Sixth Step: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects
"This is the Step that separates the men from the boys." (AA 12x12 pg.63 )
And so begins Step Six.
I came to understand that I have to be entirely ready in order to have any of my (many) defects removed. This step is one that is taken repeatedly and not just one time. For now, we want to let go of our grosser handicaps and if we look over our Fourth Step thoughtfully, we will be able to see the character defects that were our motivating force as well as the defects that arose from what happened to us. Yesterday's life saving attitudes and actions are no longer appropriate or necessary in our abstinent, grown-up world of today.
It is important for us to list, along with our defects, the many assets of our personality as well. Balance is always important. We don't want to fall into morbidity, that would just be another defect we would have to let go of. :o)
As I looked over my fourth Step I could easily see where I was selfish, self-centered, fearful and such. But when looking over my Fourth Step in order to better understand my Sixth Step, I also held in mind the "Seven Deadly Sins. - "pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. - And then of course, procrastination, gossip, feelings of being better than (although secretly so)... all of these things have to go. I remember that white lies are still lies and that self righteous anger is still anger and perhaps even worse because I can easily get into justifying what is wrong.
I must also remember not to use the program as being about progress and not perfection as an excuse to hold on to any of the above. It surprised me to read that the Sixth Step was our first step toward perfection. I realized that I may not reach perfection in this life time, but it is, in the end, the goal. I am never hard on myself, as long as I know I am trying. I have willingness to progress toward perfection and that is what is needed. As I grow I become more and more willing and even eager to let go of my character defects. But I have to raise the veil of ignorance, get out of denial and do my best to show my willingness in actions that I take (or don't take for that matter).
It took me a bit of time to become completely honest with myself in the 6th step, so that I have held on to defects certainly much longer than necessary. My thinking was: "but this is not so bad!" The trouble with that is it's not a question of bad or good, it is a question of moving forward or getting stuck in ignorance and self defeating behavior and attitudes.
I can honestly say that procrastination is a defect that I finally gave to God and I can't begin to tell you how much I get done now. It isn't that the thought to procrastinate doesn't come up....but it never wins out anymore. What I do now is make sure that I have an honest appraisal of what I can do and I make my schedule such that it is do-able. I have learned a lot and my H.P. has helped me every step of the way. I was also a temper tantrum taker....and that defect has been completely lifted. Thank goodness!. but I remember being ready to let it go, and so I know what the feeling of readiness is like, and when I am ready for the others to be lifted, I have no doubt that they will be. I know how it works, now it is up to me to work it.
Remember we are as powerless over our defects as we are over food, it is our Higher Power that will take them from us, our part is to become ready.....entirely ready.
Remember that being hard on ourselves is also a character defect, our defects will be removed if we are entirely ready but it will not happen overnight. Today I am okay with being human....I accept my humanity and from there all things are possible, one day at a time, slowly but surely over time.
Step Six Questions:
1) I write down my defects with examples so that
as they manifest in my thinking and behavior, I recognize what is
happening and change my attitude and/or behavior to show my H.P.
that I am entirely ready. Would this be a helpful thing for you to do?
2) Are you able to list your defects with compassion so that the
willingness will spring forward unobstructed by guilt or self hate.
3) I was very surprised when doing my 6th Step to realize that I was a
jealous person. Did you have any surprises?
4) Please list some of your assets.
5) What 4 things are you grateful for at this time in your recovery.
All my love,
"Watch water drop onto the rock beneath it.
One drop does nothing, but many drops
over time create a hole in the rock.
Such is the power of PATIENCE."