A little ditty on the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous (Into Action).
Now that we have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understand him and have written down all the things that are blocking us, it is time for more action. The book states in many ways that faith without works is dead, and this program is not about thinking, or feeling, it is about doing. There is more work to do in order to be free from the insanity of alcoholism.
What steps are covered in chapter 6?
“Into Action” covers steps 5 through 11. This chapter is called “Into Action” because having completed a personal housecleaning it is now time to get going and reach out to someone else with who to share this inventory, usually a sponsor. The benefits of reading an inventory to a sponsor, as opposed to a family member or friend, is twofold. First, they will not be affected by anything they hear and second, a sponsor has the experience of having not only completed this step but hopefully all of the steps that follow. They will have the experience and perspective needed to help you move forward. Sharing these things with someone else is most likely the first time anyone has had a deeper look at your personal, private life and that can certainly feel uncomfortable.
Why is it necessary to share all these personal things with another person?
On the very first page of chapter 6 they say that the most important reason for sharing this inventory with someone else is that keeping secrets can lead the alcoholic back to the bottle. Self appraisal for the alcoholic, or for anyone, really is not enough. Reading an inventory to another person leaves little room for rationalization and self-justification. A tremendous, though not always at first welcome result, will be humility. This is something for whom the people in this program strive.
I’ve heard it said at meetings and also it is mentioned at the beginning of Chapter 5, that we must be willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. What is any lengths?
The amends step, step 9, is explained in full detailed in this chapter. This is the step where “the rubber meets the road”, as the saying goes. We will need to make a list of persons we have harmed from the resentments stated in the 4th step. We will need to go out and try our best to straighten these matters out. If we have some misgivings about doing this, the author reminds us when introducing the amends step that we had agreed in chapter 5 that we were willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. Most members would agree that actually doing the amends step is “any lengths”.
However, any member that has completed this step will also assure you that the end result of this step is beyond satisfying. In fact there are guarantees (the 12 promises) that you will be amazed before you are half way through with step 9. The 12 steps gives us much more than victory over alcohol, if we are totally committed to the process.
What are the maintenance steps exactly?
Steps 10, 11, and 12 are known in the fellowship as the maintenance steps and 10 and 11 are explained in detail near the end of this chapter. The following chapter is entirely devoted to step 12. The book warns us that we cannot rest on our laurels and that we are headed for trouble should we do so. Alcohol is a subtle foe that is waiting to take us out and often the untreated alcoholic can find himself with a drink in his hand, without realizing it consciously. Step 10 suggests we continue the self-examination process (done in step 4) and clear up any new mistakes as we go along. Step 11 suggests prayer and meditation, to improve on our relationship with a higher power. Remember; honesty, open-mindedness and willingness, will be the approach that will get you the results you desire. Sobriety, both physical and emotional.