Step Six

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


Hello, My name is Dodee and I'm still a compulsive eater.

I told you in the introduction that I had read about the 5th Step in the OA 12 x 12 when it was first published and that it made me want to get totally honest with another person and to be unconditionally accepted -- defects and all.

The whole time I was working on all the questions in the 4th Step, I knew who I was going to ask. I went through and did the organization so that I felt I knew my defects and got ready to do the 5th. We set a date and then I got a call. She had sciatica, was in intense pain and mostly was living flat on her back on her couch. For the first few weeks, I moved the appointment I had for the room we were going to use and then finally just decided that she would tell me when she was ready to hear it. It was about 3 months from the time I was ready until she could hear it.

So we got together and she asked how and what I was doing. I started talking about my 8th Step list and making some amends and she said "oh, that's wonderful! You've already finished the sixth and seventh steps?!! I just stared. I had forgotten to do them.

I've always known that I preferred action. I didn't like those steps that are internal.

Last night I read again the 6th Step in the AA and OA 12 x 12s. I wish we could just sit down and read them together.

One of my friends thought the words "entirely" and "all" just fed into her black and white thinking. If she couldn't be entirely ready about all her faults, she might as well not do it.

The AA 12 x 12 explains the use of these words. I must have read it before, but last night I "got" it again.

It says that we first have the obsession and compulsion for food removed. When we have witnessed this miracle in ourselves, it gives us hope that all of our defects can be removed in the same manner.

The AA 12 x 12 also says that most of our defects are natural instincts that far exceed their natural purpose. They drive us or we look for satisfaction "than are possible or due us."

The text goes through many instincts and then relates the defect that results when we overdo it.

My favorite saying in there is "procrastination is just a five syllable word for "sloth."

It says we know that we will never totally be able to have all of our defects removed -- we would be perfect if they were. But we have to be willing to work toward that ideal. If we are holding back and making excuses, "rebellion may be fatal."

The OA 12 x 12 makes some of the same points, but suggests a valuable exercise. It suggests that we look at each of our defects and write down what purpose it served. Write about what we get out of them.

For instance I used to spend a great amount of time fantasizing. When doing the 6th Step exercise, I started paying attention to the way fantasizing made me feel. I would dream of doing or buying something and I would feel excitement -- almost high.

What does the defect do TO me? Obviously, I was wasting time -- often while being paid to do a job -- and at the end of the day, I was filled with remorse over time wasted.

Then look at your life now and outline how your life would be better if you no longer had the defect. One of the first tools I used to do this is visualization (oh a good use of fantasy!!). I pictured what my life would be like without the defect. When I thought of doing everything as it was presented to me instead of procrastinating, I felt panicked. It was the same kind of terror I felt when someone suggested giving up my drugs of choice. So that suggests to me that some of my defects are addictive.

The last part in the OA 12 x 12 says that some of us forget that we cannot remove our own defects. We need to be willing, but only HP can do the removal.

We are powerless over our defects of character, just as we are powerless over food. Whenever I realize that I am powerless over something, I know that I need to use the first 3 steps on it. I am powerless over xxx, I have a HP who is not powerless, I am willing to turn xxx over to that Power.

One of the most effective uses of this method has been in my own thinking. I believe that negative self-talk is one of the most harmful defects we have. When I hear myself start to say bad things to me, I tell my HP "I will turn it over to You because I am powerless over that thinking, but You are not." Another example is if I've had an argument with someone. I start "I'll say -- he said -- I should have said" and it takes up residence in my head. When I realize what I'm doing, I turn it over to my HP and say to myself "you can think of this argument again at noon. See if you can think rationally then." Each time the thoughts come back, I refuse to entertain them.

So here we are at the end of another set of steps. In the 4th Step, we need to stay focused on our inventories and not on giving it away. On the 8th Step, we need to be making our list and not worrying about making amends.

Why do we have a whole step for getting ready? I think this step is where the work is done. Being willing and getting ready.


1. Have you witnessed the removal of any defects of character -- like compulsive eating?

2. Do you act as if you believe your other defects can be removed?

3. What natural instincts are at the base of your defects?

4. How have you taken them to the extreme so that they became defects?

5. What purpose did your defect serve for you?

6. What has practicing your defect done to you?

7. Are you willing to picture your life without each defect? What will it be like?

8. Do you see that holding back any part of your defects stops your HP from removing them?

9. Are you trying to remove them yourself, or are you asking your HP to give you the Power to use instincts in the way they were intended?

10. Are you willing to have all of your defects removed -- one step at a time?

Step Five

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