The principle behind step six is WILLINGNESS.
Well, friends on this recovery journey with me, if youíve gotten over the dreaded step five, Iím sure most of you feel ready to continue this journey and become the person youíre meant to be and obviously weíd all be better people without those defects of character that you or your sponsor may have picked up in step five. This step at first glance seems so simple and easy but of course it really isnít. If weíve shared our step five weíve probably picked up a whole lot of character defects that we know are harming us so of course we want to be rid of them. But the truth is, and I know thatís definitely how it was for me, that those character defects helped me to get me through some very difficult times back then, but they donít serve me now as Iím sure it possibly was the same for you too and we need to recognise that fact.
The reality is that now things are different and we need to be willing to change and of course willingness is the principle behind this step. I really thought I was willing, which of course is what we need when working this step but some days Iím just not plain willing at all, and then I just have to pray for the willingness to be willing. Also I guess weíre so used to being the way we are, that itís hard to imagine being different. I certainly know thatís how I felt about letting go of my defects or at least allowing my Higher Power to relieve me of them. I know most of my defects caused me pain and yet most of us, myself included, are not sure how weíll be without those defects. So saying weíre ready and really being ready are two very different things.
I think another thing for me that I always thought that certain defects like perfectionism were an asset rather than a defect. And yet in retrospect I realise that because of my perfectionism I often didnít do things because I couldnít do them perfectly, which stopped me really doing so much more and experiencing so much more in my life. And maybe also deep down I thought being critical and judgmental made me feel superior, and because of my poor self esteem I thought I still needed them. But of course most of those defects caused me pain and difficulties in my relationships ultimately, so why was I holding onto them? I guess for me itís really about fear of change and thatís something thatís held me back a lot in the past.
The other problem of course is Iím very self willed as Iím sure many of you are so I want to fix myself by myself. So the thought of just being ready and not doing anything was very strange for me. Does it mean I sit back and do nothing? I realised that whilst I am powerless to remove the defect without help, I still need to do some footwork. In the past I would often just react in the old way without even thinking. Now I try to think first before acting and I know slowly over time many of my defects have been lessened and some are hardly there. Another thing that has also helped me is that I have become a lot more accepting of myself and others and that somehow seems to help. But it is after all a process and I certainly donít think Iíll ever get this program perfectly and thatís actually OK.
ASSIGNMENT AND QUESTIONS ON STEP SIX
Read step six in the OA 12 & 12 if you have it and Chapter 6, "Into Action," the Big Book, p.76.
1. Make a list of character defects that you are ready to have God remove.
SIXTH STEP PRAYER: Dear God, I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself and guide me toward mental and spiritual health.
2. How do you know when you're procrastinating on moving forward?
3. What gets in the way of being entirely ready?
4. Are you really willing to allow for the possibility that your Higher Power can help you with your character defects? Please explain.
5. How much pain have your character defects caused you? Do you feel you have hit bottom with them?
6. Are there some defects that you think it will take you longer to get entirely ready to have removed?
7. Which defects do you think you'd really rather hang onto and what are the payoffs for hanging onto them?
8. Are your defects costing you more than they are giving you? Explain.
9. What will your rewards be when you work Step Six?
The Twelve Steps