akron founders day aa
Founders’ Day 2007 Akron, Ohio
June 4, 2024
mental wellness smile

Understanding Steps Six and Seven

Since the day I entered the AA program, I have had an insatiable appetite for learning all I could about the disease of alcoholism. Having completed a very thorough fourth and fifth step, and examining my motives for everything I did in steps six and seven, it occurred to me that most of my problems in life involved my interfacing with, “Those Other People.”

As I got further into the steps and started to process every one of these interactions, it became apparent to me that the basic cause of my discontent was low self-esteem and that, until I resolved that, there would be very little peace of mind. I had to get right with everyone.

They say that understanding is the key to right living. I read just about anything I can get my hands on, about these issues, that reinforce the principles we learn in the AA program such as; Emmet Fox’s Sermon on The Mount, and others. Including Scott Peck’s, The Road Less Traveled, Ernest Kurtz and Kathleen’s Ketchum’s The Spirituality of Imperfection, Max Ehrmann’s poem, Desiderata, and the like.

This kind of reference material helps me to get a better perspective on how to reduce the obstacles that stand in the way of my ability to solve these problems. I should be willing to get right with “every human being I know” as suggested in step eight (12&12).

Scott Peck describes the word Love as: Caring for and nurturing another person’s soul. I now look at Love as a verb and not a noun. You can love someone that doesn’t love you back when you use this definition. And, as a result, I truly wish the best for every human being I know and offer help and guidance when I can. I became their best advocate.

If I want to heal, I must look deeper and try to understand the other person. To be strong enough to first, reign in my ego and then realize that the other person may be reacting to my adversarial position. Finding ways to remove my own judgmental attitude opens the door to love and compassion.

Today, I can love everyone by simply giving them the respect and acceptance that I would want for myself. After doing my best to adopt this plan of action over the years, I can only say that nothing that I have ever done, with respect to Those Other People, has been more rewarding than this approach.

I have, to the best of my understanding, stopped judging others by their outside behavior and have the strength to look deeper. When I do that, I usually find a person, not too different from myself, trying to protect himself from his fears, and I just can’t bring myself to pile on and compound his pain. My heart goes out to him, and I don’t have to deal with regrets later. My ego is neutralized as I come to understand his troubles.

The greatest gift I receive from all of this is that, as I apply this to all Those Other People, I seem to allow myself the same latitude without even expecting it since at one time, I was That Other Person. Self-forgiveness and peace of mind seems to be the natural result of my efforts. I can accept everyone just as they are and not mess with God’s work.

By Rick R.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.