts 2 and 3.

Before I went about making ANY amends, my sponsor and I went over each person on the list and how I would go about making my amends.

She told me the purpose of making amends was to “set things straight or to make right.” She told me that the words, “I’m sorry” should never leave my lips. Instead she told me to say, “I have wronged you and I need to know what to do to make this right.” Then I had to listen…and do it!!!

By the time I was done making the amends to the people in Part 1 of my list, I was willing to do the amends to the people on Part 2. With every amend I made, I experienced freedom from shame and guilt. As people forgave me, every step from drug rehabilitation I became more and more willing to forgive others. I was completely willing to make amends to the people on Part 3.

Drug rehabilitation is a process and I love the process. Steps Six and Nine provide me with a way to prevent problems and fix things when I make mistakes. Am I perfect now? Did the light shine down on me? Not hardly. I am free though and the more I work the steps the more of God’s light I see.

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