Step Six

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi everyone
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

STEP SIX: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

Let us have a look at the words in this step.
What made me ready?
I did steps 1-5.
That is what made me ready.
Now I am aware of my defects, know how they affect my life, and know they
Block me from H.P.

The word "entirely".
I don't think I will ever be entirely ready to have all my defects removed.
"Entirely ready" is an ideal.
In the Big Book chapter How It Works page 60 it says:
"What an order! I can't go through with it. Do not be discouraged.
No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to those principles. We are not saints.
The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.
The principles we have set down are guides to progress.
We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection"

But I have to strive to be ready.

When discussing step six the Big Book says in the chapter Into Action page 76:
"We then look at step six. We have 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" (willing to have our character defects removed).

The last sentence is the sixth step prayer.

So what is the difference between being ready and being willing?
An example will make this clearer.
I wake up in the morning and want to go to the beach
But I am still in bed. Am I ready to go to the beach? Not yet.
I have to get up, wash myself, put some clothes on, eat breakfast and then I will be ready.
Those series of actions make me ready.
Am I still willing?
Well, a friend called while I was eating and suggested we go to a special art show.
I liked his suggestion and was no longer willing to go to the beach.

I did all I had to do in order to be ready to go to the beach but now the Willingness is gone.
And guess what? Without willingness I will not go.

Do you know what is the most fragile aspect of our recovery?
It is our willingness.
Why do I continue to cling to some of my defects?
I think and feel that I have a lot of benefits from them.
The fact is that those benefits are not real.
Some of them may have been real in the past when I was little,
Like lying in order to avoid a beating, or some other abuse, but today they are not.
These defects block me from H.P.,
They drive me to active addiction expressed by feeling bad and eating compulsively.
But still I cling to them and that is why I need to pray for willingness.
I have to pray on a daily basis and do the best I can even when I am less than willing.

Why do I need H.P., to remove my defects? Why can not I work on them by myself?
Let us have a look at the chapter We Agnostics pages 44-45:
"If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to Overcome alcoholism (food compulsion), many of us would have recovered long ago.
But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried.....
Our human resources as marshaled by will, were not sufficient; they failed us utterly.
Lack of power was our dilemma.
We had to find a power by which we could live and it had to be a Power Greater than ourselves."

So only God can remove my defects.
Is there nothing I can do except pray? Yes there is.
We will deal with it in step seven.

It is useful in step six to write a two column table of my defects and the assets that should replace them.

Here is a partial example.
ASSETS-Attributes and characteristics of God's Will
CHARACTER DEFECTS-Attributes and characteristics of Self Will

Forgiveness, acceptance--------------------------------resentment
Faith, courage-----------------------------------------------fears (specify)
Altruism, interest in others, considerate-----------selfishness
Being considerate-----------------------------------------being inconsiderate
Humility, seeking to do God's will--------------------false pride
Giving, sharing---------------------------------------------greed
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
Gratefulness for what I have got----------------------self-pity

So your ASSIGNMENT1~ is to write a personal defects and assets table
Do it now.
Those who find it difficult to Identify the right assets may use a thesaurus
And look for antonyms.
There is a thesaurus online at:

The defects are manifestation of our self will run riot, and the assets are
Manifestations of the alignment of our will with God's will.
There is not much written on page 76 in the Big Book about steps six and seven.
I think the reason is that the essence of these steps is discussed in all the previous Chapters without mentioning them by name.
Our unmanageable life, our agnosticism, our need for H.P., in our life.
The way we deal with resentments and fears in step four, are all parts of step six and seven.

After writing our personal defect-asset table we can examine it a bit more.
If we examine all our character defects carefully we will realize that the origin of every defect is projected fear.

Some of our character defects are a manifestation of assets twisted to extremes.
So returning to balance will turn our defects into assets.
Examples: Stubbornness, when balanced turns to perseverance.
Stinginess when balanced turns to wise spending.
People pleasing when balanced turns to being helpful. Overeating when balanced turns into moderate eating.
Self criticism when balanced turns into evaluation of our deeds.
Procrastination when balanced turns into doing things on time. Etc…

There are character defects that are just that and not assets driven to extremes by our self will run riot.
Examples are stealing, lying, etc…

Step six is all about awareness and willingness to have God remove the things that block us from him.
First we had to identify the blocks in steps four and five.
And now we have to be willing to let God remove them.
We have to stop clinging to them in order to be ready to turn to God in step seven.

1. Go over your personal defects in your defects and assets table.
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?
Share with us.

2. Pray for willingness on a daily basis to have God remove your defects.

3. Read step six again in the A.A 12&12.
Pay special attention to the following:
Clinging to defects as a sign of immaturity.
The reasons for the difference in the release by God from compulsive eating and from character defects,
Different types of defects and the reasons for clinging to some of them.
Difference between step one and the other steps.
Never say never.
Reflect and share with us.

4. Read step seven in the AA 12&12 pages 70-76
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.

I invite you to ask questions and comment on my shares.
Send your questions and comments to me at:

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