Step six in AA is incredibly freeing. In the last two steps, you made a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself and admitted the exact nature of your wrongs to yourself, your higher power, and another person. Now that we’re so familiar with these faults, it’s time to let them go while we work step six.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
We’ve identified what no longer serves us in our character, and now we need to get ready to allow them to be removed so that we can make space so that more positive characteristics to develop.
What Does Step Six in AA Mean?
The key word in step six of AA is “ready”. It means that we have been honest with ourselves and we can be open and prepared to change ourselves.
Through the two previous steps, we became very familiar with our shortcomings, gaining knowledge about our behavioral patterns, and clarity on how we’ve affected ourselves and others. This knowledge and clarity has brought us to a new state of mind, one in which we are ready to have these flaws removed.
How to Work Step Six in AA
So, step six in AA sounds pretty simple. We just have to get ready. What is there to work?
Let’s take a step back and think about what we’ve done in the steps prior.
Step six is a culmination of all the steps that led up to this. Here, we’re admitting and accepting that we’re powerless over all of our negative behaviors, not only our drinking or using, and turning all control over to our higher power.
To work step six in Alcoholics Anonymous, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you don’t have to do this step just once, so you don’t have to do it perfectly. Anticipating turning over the control to your higher power all at once can be overwhelming and intimidating. You can do it in phases as you feel ready. Consider working through step six (and then step seven) by turning one or two character flaws over to your higher power, then coming back and doing it again with different flaws.
Next, remember that this step is about your attitude, not necessarily your behavior. Recovery is all about the shift in mindset – you need to change your belief about a situation first before you can change the actual situation.
Always remember that you can talk to your sponsor if you’re feeling unsure during this or any other step.
As you reflect inwardly during step six, consider asking yourself some of the following questions:
- How can what I learned about surrender help me work this step?
- How have I changed so far?
- What kinds of actions, thoughts, or beliefs can show that I am entirely ready?
A Word on Character Defects
Step six talks about “defects of character”. This language can feel strong, so let’s take a moment to clarify what it means.
Talking about “defects of character” doesn’t mean that you are a defective or bad person. Instead, think of them as “imperfections”. Being human means being imperfect, whether you are an addict or alcoholic or not. Everyone in the world has personality flaws that they are working on.
Being human is, by definition, being imperfect. It’s acknowledging and accepting these shortcomings and working to improve them as much as you can. Recovery is very much the same, accepting these shortcomings as areas that should be removed, asking your higher power to help remove them, and doing the work required of you.
Need Help Working the 12 Steps?
If you’re ready to rid yourself of all of your character defects, your wrongs and faults, consider joining a 12-step recovery program. These programs will help you to do just that while encouraging a connection with a higher power and strengthening your spirituality.
At Any Length, we believe in the healing power of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. We use them to help addicted men and their families to find freedom from addiction and finally achieve lifelong recovery. Give us a call today at 512-746-0138 to learn more about our retreat and the programs we offer.