Step Six


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."


Step Six Contents:

Introduction
Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4 and Questions for journaling


Step Navigator:


Step Five
Up
Index

Step Seven



 
 

Step Six ~ Introduction


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."



Hello to everyone on the loop. Thank you to Louise, the Step 5 coordinator, for her excellent work.

Today I will introduce myself and give questions for the first week.

I will happily, joyously say to you that the fellowship has saved my life, given it to me for the first time, and continues to save me from myself a day at a time. In this fellowship I was truly reborn. The gifts of the program are real and truly there for each of us. I came into these "rooms" in December 1980 and have not left them, attending meetings at least once a week, usually 2-3 times. I came into the fellowship because although everything was "right" in my life for the first time -- recently married, recently promoted, a new job, purchase of our first home -- I couldn't stop compulsively overeating. I started picking fights with my husband but he would not join, being a peace-loving man. Not wanting to ruin our new life and desperate to stop overeating and to lose weight, I went to my first meeting. The sense of relief was incredible -- a place for me at last! I was truly home. The program and fellowship remain home to me today. Because of this and the 12 steps and traditions and the tools, I also have a real home with my husband and our two fantastic teen daughters. And I have a deep spiritual home with my Higher Power.
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 1


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."



This year I have especially been working step 6. There are so many levels to this simple yet incredibly rich Program. For a long time, I didn't see why steps 4 and 5, 6 and 7, and 8 and 9 were separate steps and not combined into three steps. They seemed so close in concept. I have since realized that one must ready oneself inwardly (in 4,6,8) before taking the outward step (5,7,9). Each step separately is necessary. I have worked all 12 steps many times over the past nearly 20 years. Yet each step works me at a deep level in the Higher Power's time, not mine. Right now, in my life, actually since late last summer, Step 6 is working me, which is why I asked to be coordinator for this step. I retired from 32 years of work just over 2 years ago. This freed me to spend much more time with my daughters, then 11 and 13, and to explore writing fiction, a lifelong dream, as well as to be wife and homemaker more fully than time permitted before.

But I took my same obsessed, compulsive self with me into this new life and soon got over involved in volunteer work and other activities. My health also began to undergo severe challenges. Last fall I had three surgeries for a continually detaching retina in my left eye. The eye is still not healed and may require two more surgeries this year. This led me to focus on character defects, especially fear and anxiety. My schedule was totally disrupted; I could not read, write, or drive for months. I am grateful to see anything at all through my left eye though and to be hopeful for more recovery of sight. By the time you read this, I will have had gall bladder surgery. The point of sharing this about my health is to say that I am finally becoming totally ready to have all my character defects removed, especially my fear and anxiety, which I think have been harmful to my health. To truly work step 6, I need to be ready from the inside out to have defects removed. As many are deeply ingrained, only HP can do this, but HP will do this only with my permission and willing consent.

I hope that many or all of you will have been able to complete step 5, aided by the thought-provoking questions and sharing from Louise. If you have not, I encourage you to read and think over the questions posed each week for step 5.
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 1: Questions


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."


In Steps 4 and 5, we learned that we have many defects of character, many traits that harm us in our relations with ourselves, other people, and our Higher Power. Hopefully, we have also discovered and listed our many assets, traits that help us in these relationships. Often, a character defect is an asset running wild or in the wrong direction. For example, a strong sense of justice can become self-righteousness or resentment at what seems unfair but may sometimes just be things not going our way. Kindness can turn to excessive people pleasing.

It is important to recognize that we can't get rid of our character defects on our own. This may take us some time and effort to recognize.

1. Do I believe I can overcome and remove my character defects by myself? Why or why not?

I used to think I could. That I could control these unwanted behaviors. Yet I came to see that some I was almost reveling in, such as my anger and temper, that I felt "alive" with them. I had to see the havoc such behaviors were creating, to learn how they hurt others and myself. Then I wanted them gone, overnight! But try as I might, I could not always prevent their jumping out of me, like the toads out of the bad princess' mouth.

2. Do I like certain of my character defects, find them useful or necessary? If so, which defects and why? What purpose do they serve?

My anger made me feel powerful; I used it as a weapon, to hurt, to keep people from getting too close. Sarcastic humor was also a weapon. Gossip was "fun," and a way of hurting the reputations of people I didn't like or who had done hurtful things to me; I didn't want to confront them directly.

3. If it is too daunting to consider living without what may seem to be protective character defects, can I be willing this week to consider what life might be like without one of them? More than one? Is it not knowing what I will be like without them that makes it hard to be ready to have them removed?

I have found that after becoming aware of, then really tired of, a defect I then become willing to let it be removed, and often to become entirely ready, I need to imagine my life without using anger as a common reaction, or fear, or resentment, for example. For a long time I thought spending that released energy in serenity or prayer would be boring, but have found this to be untrue. I was afraid that learning to speak up about my feelings and owning them would defeat me or make enemies of the people I was speaking to, but this has not happened. I also feared that having a healthier attitude, a more positive outlook would make my writing creativity evaporate, and, again, this has not happened; instead, thoughts have come to me readily, I seem to receive clearer direction from HP, who doesn't have to try to cut through all the sludge of negative thinking.

4. Ask yourself: Do I trust the process? Do I trust that Higher Power can and will remove my character defects in a loving, healing way?

My concept of Higher Power has been totally transformed in this Program. From a vengeful, angry, punishing, commanding God, my Higher Power has become a loving, kind, caring Being who wants to know my every thought, need, feeling, prayer, and is just that loving to my children, husband, friends. This Higher Power has infinite patience, is waiting to show me the many gifts and new ways for me to live once I am ready to have the defects removed.

More next week!

Many blessings, Athena
 
 

Up
Return to the top


Step Six ~ Part 2


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."



This week let's spend some time looking at barriers preventing us from being entirely ready.

1. Do I frequently sabotage my attempts to examine defects of character? so, why?

For myself, I can sabotage my attempts in many ways -- keeping busy; getting enthralled in a defect -- anger, say -- and letting it divert me from examination; thinking I don't have any serious defects, or that, after all these years in program, they're just little versions of themselves and not that bothersome after all, and, anyway, I only have "slips" in exercising them. I can say things to myself such as, well, I'm too old to change (forgetting it's Higher Power who does the changing), or that life is just too hard, or I've had several surgeries lately (three in a period of 5 weeks last fall), so I don't need to spend time examining any defects.

2. Do my character defects bother me enough to want to let them go?

Maybe I get away with pilfering pens or paper from the office, take more time at lunch than I'm entitled to and justify it because I have too much work to do, gossip about people I work with or about one friend to another, or continually get irritated with my children or husband and let them know every little thing that bothers me. But because I don't suffer major repercussions maybe I figure it's ok to keep on as I am.

Yet, these are still character defects, all ones I've experienced, and they still block me from receiving the full benefits of a transformed life possible through working the steps. I need to know that as long as I think I can "get away with something," or people will "keep forgiving me," I'm holding on to part of my sickness, I'm not willing to completely take step six.

Usually, in my experience, I have to have my nose rubbed often in a particular defect to be willing to work step six on it. I wish I could say I learn quickly and that, once recognizing a negative trait, I immediately ask my Higher Power to take it away. Often it is only out of real pain and discouragement that I finally say to Higher Power "here, it is yours; I can't handle it any more." And most likely I will need to do this many times on the same defect even after I have surrendered it, become entirely ready to have it removed. The hope is, though, that when I am working all the steps and am abstinent, my Higher Power does get through to me and I am freed from the compulsion of having to go through the behavior. I get that split second in which the inner voice of my Higher Power says, "think," or "do you really want to do that," or "try this instead."

3. Could I become willing to have a Higher Power control my behaviors, lovingly guide me to choose loving, life-giving behaviors? Can I imagine who I might be without the character defects that hold me back and get in my way?

Wow! This means I really have to trust that I have a loving Higher Power in the first place! Not an easy task for someone whose concept of God for most of my life was of a hard taskmaster, a cruel, revengeful God who punished often and for seemingly minor infractions. But my concept of God has been transformed in the rooms to a God of love, kindness, mercy, justice, and guidance. A God who cares greatly about me and wants the best for me and has many, many gifts for me, a God who knows what I would be without the character defects and who lovingly aches to transform me into what I was created to be. The more I am in these rooms, the more I believe that my Higher Power wants me to be a loving servant of myself and others, to carry the message of the program and to be that message in the particular form that is me, a form unique to each one of us, a form that is clouded and distorted by character defects, by compulsive overeating.

I hope that these questions are useful to you and aid in your journey with step six. See you next week!

Blessings, love, and light

Athena
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 2: Questions


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."


1. Do I frequently sabotage my attempts to examine defects of character? so, why?

2. Do my character defects bother me enough to want to let them go?

3. Could I become willing to have a Higher Power control my behaviors, lovingly guide me to choose loving, life-giving behaviors? Can I imagine who I might be without the character defects that hold me back and get in my way?
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 3


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."



Dear WTS Friends,

By now we may be getting ready to become entirely ready to have our character defects removed. Maybe we're glimpsing who we might be without them. Maybe it's an exciting prospect. This week, lets look more at who we might become.

1. When I was younger I fantasized future goals, qualities I wanted to be mine. How close am I to realizing them? What particular defects might be preventing me from achieving my goals? While these defects may have helped me deal with intolerable past situations, they may no longer be appropriate today.

I fervently believe that the steps can help me reach my goals, become who I dreamed of being so long ago. My addiction to food became a comfort when I continually failed to be the person I wanted to be, failed to have the loving relationships I so desperately wanted.

2. Now that I am beginning to live in freedom from compulsive overeating, do I start to see that I can live out my dearest dreams and receive more, much more waiting to be given to me by my Higher Power? Am I willing to trust that, just as Higher Power can and does and will relieve my compulsive overating, so can Higher Power remove my character defects? Am I beginning to see the grandeur of Higher Power's plan for my life?

Often, in my daily meditations ( I now use healing tapes and earphones) I catch glimpses of the riches that can be mine, the new visions, the new ideas, the guidance always available, the healing creativity I can tap into. I am also beginning to accept that life in its complexity means difficulties as well as blessings, that the medical conditions I have can be stumbling blocks or opportunities for healing and for greater compassion for those I meet with the same conditions. I am beginning to lose some of the need to know why things happen as they do in my life, and to simply get on with it more and more and to trust that Higher Power will love and guide me.

3. Do I recognize that it is in Higher Power's time, not mine, to remove my defects? That most likely it will not happen overnight?

Yes, though this often takes prayer, a sense of humor, and patience! I did not gain the weight or the defects overnight, so why do I think they will leave me overnight?

4. Am I willing to do the recovery work that makes me receptive to Higher Power's guidance?

For me, this means being abstinent, working especially steps 10 through 12 each day, knowing the importance of working all the steps as the need arises, not just the first three or the first five. It also means using each of the tools -- writing, meetings, phone calls, service, and the others.

Blessings, love, and light

Athena
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 3: Questions


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."


1. When I was younger I fantasized future goals, qualities I wanted to be mine. How close am I to realizing them? What particular defects might be preventing me from achieving my goals? While these defects may have helped me deal with intolerable past situations, they may no longer be appropriate today.

2. Now that I am beginning to live in freedom from compulsive overeating, do I start to see that I can live out my dearest dreams and receive more, much more waiting to be given to me by my Higher Power? Am I willing to trust that, just as Higher Power can and does and will relieve my compulsive overating, so can Higher Power remove my character defects? Am I beginning to see the grandeur of Higher Power's plan for my life?

3. Do I recognize that it is in Higher Power's time, not mine, to remove my defects? That most likely it will not happen overnight?

4. Am I willing to do the recovery work that makes me receptive to Higher Power's guidance?
 
 

Up
Return to the top


Step Six ~ Part 4


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."



Hello everyone,

Well, this is our last week on Step 6, and I hope everyone who's participated has gained insights and healing. I've been honored to be your "questioner" for this month. Through this and other program work, I've learned that my biggest, most fundamental character defects are fear and anxiety, and that it is truly time to give them up. I've been shown more and more how much they affect not only me but those I live with and those I might be helpful to but was held back by the fear/anxiety. So I have become entirely willing to let them go and I know that only Higher Power can do that for me. I heard somewhere that what happens after we know we are becoming entirely ready is that we will then be given the "opportunity/challenge" to face these character defects again and again, and to choose new behaviors. I will try to remember that when I get upset that these situations are arising for me. At least one such instance this morning was when my nearly 16 year old daughter drove us to her doctor's office and then to work. I felt fear rise that she would be too tired to drive and wanted to do the driving. But she said she was ok (she'd been overnite at a friend's and up late the night before) and I chose to let go my defect and to believe her. As we drove, I kept feeling the fear rise and kept turning it over with steps 7 and 3 and 11 all working at once! We got to her workplace just fine!

Here are the last week's questions.

1. Am I willing to change, to be changed, the essence of step six? Am I willing not to cling to the past, not to chose past behaviors, to be instead like a pioneer, a voyager in inner space?

As a young person my favorite people in U.S. history were the pioneers. They had to forge new trails and make new lives out West, very different from their lives before. I also am a real scifi freak and love to voyage in inner and outer space. But it's taken me a good while to learn that through the Program I am truly a pioneer in forging the trails of my own life, and a voyager in my own inner/outer space. The good news is that there are many many people trudging the path of happy destiny along with me, have I the eyes to see them and the ears to hear, and that my Higher Power is clearly beside me always on every path. It's really hard sometimes for me to accept change, whether within myself or externally, like my daughters' getting older and moving more out on their own, like knowing my husband is mortal and could get sick and could die, like knowing I can.

2. As we move toward the end of this month's focus on step 6, where are we now? Are we entirely ready to have God remove all our character defects? If not, what blocks us today, right now?

For me, lack of trust in my Higher Power, wanting to control my life and other people's, wanting things my way, having trouble with change, with unknowing, with the transition periods between the "old me" and the "newer me." It helps to remember that this step asks that I be entirely ready and not until step seven do I ask for the character defects to be removed. Not everything is expected of me at once. The steps are separate for a reason.

3. Do I recognise and accept the value of trying to achieve the perfection implied in this step? Of realizing God is a power greater than I am who can remove my defects each day, yet will not unless asked?

I think it will take my whole life to achieve the perfection, that the perfection (which means wholeness) will not be achieved until I am "translated" (until I die to this world). But it is a worthy goal. When I realize God is infinitely greater and yet cares for me individually, I live in peace and serenity and I can trust that having my defects removed will better enable me to give my gifts and to receive the gifts of others and of my Higher Power.

Blessings, light, and peace to us all,

Athena
 
 

Up
Return to the top

Step Six ~ Part 4: Questions


"Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."


1. Am I willing to change, to be changed, the essence of step six? Am I willing not to cling to the past, not to chose past behaviors, to be instead like a pioneer, a voyager in inner space?

2. As we move toward the end of this month's focus on step 6, where are we now? Are we entirely ready to have God remove all our character defects? If not, what blocks us today, right now?

3. Do I recognise and accept the value of trying to achieve the perfection implied in this step? Of realizing God is a power greater than I am who can remove my defects each day, yet will not unless asked?
 
 

Up
Return to the top


 
 
 
 

Step Navigator:


Step Five
Up
Index

Step Seven



 

Flowers

WTS Recovery E-mail

Copyright © 1998, The RECOVERY Group