Andrew’s Perspective: Steps 6 & 7

By Andrew M., Renascent Alumni

I came to this program with a belief that my real problem was the use of drugs and alcohol, and was told early on that my alcoholism was but a symptom of a bigger problem, an internal condition – often described as a spiritual malady.  As I engaged this process (the 12 Steps) and completed my first Fourth Step and shared this with my sponsor, what came to light was that I had a great deal of defects of character or shortcomings that had been plaguing me, and were causing me and the people in my life a great deal of pain.

At this point I was told I was at Step 6, having learned about some of the things (the defects) in my life.  In Step 6, I had to become willing to have these items be removed – until I was aware of them, I could not become willing. When I sat looking at this list of defects, my sponsor asked me if I was willing to let these go. I felt that if I was not willing, I was failing at this program and I said “yes I am willing”.  We said a short prayer, commonly referred to as the Seventh Step prayer and I was told I had taken my Seventh Step.  

The truth is, looking back, I was not entirely “willing” to have these all removed. In some ways, I still held onto some of these defects with the false belief that they served a purpose. I have come to understand that my larger defects do not serve me; they in fact often result in me causing harm to others or putting myself in a position to be hurt.  With Steps 6 and 7, I found myself become aware of the defects, being willing to surrender these to my Higher Power (God) to be removed, followed by action in behaving in a different manner.

Where I used to find myself being dishonest, my actions of telling the truth slowly resulted in me living life of truth and integrity. Where I used to feel and live in greed, this was replaced with charity and goodwill. Where I used to be plagued with feelings of judgement and intolerance, this was replaced with love and acceptance.  

Have all my defects been removed today – no.  Although many of them have been taken away, new ones come up, and it is through this process of awareness, surrender and action that I am able to be constantly willing to grow closer to the person I desire to be, the person that God intends me to be, and the person that is able to show love, tolerance and kindness.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email