Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Having completed Steps Four and Five, we now carry an awareness of the harm we have done to others and ourselves with more clarity and detail than ever before. In the patterns that emerged while sharing these details fully and openly for the first time, we have begun to recognize our defects of character.
Step Six says simply that we "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." This step requires that we practice the spiritual principles of willingness and faith. We need to be willing to let our Higher Power remove our defects of character and to have faith that when we are ready to let go, our Higher Power will be there to help us. Some defects of character we cannot wait to get rid of, while others we do not know how we can do without. This movement towards the new and unknown can be exciting and scary. On the one hand, we envision ourselves becoming more like how we always wanted to be and cannot wait to move on to the Seventh Step. On the other hand, we cannot imagine entirely letting go of some of our character traits, thus moving into an entirely new way of being.
- Read Step Six in LIFE WITH HOPE.
- Review Step Six with your sponsor, or with a trusted member of MA.
- Look up the words defect and willing; write out the definitions that you find to be significant, and write what the words mean to you.
- Review the word faith (from Step Three). Has your concept changed at all?
- List examples of times when you practiced the spiritual principle of willingness? What were the results?
- Do I have character defects that I can't wait to get rid of?
- Do I have character defects that I can't imagine living without?
We can practice the same faith we used to stop using marijuana, in letting go of our character defects. We become willing to surrender our character defects.
- List examples of times when you practiced the spiritual principle of faith. What were the results?
- Is there anything blocking me from having the courage to take this step?
- If my Higher Power is going to do all this for me, what's my job?
Many of us bristled at the words "character defect." While we didn't claim to be perfect, the idea of having "defects" still made us think less of ourselves. Some of us use an alternative term, such as "character challenges," as it's more encouraging and suggests that we can overcome them. With our diligence, our sponsor's guidance, and HP's help, many of us have found that we can indeed eventually lessen, or free ourselves of many of the traits that no longer serve us. The changes begin as long as we are willing and have faith. By writing, sharing, and praying, we increase our readiness to let go of these character defects.
- What are my character defects? Write down each defect and give a brief description of it.
- What are some examples of situations in which I acted on my defects?
- How do my defects affect myself and others?
- Do I have defects that I know I am attached to?
- Do I have defects that I think cannot be removed?
- What do I think would happen if these defects were removed?
- What might I do in place of acting on these defects?
- Do I trust my Higher Power to do what is best for me?
- What would my life look like if each character defect were entirely removed?
Character defects are often rooted in normal and desirable human traits that have been allowed to run riot during our active addiction. There is transformation available in examining these themes, for it is in the shadows of our worst traits that we may discover our greatest assets.
- Can I connect any of my character defects to an underlying strength?
- What might happen if I was left with only the strength, but not the character defect that grew from it?
It is widely acknowledged that working the sixth step is an ongoing, even life-long process. Many of us have experienced the dramatic lifting of some of our character defects, but few of us found that all of our defects were lifted at once, so we needed to accept that being ready also meant staying ready. This approach to the Sixth Step has been described as embracing a life-long 'Sixth Step attitude': being constantly open to discovering our defects and surrendering them to a higher power.
By practicing Step Six, we acquire the humility needed to take STEP SEVEN.