What Is Step 6?
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
What Is the Purpose of This Step?
Become fully prepared to rid yourself of the flaws you listed in Step 4.
This step reveals character and your true willingness to recover.
How Do You Complete This Step?
- Be willing to work with your higher power to remove your defects.
- Acknowledge that ridding yourself of your desire to drink and your other defects is a lifelong job.
- Stop pursuing whatever your idea of perfection is. You will never be happy if you aim for such an ideal.
What Are Some Tips for Completing Step 6?
- Don't beat yourself up if you can't conquer all your defects immediately or even over a longer period of time.
- You're a work in progress. Be happy about your success so far and celebrate each little victory.
- Keep an open mind and a positive attitude throughout your journey.
What Are Some Myths About This Step?
- God has to refer to the Christian God. This is a big misconception about Alcoholics Anonymous and one that causes some people to avoid meetings. God can refer to any higher power you believe in; AA doesn't require that you believe in any specific God. What matters is that you maintain a positive attitude and faith in your higher power.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1981). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Available at: www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step6.pdf
Perspectives on Step 6
By Dominica A.
Step 6 is an important step in recovery for several reasons.
It is an open invitation to partner with our Higher Power and make a firm decision to let go of the character defects or flaws that have been in control for years. Step 6 is the "getting ready for removal" step—the step that can bring noticeable change when it comes to our thought patterns and behaviors.
Trying to Remove My Defects on My Own
I tried removing my shortcomings, flaws, and defects for years. I would vow to myself to be less angry, shameful, resentful, jealous, irrational, and so on. I would determine to stop behaviors that got me feeling pretty awful.
Problem is, I never dug underneath the surface to see what was fueling these shortcomings. As I completed the fourth and fifth steps, plenty of things got revealed to me, and then I was ready to relinquish control and allow my Higher Power to cut these attitudes and behaviors at the root.
I learned that many of my attitudes and behaviors stemmed from programming I picked up in childhood. My unconscious program was influencing my conscious choices, sort of like a CD in a player.
I wanted to take that CD out and smash it. But for years I didn't even realize it was there. With the help of my Higher Power, I was able to take that CD out and put in a brand new CD that brings life, peace, and joy to my life.
In other words, I surrendered. I hoisted the white flag.
One Day at a Time
Am I perfect now? Not a chance.
Sometimes I revert back to my old ways or a shortcoming will flare. But when I consciously take time to review the 12 steps, I continue to grow and become stronger. As I work through the steps, I acquire amazing things such as faith, courage, openness, hope, and a willingness to continue molding myself into the person I am meant to be.
I remember that it's progress I'm after—not perfection!
My advice as you approach Step 6 is to think about how far you've come.
You're no longer drinking or drugging.
You've courageously worked through five steps.
You've opened yourself up to a Higher Power, inviting positive change into your life.
Allow Step 6 to nudge you into letting go of your shortcomings and character defects.
You have guilt? Let it go. Free yourself.
Are you angry? Give it to your Higher Power.
Trust that your Higher Power can take and remove for good the things you don't want or need.
Why? Because freedom, peace, and joy are available. You don't have to be imprisoned in your past, old childhood programming, negative emotions, and so on.
The 12 steps lead men and women to a greater amount of peace, freedom, and joy. Do your best to consistently and honestly work them.
Dominica A. has a love for the 12 steps, as working through them several times has helped her steer clear of addictions and grow personally and spiritually.
She is committed to living out the 12-step philosophy and sharing the message of hope to those still suffering in addiction—and to those in recovery as well.
Dominica has attended both Alcoholics Anonymous and Codependents Anonymous meetings over the years and appreciates the support she's received. She's got a deep-rooted passion for helping others heal emotional pain and trauma, as her own journey through love addiction has served as a catalyst for her own healing and transformation.
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