by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Grapevine : June 2011
30 June 2011 stick with the “window shade” version that I am fussing about. I need to dig deeper. Over the years, I have learned that it is helpful to read AA’s small print. So I take out my copy of the “twelve and twelve,” and the first words I read are “‘This is the Step that separates the men from the boys.’” Oops, and this is the Step I can’t handle. Now, I start to worry. Why, in assign- ing these essays on the Steps to different trustees, did the Grapevine editor choose me to write on the Sixth Step? Perhaps he knew about my defect of character that makes me reject that Step so vehe- mently. Or, am I just being paranoid? It wouldn’t be the first time. Nevertheless, I keep on reading. The “twelve and twelve” goes on to suggest lovingly that alco- holics’ “powerful instinct to live can cooperate fully with their Creator’s desire to give them new life. . . He asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character.” So nobody is going to jerk this jerk around after all. This Sixth Step is going to be a coop- erative enterprise. I under- stand cooperation. I “shall have to be content with pa- tient improvement”--a day at a time. Suddenly, and through a power greater than myself, my hopeless- ness gives way to hope. As I continue to read, I experience a little miracle; and I am completely ready for it. The Sixth Step does fit in with all the others. I just had to keep on reading. My resentment evaporates. Instead, I think, No wonder Class As get involved with this Fellowship. The “twelve and twelve” transforms my hopelessness about the Sixth Step into hope. Indeed, the common sense wisdom of Bill’s writ- ing so often makes Class As, like me, feel both hope and gratitude--two gifts we cannot give ourselves. I turn the page, and to my surprise I begin to wonder if not only the Grapevine editor but Bill, too, had been reading my mind. Bill’s straw man in the “twelve and twelve” is just like me. He grumbles, “‘I can’t give this up yet’” and “‘This I will never give up.’” Somehow Bill knew that people besides me “exult in some of our defects.” Apparently, people besides me, “let greed masquerade as ambition.” And people besides me find that “self-righteous anger can be very enjoyable.” Drat, I was not singled out to write on Step Six because I am terminally unique. I am not a special case. I am not alone. The Sixth Step intimidates lots of people and so I have plenty of company. Hope continues to return and I read on that, “The only ur- gent thing is that we make a beginning, and keep trying.” That suggestion is very hopeful indeed. I understand living life a day at a time. I really do. Thank you, Grapevine editor. Thank you, Higher Power. Thank you, Fellow- ship of AA. I think that after going through all this “research,” maybe I can begin to include the Sixth Step in my life. It may make me bridle, but it beats being a jerk. George E. Vaillant, M.D. GRAPE_29-30.indd 30 4/21/11 4:06 PM