Step Six


"Were entirely ready to have God remove 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

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Step Six ~ Introduction

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



Dear WTS Loop Members ~

Once upon a time, I began to eat compulsively as a means of survival. For a time, this seemed to work. Along with my eating disorder I developed other traits of character that enabled me to stay comfortably in my disease. Many people tell about stealing food or money for it. They tell of eating garbage or spoiled food when nothing else was available. I became dishonest, furtive, and secretive. Denial was deep enough to cover all these things with a cloak of rationalizations many yards thick. My relationships were not only affected by my defects, but also by the cloudy mind I brought to the table with me.

One day I reached my own personal bottom, and realized that I had to turn my life over to a power greater than myself if I wanted to recover from my illness. That was hard enough. But having done that, I had to do a moral inventory and make amends to others I had harmed. How hard that was for me! But then in Step Six I was asked to become ready to have God remove the defects of character I had acquired as a part of my disease system. It was not enough to pay back a debt of stolen money. I had to become honest, the sort of person who would never do such a thing again. If giving up the eating was hard, if making amends was hard, now I had to let go of all the things that up until now had been "me."

That was not going to be easy. How could I live my life without these old friends, destructive as they may have been?




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Step Six ~ Part 1

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



For me, "Being ready" meant that I couldn't just say, OK, let's change, as I might change a coat. The first thing was to overcome the denial that had masked the reality of myself from me. I was like the fellow who wasn't convinced he was an alcoholic. But he had convinced everybody else in town. I had to listen to my higher self, to others who, despite all, still loved me. And I had to come to terms with the realities I now faced.

The step presented me with a difficulty. I could get all revved up to be ready to get rid of these defects, but then I had to wait and let HP do it! Hurry up and wait! What a stress that was. And I didn't deal with stress very well.

Liars are never doing something wrong, something that cannot be justified, either by the need to escape consequences (Who ate the rest of the pie? Not I.), or else to "protect" others from some horrific reality (so I would eat in secret so nobody would know). Perhaps it would be enough to change my behavior, still keeping the old ways under wraps, just in case. It might be easier. But that is not what "entirely" means, is it? No, I must go all the way, and remove these defects even before acquiring other skills of living that would serve in a recovering life.

Sincerly,
Ivan J.







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Step Six ~ Part 1: Questions

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





1. How do I become "entirely" ready? What is meant by this?

2. How do you see this seeming contradiction of being ready "to do" something and "waiting for HP to do it"? Is it real for you also?

3. Do you feel that your defects are necessary to your existence?








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Step Six ~ Part 2

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



Hello to all, Ellen again, your Step Leader for Step Six.

In the first part I have already mentioned some of the major defects I found. The main defect for me was keeping secrets. Secrets encompassed a large part of my life, for I grew up in an alcoholic family system. Letting go of secrets would cover a multitude of my other defects, for they would not work well in daylight. But the secrets were many, and the lessons about keeping them were something I received in my mother's milk. What is life like without secrets? Recently my (adult) daughter told me some information about some plans she and her husband had for their future. She was speaking somewhat in a confidential manner. Later, she started to tell her mother, my wife, and asked if I had already told her. My wife said no, of course not. "That's Daddy," she said, "You can always trust him to keep a secret. That's one reason why he's so easy to talk to." Well, at that point I knew the defect of keeping secrets had now become the asset of keeping secrets. Removal was from the wrong place to the right place.

I used to be something of a "rageaholic." After many years of work, I have become noted for being usually rather sweet tempered. Anger is an emotion which I fear ever so much less than before, and I can admit it and deal with it. When anger is informing me that I have suffered a boundary violation, I can use it to fuel an appropriate action, without rage. Anger is OK, but I have never found any use for rage at all. So there are some defects that I can recycle into something else that is good or useful, and some that just need to be deep sixed.

Sincerely, Ivan J.






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Step Six ~ Part 2: Questions

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


1. What are my major defects that I can see? How have they played themselves out in my life? If they were to be removed, how might it be with me?

2. Can I make a list of my other defects? Do they, too, need a new location, or do they need to be done away with altogether.





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Step Six ~ Part 3

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




Dear Loopies ~

Whenever we see the word "God" in the Steps or in our literature, we know that we are not dealing with some dogmatic or religious statement. The term refers to a power greater than ourselves, to the God of our understanding. In the first steps we often had to fire our old God and find a new understanding that would work for us here. Even non-believers could find a way to understand the term as used here.

Yet this God is indeed powerful. S/he could bring me into a state of recovery and keep me there one day at a time for as long as I remained willing. Now I must ask this God to make profound changes in my very character, changes that I myself had never been able to accomplish.

There were so many things I did not trust, that I had to come to trust. Here I am, asking the God of my understanding to do major surgery on my psyche. Where did s/he get the training for this? How much experience does s/he have? Surely I deserved to have this information before going in. The answer came to me that the God who could stop my compulsive eating in its tracks and keep me in recovery just might have the power to do other things as well.

As ever, there is a spiritual side to the steps. If in the beginning I found for myself a God who could do for me what I needed to have done for me, now I needed to move closer in spirit to this Higher Power. I needed to form a relationship of trust with my God. And having done so, I could begin to trust God to do for me what I needed here.

We say that the essence of the first steps is, "I can't, God can, therefore I will let God." Now we have to let go and let God again. Letting go is the spiritual key to all recovery. Some would call this "surrender." Whatever. Each of my defects in turn has to be given up to my Higher Power, surrendered, so that it can be removed or transformed according to God's good will for me. Each time there is a new experience in the power of God to transform my life if I will but allow the miracle to be done.

Each time I let go and let God I learn a new pattern of living that is so very different from my old way of doing. As denial, lying, stealing, secretiveness, distrust, rage, jealousy, and a host of others are given over, the recurring miracle of recovery is granted anew. But now there is a new thing: The serenity I gained in the early steps is now used to see me through this time when I am moving into the Promises even further. I am at last beginning to learn how to live!

Sincerely,
Ivan J.






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Step Six ~ Part 3: Questions

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



1. What do I need to do to realize that I can have a Higher Power who can remove my defects of character?

2. As indicated above, trust is a major key in getting through Step Six. Most of my life I had developed a deep mistrust of God, among others. Where had God been in the time of my tribulations? Why should I let God (or anybody) get that close to me? Life had taught me that this was dangerous. How can I trust that God can do this, will do this, and will not harm me in the process?

3. How does the process of removing character defects utilize the spiritual process of the first three steps?

4. When I allow God to do these things, how does it reinforce my abstinence and recovery?





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Step Six ~ Part 4

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




The next step is an action step, in that I then ask God to remove these shortcomings. The Sixth Step is an inward step, a step for getting ready, entirely ready, for something to happen.

I have lived as I have lived, in my disease. Even though abstinence has come, I still do not know what it is like to live a life in which the Promises are a reality. Now, more than ever, I need program, meetings, and a sponsor. With these tools I can see the results in the lives of others. I am not alone, and I have some good examples before me.

Something I want very deeply. I see them walk away from fruitless arguments. I see them give up anger and grudges. I see them with a serenity that is more than I have yet known. I note their scrupulous honesty and willingness to admit a wrong. I see them as spiritually connected people, and I see them as healthier people than most I know.

I think I am ready. I note that this is not a step of self change. I cannot do what needs to be done here. And if I do not get through this step, I will surely not continue in recovery, for I need to do all the steps – none is optional. What I cannot do for myself, I believe my Higher Power can do for me, and I am ready for that to happen.

Sincerely,
Ivan J.






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Step Six ~ Part 4: Questions

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



1. How can I be ready for Step 6 when I don't even know what it's going to be like?

2. What do I see when I look at program people?

3. Do I believe that I can have this same experience and character myself?

4. Am I finally willing to let God change me?




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