Sixth Step: Becoming Entirely Ready
Step Six: “We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.”
“Entirely ready to remove what!?” We exclaimed, as we read this step. “I thought there were no requirements for membership in NA or AA. The only requirement is the desire to stop using drugs and drinking. There is no way on earth I’m having anything removed!”
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about Step Six. But luckily for us, we have the Spiritual Principles in our Recovery collection to face this Step without being delusional. Like most things we find difficult, the answer is in The 12 Steps. In this case the answer is “…to have GOD remove these defects…” Not us!
The first Spiritual Principle behind this Step is our good friend, Willingness. As we have heard shared in meetings, “If we don’t have the Willingness, we pray for the willingness to be willing.” Willingness to do what? Easy, to be ready! To help us along the Willingness path, we are met with all of our “defects of character” staring us in the face. Very simply, a character defect is something that causes harm to ourselves or others. Even more simply, we have only one character defect: FEAR. We are either afraid of losing what we have or not getting what we want. All the rest of our character defects can easily be identified as coming from fear.
In becoming entirely ready, we learn not to act in ways that are harmful to anyone, especially ourselves. We are on a spiritual journey of recovery and if we continue to come from a place of fear, it will only harm our spiritual nature. So, we go hand-in-hand with willingness and pray to come from a place of love instead of fear.
Our faithful friend Commitment is along for this ride, too. We learn that we no longer need to be that person we admitted to being in the Fifth Step. We can act differently starting today! Instead of telling a little fib, which hurts no one, we tell the truth. That little fib will eventually open the door to bigger lies that will end up hurting ourselves and others. We practice Commitment by doing the opposite.
We are now introduced to the Spiritual Principle of Perseverance. We continue to do the right things for the right reasons, we “keep on, keepin’ on” despite how we feel. These new Spiritual Principles are a tight fit! We’re not use to being civil! We do our best to be vigilant about our behavior and try not to act out, in a certain situation as we would have in the past. Recovery is all about learning a new set of behaviors so as not to fall back into our old behaviors that could take us out.
Our old pals, Faith and Trust are here, too! Our Higher Power, God, Allah, Buddha, whatever we want to call It, is here for us. It is God’s job to remove these defects of character, NOT OURS. We show up, become willing and then ta-da! the defects are removed! Sorry, but that is not true. That’s not how it works. What happens is, when faced with a certain situation where we might scream and yell, we instead speak calmly and walk away. What a miracle! We didn’t have to get all up in their face and defend ourselves! Our defects of character are never entirely removed. We continue to pray and have faith and trust that they will be removed in a time and place that in the past use to get us in a lot of trouble. Remember, it is God’s job, not ours.
When working this step we continue to practice the Self-Acceptance that served us well in the First Step. Here, though, we do so in a kinder, gentler way. We don’t beat ourselves up every time we act out. We pray and work harder to practice the opposite behavior, and each time we do, we like ourselves a little more. Yes, we are willing to change today. We stay committed to ourselves and our Program of Recovery. As the AA Big Book says, “We are not Saints, but we are willing to grow along Spiritual lines.” Go to Step Seven