AA’s sixth and seventh steps can function for us alcoholics as a stripping-away process. This means that while we do spiritual work, God strips away our character defects. That, in turn, helps to restore our true selves. Recovery Dynamics® creator “Joe McQ.” illustrates this in a story about a rocking chair that had been abandoned in a building he bought.
The rocker was “a horrible-looking mess,” as he recalls, so he kept it in the attic. Now and then, someone would toss the chair in the dumpster, but Joe always retrieved it. One day, he stripped away thick black paint from the rocker and discovered beneath the mess that the chair was solid oak. That’s when Joe sought a professional to complete the restoration:
I took it to the upholstery shop. I asked the man there how much it would cost to put a nice white velvet bottom in it. He looked at it and said, ‘I’ll be glad to put it in there, but before I fix it, I’ll offer you three hundred and fifty [$350] for that chair.’ That beautiful, valuable workmanship was always there. It was there all the time! It was simply covered up. That chair has always been beautiful since the day the furniture maker made it. And that’s the way I am—and you are—with God’s life inside us. God made us this way—beautiful and valuable.
Like the rocking chair, over a period of years, I covered myself up with all sorts of things and made a big mess. The steps of this program have enabled me to uncover, discover and discard…. It’s not a program of getting anything. It’s a program of getting rid of things: uncovering, discovering and discarding.
The key is persistence. The bigger the mess that we alcoholics create, the longer change may take. Yet the Twenty-third Psalm promises that we can rest assured: God does restore our souls.
Copyright © 2009 by Randall E. Greene