STEP SIX

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







Essay

Set Aside Prayer

"God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"


After writing and sharing our fourth step (completing steps 4 and 5), we need to go further still. On page 76, we find the directions for steps 6 and 7. In step 6 it says that ĎWe were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character." (There is a very important direction associated with Step Six in the Big Book which is often missed. It says that "if we still cling to a defect we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing." So if there is a shortcoming that we are not willing to ask God to help us with, we pray for the willingness until it comes. This should not stop us from going on to Step Seven with the shortcomings we are willing to ask Him to help us with.


The difference between saying Iím entirely ready and being entirely ready is the core of why so many people don't make it through the steps. So, I'll say a quote that so often comes to mind when dealing with this. "Words are Cheap!" This program is one of action. Anyone can say anything: it's the person's actions that will dictate whether they are being entirely ready.


If we end up clinging onto our shortcomings like precious stones, we'll never let them go no matter how much we say we will. An analogy that one of my sponsors once gave me went something like this: Suppose you want to be struck by lightening. If the storm comes and you run and hide deep in a hole, the likelihood of you being struck by lightening is probably zero. However, if you run to the highest mountain with a golf club wielding it into the storm as high as you can, your chances have gone up dramatically.


Going to any lengths means you are ready for a change and we rely on God to help us. Sometimes these changes happen overnight without seemingly a lot of effort. Sometimes God wishes for us to do more. I'm always blessed when I do more and am open to it.

Discussion

Can we remove our own defects?

If we could have removed these defects, I believe that we would have removed them ourselves. They are a manifestation of my unmanageable life. Iím powerless over them and only God can remove them.


Although there isnít much written in the Big Book about steps 6 and 7, there is discussion about the essence of these steps in the previous chapters without mentioning their names. Our unmanageable life, our agnosticism, our need for God in our life, the way we deal with resentments and fears in step four, they are all parts of step six and seven.

Ready VS Willing

To be entirely ready, means that weíve done steps 1-5 and doing that work has made us ready to have God remove them.



However, we may not be willing. Being ready and willing are different. For example, you can get yourself ready to go to the store in the morning by taking a shower, brushing your teeth, dressing, eating breakfast, etc... However, if someone calls and invites us to the beach, we go with them instead. We lost our willingness to go to the store. We did all that work to go to the store, and then lost willingness to go. Without willingness, we will never go.



Our willingness then becomes the most fragile aspect of our recovery. On page 76 in the Big Book it says "We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable." We need this in order to continue through the steps. As we become ready for each step, we have to maintain our willingness to continue through them or weíll stop half way through and slip back to where we were before.



Although we think we are ready and willing to have God remove our defects, we may find that itís a little harder than we think. Somehow we cling to some of our defects and donítí understand why. The following, is a way of helping us understand our defects better.


Defects VS Assets

Many of our defects end up being Assets that have become twisted from our own self will. We donít want to let go of the asset part, but we use this asset and twist it at times and that causes a block to our HP.



After working steps four and five, weíve become more aware of our defects. The main defects were resentments, root fears, selfishness, dishonesty, self-seeking, and being inconsiderate. To these we added related defects that we became aware of when we considered our part.



To understand our defects better we can create a table that shows these types of defects. The following table is an example of such a table. We can look at a thesaurus for antonyms for those defects weíre having difficulty finding the asset to.



ASSETS-Attributes and characteristics of God's Will

CHARACTER DEFECTS-Attributes and characteristics of Self Will

Forgiveness, acceptance
resentment
faith, courage
root fears (specify)
altruism, interest in others
selfishness
considerate, unselfish
self-seeking
honesty
dishonesty
being considerate
being inconsiderate
humility, seeking to do God's will
false pride
Giving, sharing
greed
Contentment, generosity, being grateful for what I have got
envy
taking action
procrastination
moderate eating
overeating
self acceptance
self-criticism
minding my own business
gossiping
acceptance, self-forgiveness
guilt
accepting, minding my own business
being controlling
trust
jealousy
patience
impatience
tolerance
intolerance
gratefulness for what I have got
self-pity
humility
self-justification


All of these defects, liabilities, when balanced become assets. However, there are character defects that are just that and not assets driven to extremes by our self will run riot. Examples could include stealing, lying, etc...





Defensive Behaviors and Vulnerabilities

There is another type of defect that is very difficult to let go of. These are specific for each person and have a various array of answers for why they have them. When we list our defects and think about them as how they have benefited us or been useful to us, we can see why we are having difficulty letting them go.

When we find these that we can see have benefit to us, we can label these as defensive behaviors. For example, an abused child who lies all the time in order to avoid being abused. He learned to use lying as a survival tool. It is useful and has benefits. After he grows up he may still feel vulnerable inside and use lying as a defense mechanism. The benefit maybe imaginary, but because his feelings of vulnerability are real to him, he still uses it.

We donít let go of our defensive behaviors as long as it defends an inside feeling of vulnerability. As long as I see or feel the benefits of it, I will not let it go. So, even if I say that I am willing to let God remove it, I know that I wonít let him. So, I need to become willing to have God remove my feeling of vulnerability and then there will be no need for my defense mechanism.

Step six is about awareness and willingness to have God remove the things that block us from him. First we have to identify those blocks using steps four and five. Then we become willing to let God remove them. We have to stop clinging to them to be really ready to turn to God in step seven.

After discussing our defects and dividing them into different groups we can ask the willingness questions more specifically. Am I willing to let God balance my twisted assets? Am I willing to let God remove my vulnerabilities? So, I will not need my defensive behaviors? Am I willing to let God remove my other defects? I think that dividing the defects in such a manner helps us remove the need to just cling to some of them, and gives our saying that we are willing a real meaning.


Assignments:

The assignments here are to help you understand and identify defects that are more difficult to let go of. Iíve been asked many times by sponsees why they still have these defects. I have them do these assignments. I also try to help them understand why God wonít take them away. God will never force something away from us that we cling to for dear life.


Iíve included the table mentioned in the assignments below. Make as many row additions or copies as you need to work through your character defects. You donít need to share with the loop all your work on your defects. But you can share one perhaps two character defects or whatever you found that benefited you working through this assignment.


Go over your entire written step four inventory. Copy all your character defects that appear in Defects Assets section under Character Defects.


Now fill out the second column heading for balanced ASSETS for those defects that you can identify as a twisted asset. Not all will be twisted assets.


Go over your defects and fill out the table where you check the following questions. Do you identify fears behind every defect? Do you identify the unmanageability? Do you identify the agnosticism? Do you realize that those defects can lead you straight back to part one of step one, to active obsession and bingeing?


In the section for Defects Benefits Harm, in the column Benefits and Usefulness write down the benefits and usefulness whenever you feel that a defect has them. Not all defects have benefits or usefulness. There may be some of you who will not see any benefits or usefulness in any of their defects. THAT IS OK.


In the column HARM and DAMAGE, write down the harm and damage that you feel each defect is causing you marked as having benefits and usefulness. Here you may feel that some defects especially if they are useful or benefiting don't cause you any harm or damage, and THAT IS OK TOO.


In the Table section "Defenses Vulnerabilities" check those character defects that you think have are being used as a defense mechanism.


The column headed VULNARABILITIES list the vulnerabilities that you try to protect with your defensive behaviors. The vulnerabilities may be some of the seven parts of self or some of the five basic emotions (self trust, self love (self acceptance), self commitment, motivation, Integrity), or some other vulnerabilities. When writing expand on how those vulnerabilities affect your life.


Quoting from page 76: "We emphasized willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all - every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing." After discussing our character defects and dividing them into different groups, we can ask the following questions: Am I willing to let God balance ALL my twisted assets? Am I willing to let God remove ALL my vulnerabilities, so that I will not need my defensive behaviors? Am I willing to let God remove ALL my other defects?



If we answer YES to those three questions we are ready for step seven. If even now there are some reservation we have to pray for willingness every day till it comes. Here is a step six prayer: 6th step prayer God, I now see what has blocked me from the sunlight of the Spirit, God; please help me to be willing to let go of the things in myself ______________, that block me from you.



Pray everyday and many times a day till you have no reservations and are ready for step seven.





STEP 6 Assignment Table

Character Defects

BALANCED ASSETS-Attributes and characteristics of God's Will (not all defects will have an asset... that's ok)

Do I identify the fears behind each defect?

Do I identify with the unmanage-ability?

Do I identify the Agnosticsm?

Do I realize each will lead me back to step 1
Active Binging and Obsession?

Benefits and Usefulness

Harm and Damage

Defensive Behaviors

Vulnerabilities

How this affects my life




READINESS TO MOVE ON

Once you have done the following, you will be ready for step seven.


Have you identified from your inventory your defects of character? (eg. In our inventories weíve identified 3 obvious ones to start with Ėresentment, fear, and conduct (sexual). Other defects could be dishonesty, selfishness, perfectionism, etc)

Have you prayed for each defect to become willing to have God remove it?


"Do you now decide to take the actions necessary to turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him?" Please answer yes or no.


Some such actions are to start a prayer list for stubborn resentments and pray for them daily. Read BB "Freedom from bondage" p 544 fourth edition for more information on stubborn resentments.






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