marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Finding The Courage To Change

“Sixth Step Prayer: Dear God, I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself and guide me toward spiritual and mental health.” This is the step that separates the men from the boys. Four and Five ask us to look at our defects and share them with someone else. But we still need to find the willingness to remove our defects of character. You’d be surprised how many of us cling to our faults, including me. They often serve a purpose, sometimes twisted or mysterious. The pain from our defects is at least familiar to us, and removing them can be unsettling. Step Six is about readiness, willingness. My partner and I have a farm. We till the soil, add fertilizers, coffee grounds. We ready the earth for growing in the spring. That’s what Steps 4-6 do. They ready us for a kind of personal revolution, a change in ourselves. Change is very hard work. We are what we are for a reason. And letting go of our faults, which serve some function, can be hard. But I ask myself as I prepare to take this step if I need these defects anymore. Do I need them to be happy? No! Do I want to be happier? Yes! Then it’s time to shed some of my self-protective armor. It might be that glass (or six) of wine at the end of the day. It might be our stubbornness, our need to be right all the time....

Lightening My Load

From Hope for Today, April 22: “One beautiful spring day I was walking in the forest. A slight breeze blew through the trees. The birds sang and fluttered. I bent down, picked up a rock, which I named loneliness, and put it in my knapsack. I walked along a little further, enjoying the wildflowers as I passed. I paused again and picked up another rock, which I called hatred for my alcoholic stepfather. As I traveled further I picked up some more rocks—suspicion of others, isolation, fear, and uncertainty. Soon the beauty of the forest ceased to capture my attention. My knapsack was so heavy I couldn’t think of anything else. The rocks weighed me down so much I felt as though I had almost lost myself beneath their weight. Eventually I walked through the doors of Al-Anon and found the tools I needed to start emptying my gunnysack…Surrender in Step One helped me admit how heavy my sack had become. Hope in Step Two taught me there was Someone who could help me empty the sack—a Power greater than myself. Step Four helped me determine which rocks were mine and which ones belonged to others…Living one day at a time and sharing with my sponsor helped me shrink my gunnysack back into a knapsack and find new things to put in it, such as kindness, compassion, love, and humor. Instead of weighing me down, these lift me up into the light and life of recovery.” I can’t improve on those thoughts at all! The metaphor is perfect for me. This miraculous program has guided me through the fog...