Step 6: Willingness of a Hobo

I love step 6. It’s like getting a new life: one that’s respectable and decent. Its like taking off the Hobo rags of self-deceit and putting on clean and comfortable weekend clothes. If you have willingness, before you even know it, the step is over and you’re ready for 7.

We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all– every one?  ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 2014, p 76

Willingness is all it takes for a good Step 6. Just be willing to drop the rags and that’s it. The real work of steps 6 & 7 is God’s part.

This made me really happy because I knew that God loved me and I felt nothing but confidence in His desire to heal me and my Hobo mentality.

By nature, I’m a Hobo– a wanderer or a vagrant. Before full-time RVing, I was from the Midwest, about an hour and a half from Britt, Iowa where they have the Hobo Convention every summer. Somehow that feels right. Growing up, when I wasn’t in Iowa, I was at a shack in Minnesota on a location that our family fondly called Hobo Hill. The inside was raw wood or insulation board with butterflies and moths pinned to the spaces between the wall supports. It’s in my nature to be unconcerned about appearances.

That’s part of how I rationalized being an alcoholic. I didn’t care if people thought badly about me and didn’t see any reason to do esteem-able things. If I appeared a little selfish, dishonest or self-seeking, too bad. Bite me!

When I reached AA I found that I needed to rethink almost everything. For the first time in my life I began to see that I was responsible for how I acted and how my behavior affected others. Easy does it!

It should be easy. This is a simple program and anytime I find I’m confused, I can go back to the book.

All I needed to do was look again at my 4th step and find column 5 and 6. The objectionable items are Selfish, Dishonest, Self-seeking and Fearful behavior.These four defects of character comprise the ball attached to the chain around my ankles. They will keep an alcoholic in slavery to fear and reprisals.

As much as I hated to admit it, I knew that those traits were keeping me from living a sane and happy sober life. I also knew that I couldn’t just change myself and that God had to do it.

I knew because before I ever gave up the bottle, I tried to fix myself. It doesn’t work. At 56, I had a whole basement library full of self-help books that I’d highlighted, underlined and studied. I knew a lot. I changed very little. Self cannot change self!

If we alcoholics find that we’re unable to find willingness to give up one of the four defects of character, then it’s simple. Page 76 says,

If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.

We just ask God to give us the willingness. As soon as we have it…we’re ready for step 7.

Simple. A lot simpler than getting rid of the clutter in my basement once I got through with step 6.

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