This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Step Six, “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” In Bill Wilson’s book titled, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, he said about Step Six:
It is plain for everybody to see that each sober AA member has been granted a release from alcohol, a very obstinate and potentially fatal obsession. So in a very complete and literal way, all sober AA’s have “become entirely ready,” to have God remove the mania for alcohol from their lives. And God has proceeded to do exactly that.
Having been granted a perfect release from alcoholism, why then shouldn’t we be able to achieve by the same means a perfect release from every other difficulty or defect? This is a riddle of our existence, the full answer to which may be only in the mind of God. Nevertheless, at least a part of the answer to it is apparent to us.
When men and women pour so much alcohol into themselves that they destroy their lives, they commit a most unnatural act. Defying their instinctive desire for self-preservation, they seem bent on self-destruction. They work against their own deepest instinct. As they are humbled by the terrific beating administered by alcohol; the grace of God can enter them and expel their obsession. Here their powerful instinct to live can cooperate fully with their Creator’s desire to give them new life. For Nature and God alike abhor suicide.
But most of our difficulties don’t fall under such a category at all. Every normal person wants, for example, to eat, to reproduce, and to be somebody in the society of his fellows. And he wishes to be reasonably safe and secure as he tries to attain these things. Indeed, God made him that way. He did not design man to destroy himself by alcohol. But He did give man instincts to help him stay alive. It is nowhere evident, at least in this life, that our Creator expects us fully to eliminate our instinctual drives. So far as we know, it is nowhere on the record that God has completely removed from any human being all his natural drives.
Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He asks only that we try, as best we know how to make progress in the building of character.