Step 6 Overview: Removing Defects of Character
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Now that Step 5 is done, we prepare ourselves to reflect on the behaviors associated with our addiction. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to these behaviors as defects of character, and we must be willing to change them in order to remain rooted in our recovery. For some, it may be helpful to sit with a sponsor and list our character defects, which include: resentment and anger, lying and dishonesty, envy, immoral thinking, false pride and denial, and greed.
The NA Step Working Guide suggests listing what impact these defects have on yourself and others, the feelings that come with acting on these defects, and a what life would look like without these character defects. For anyone struggling with this step, creating this list may help in identifying these negative characteristics, and understanding the cause and effect in black and white helps foster more willingness to turn these over to a Higher Power.
Step 6 is a step of willingness, which coincidentally, is the spiritual principle associated with it. As addicts, we have lived our lives based on self-will up until this point. This step asks us to put our will even further in the hands of our Higher Power and ask these defects be removed for it to be successful. We don’t expect these attributes to be immediately be removed but must express our readiness for them to go. Understand this is a commitment to change and some of these defects will take time to improve upon.
For many of us, Step 6 is one we will continue working throughout our recovery. As we walk through our new life of recovery, old defects of character and new ones will periodically show themselves. By trusting in our Higher Power and continuing to express the willingness to change, we learn to adapt and balance these characteristics. If we find ourselves entirely ready to hand these defects of character over to our Higher Power, we are ready to move on to the next step. We do so understanding that although we may not be instantly relieved, we are willing to make the required changes in our behavior to be successful in recovery and willing to trust in the God of our understanding to help us with this process.