Step Six

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

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Step Six Essay

The key to accomplishing Step Six successfully is having a "willingness to change." For tis here that we are being asked to let go of the old in order to make way for the new. The person who walked in through the doors of OA cannot be the same person who walks out in a life of recovery.

This is where all the defense mechanisms we instinctively installed to help us deal and detach from the "cruel" world around us are stripped away, and new and healthier ways of living in and as part of the world are adopted with the help of God.

At first glance this step seems to be the answer to all our problems and who amongst us are not willing to rid ourselves of the complications in our lives! However, many have found that they end up visiting this step again since what they tried to do was ask God to remove the difficulties that their defects have caused whilst retaining the character defects themselves.

Some may feel fearful of letting go of the old and familiar ways; after all these were our companions for years and fortified us against our adversaries. Others may feel fear in case they are left empty without anything to call upon in times of trouble. Yet more may fear the idea of change - at times our coping mechanisms were all we had - feeling that asking God to remove them will leave us kind of vulnerable! Some may argue, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks!" A few may feel that it is our character that makes us who we are!

Whilst the honest amongst us may admit that there is a rush of adrenaline when we plot and manipulate those around us. We may even go as far as to admit that our defects of character have caused others pain and the rush of excitement as gossip affords us an important position within "our crowd." After all a few "white lies" here and there can't hurt, can they? Others may maintain that, "we can't be perfect!"

The wording of Step Six is precise and well constructed as to leave the studious and conscientious amongst us with no doubt. "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." There is no hanging on to the choicest bits, no giving part of ourselves, no retaining the old ways for posterity.

There is a temptation, having decided that we are willing to do step six "entirely," that it is our job to roll up our sleeves and wade into the mire of character defects and flush out the old and well-rehearsed behaviours. In our attempts to cleanse ourselves we may try to replace selfishness with generosity, substitute a controlling nature with submissiveness and promise ourselves never to get angry ever again. However valiant our attempts may seem, we will find that the more we try to rid ourselves of the character defects, the more the defects themselves control us. Having summonsed the courage to take step six, taken a deep breath and attempted to let go of our past and build a future, in our eagerness to get this ordeal over and done with as quickly as possible, we have overlooked one small but significant detail in the wording of the step, which is that tis God we should seek for a release. Once again we are reminded of our powerlessness and prompted to seek the one who is far more capable then we... God!

Having in previous steps acknowledged our insanity, acknowledged our powerlessness and turned our lives over to the God of our understanding, we are now in step six being urged to look to God once more for His wisdom in cleansing our character.

Unfortunately this doesn't happen over night. However, this doesn't mean we can continue to behave as we did until God removes the character defects. We may not be aware of all of our shortfalls right away and some may be brought to us by way of important and respected people in our lives. God may choose to prick our conscience one day about a behaviour we were previously oblivious to. The process is slow, there is no timetable, and, in fact, in taking this step we are committing ourselves to a "lifetime of growth and change," and intricately spun throughout all of this is the thread of willingness to change.

May God Be With You
May God Bless You



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