Sobriety Navigator: Alcoholics Anonymous an overview of Step 6:
Step six: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defect of character.”
Step six is about character building. Progress, not perfection, is what we strive for. We must remove the obsession of alcohol with a spiritual awakening in order to achieve complete transformation. Experience has taught many of us, first hand, that being ready to have God remove all of our defects of character and transform us into perfect people is not the goal.
Experiencing the process of the first five steps allows us to clearly see where our instincts lead us. Now we can begin to deal with the real and clear challenges that these distorted instincts, or “character defects,” have inflicted on ourselves and others.
As the process of recovery takes hold and we allow ourselves to become sober and present in the now, we begin to clearly see the ramifications of our actions and attitudes. When we stop numbing out and tuning out, we realize very quickly that these defects in our character are hurting us. Quite often, this is the same self-inflicting pain we drank over.
No one shows up at the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time because they were singing too loud in the church choir. Oh no. It was pain and suffering, the real equalizer and motivator of the alcoholic.
When the pain becomes too great, the alcoholic will let go of whatever resistance they had, and change. There is a common saying in A. A. meetings, “Surrender to win.” This dynamic is just what they’re talking about.
Changed attitude aides recovery. This is also a common theme in A. A. It’s not what we do, it’s why we do it! It is a well-known fact that a person’s integrity is in direct proportion to their self-esteem, and the more self-esteem a person has achieved in recovery the more honest they become. We’re starting to learn who we really are, and who we really are isn’t half bad. In fact, most alcoholics are very sensitive, caring people who have a great ability for compassion and understanding towards others.
This attitude will assist greatly in the process of unfolding who we really are and moving us away from whom, in our hearts, we never really were.
The outside world could only judge us by our actions, which is only fair and logical. But inside, how many of us alcoholics have said to ourselves, “I know in my heart I’m a good person?” Most! Why? Because it’s true!
There is nothing more liberating and gratifying than when the alcoholic can put into clear perspective the motivations, cause and effect of their actions, and share them with their counselor/sponsor. And later on when they feel comfortable enough, share them in A.A. meetings. And be able to laugh at the past.