“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” So reads Step Six. After the guilt and remorse of my last drunk had faded, I didn’t think this Step had any application in my life. Now that I was no longer drinking I wasn’t a bad person. Character defects? I couldn’t see where I had any. My character defects were hidden behind all those hurts and injustices I’d saved up through the years and which I regularly brought out and relived with all the original emotion. Not only that, I accumulated any and every new hurt, real or imagined. In fact I took a kind of perverse pleasure from feeling sad and self-pitying. I was giving power to people who were long gone. Then I realized that these people gave me my favorite excuses for why I did what I did or couldn’t do what I should have done. I used them to justify my actions and blamed them for my failures. Every time something went wrong in my life or I failed to live up to some responsibility, I took out the list of abuses I’d suffered and used it as an excuse. I became very adept at hiding my guilt behind these real or imagined hurts. I was a chronic victim.
The problem with blaming my frustrations and failures on what others did to me is that it kept me small. I stayed a little boy trapped in a man’s body–a self-centered, selfish little boy who expected people to live up to his fantasies of them and got hurt when they didn’t cater to every want and whim.
Although I had made a Third Step decision, I couldn’t really turn my life and will over to my Higher Power because it didn’t belong to me. Unknowingly, over the years, I’d turned my will over to all those people whom I felt had injured me in some way.
Fortunately I reached a point where I was choking on all this garbage. With the help of my Higher Power and the AA program, I chose to grow up. It was about time! I opened up that imaginary closet in my mind where I kept these well-nurtured hurts and tossed them into my past, where they belonged. Into this newly cleaned-out space, I started storing my goals and the hopes and dreams of what I wanted to achieve in life. Now instead of looking backward into the dreariness of my past, I’m looking forward to a bright future because I’ve finally taken responsibility for my life.