Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Scott’s story: After my sponsor led, or dragged, me through the first five steps he instructed me how to proceed with Steps 6 & 7—he sent me home to read the instructions for those steps. AA’s book, Alcoholics Anonymous, on page 75, said: Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour. Carefully reviewing what we have already done, we thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better. Taking this book (Alcoholics Anonymous), down from the shelf, we turn to the page that contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last. Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have we skimped on the cement we put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand? If we can answer these questions to our satisfaction, we are ready to proceed with Step 6: “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.”

We have emphasized “willingness” as being indispensable for Step 6. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things that we have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all—every one? If we have become “Entirely Willing,” to allow God to remove our defects then we have completed Step 6.

If we still cling to something we will not let go of, we ask God to help us become willing in Step 7: “Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.” When ready we say something like this: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.” Amen.

Step 8: “Make a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”  There was a guy named Nino, at my home group in Hollywood and it must have been his first meeting because after he read Step 8, in his heavy Brooklyn accent he said, “Explicative-Explicative,” no “Explicative” way—and he stood up and walked out never to be seen again! I knew exactly how Nino felt because I felt the same way when I encountered Step 8—no way in hell was I ready to do that. I owed a lot of people money and I didn’t have two nickels to rub together and not to mention, asking the people I had screwed over during most of my life to forgive me. The good news was that Step 8 only required me to “make a list” of all the people I had harmed and become “Willing” to make amends to them. I had already made a Step 4 inventory list and the names on it with some others were all that I needed for my Step 8 list. The bad news was that as we make our list it’s time we subject ourselves to another drastic self-appraisal.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. I saw no reason to put my father on my list because he was already dead but my sponsor said since I owed him an amends, I should put him on it, do my job everyday and see what happened. I fancied myself a big-shot Hollywood writer but the AA old-timers were not impressed. My first job in sobriety was driving a catering truck on movie sets. I joined the Teamsters Union and should have been grateful to have such a good paying job but I grumbled about being humbled.


John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer