Step 6 took me approximately three months to finish.
Below are the questions my Sponsor asked me to write in connection with this Step. After this list was complete, I spent a month writing about Judgment and another month writing about Procrastination, two of my most glaring character defects.
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Step 6, The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 63-69
1. Look up each of the definitions for your character defects finding 4 synonyms. For each synonym, find a verb which means the opposite and look up those definitions.
- Dishonest = Unprincipled, Untrustworthy, Deceitful, Lying
- Scrupulous = Ethical, Honest, Principled, Moral
- Resentful = Bitter, Jealous, Irritated, Peeved
- Kind = Caring, Forgiving, Attentive, Thoughtful, Considerate
- Procrastinate = Postpone actions, Use delaying tactics, Put off doing something, Stall
- Persist = Expedite, Persevere, Carry On, Follow Through (with)
- Selfish = Egotistic, Self-absorbed, Wrapped up in oneself, Self-centered
- Selfless = Humble, Altruistic, Unpretentious, Down-to-Earth
- Critical = Find fault with, Condemn, Disparaging, Negative, Judgmental
- Uncritical = Undemanding, Forgiving, Complimentary, Praise
- Self-righteous = Judgmental, Egotistical, Superior, Holier-than-thou
- Humble = Down-to-Earth, Modest, Unpretentious, Introverted
2. What is a defect of character? It is a liability. Something that does not serve me or others. Something that causes me shame.
3. How is “praying for willingness” synonymous with procrastination? I guess it could be viewed that way. It’s like you’re putting it off or hoping someone else, God, I guess, will take care of it. It could be viewed as a delay tactic.
4. Are you ready to have God remove ALL your defects of character at this time? Yes. If so, why? I feel ready to continue doing the work I’ve been doing in and out of the program. I’ve done a lot of seeking, reflecting and research. I feel a shift occurring within in me and I’m more than willing to change my ways. I’m open-minded and ready to surrender to this process.
5. How is it important to know God will remove your defects? It’s not that important to me in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it will be nice to go through this process, but I know from all of my hard work that I am helping to alter these defects, too. If God is willing to remove them than I am willing to ask for help and do my part.
6. How is humility important in working this step? You definitely have to have a lack of vanity or pride to get this far in working the steps. My ugly truths have been exposed (Step 4 + Step 5), I’ve meditated on them and let a lot of them go already. Humility helps me with the concept of acceptance as it relates to Step 6.
7. “Our defects drain us of all our time and energy.” Explain. There is a lot of brain power given to obsessing about people, places and things I can’t control. My defects keep my mind constantly working. When I let them go, my mind is allowed to rest. My time and energy is restored. I’m seeing that in action lately and really loving how that feels.
8. How does self-will destroy any hope of working this step? I’m unsure. I guess if I was trying to run the show, it would prevent me from being truly honest with myself in the process of this step. Self-will does not allow me to be transparent, so I guess that’s why it wouldn’t work. Self-will would keep me guarded and telling you only what I think you would want to hear and not the honest truth.
9. How are defects acted out in your life? I put things off until the very last minute. I’m not as straightforward with people as I could be. I overcommit and try to people please. I’m judgmental towards people. I harbor resentments longer than I should.
10. What would your life be like without character defects? I think I would feel a little bit lighter as I moved about the world. I’m already starting to feel that way. It would feel like a baptism of sorts - the chance to start over with a clean slate.
11. How does step six open the door to freedom of self? I guess it would give me the opportunity to change the story I’ve been telling myself for decades. I don’t have to be the gossip or the liar. I wouldn’t have to throw pity parties for myself anymore. I could start tackling tasks head-on without putting them off for another day. I could start handling my life on life’s terms and find some peace with this new way of being.
12. How does step six deepen your surrender to your higher power? I don’t know if it will. I think it will free me up to surrender to this process and, in turn, hopefully, help me call upon my higher power. I still have trouble with the concept of a higher power, but I’m working on it.
13. How is a return to sanity achieved by removal of character defects? I guess it’s like you get to start over from ground zero. Sanity is restored when all of the chaos and negative self-talk is removed.
14. How does this step help you to see your humanness? It definitely has made me dig deep over this last month of working this step. I’ve revisited my faults and I can see where I fail to be perfect and know that IT’S OKAY! Truly. I am ready to hand this all over because I’ve carried it for far too long and I don’t think I need it to help me cope any longer. I’ve discovered other tools in sobriety to help with that and I’m ready to let it all go.
15. How do you grow spiritually by recognizing that you are not self-sufficient and need other people? I guess by opening up my heart and mind to the concept that I cannot do life “alone.” And, that isolating is not a sustainable practice. I now find comfort in the kindness of strangers and I’ve been surprised by this simple truth at this point in my life.
Tammi hasn’t had a drink since February 3, 2015. She is a former wine bar owner, lifelong seeker and recovering perfectionist. She makes art every day and credits this practice as the path to her spiritual overhaul. She documents her creative forays and monthly sobriety milestones at TammiSalas.com Her writing here will share her story as she navigates the 12 Steps of AA.
A NOTE FROM TAMMI:
Anonymity is the foundation of AA and I respect that. However, I choose torecover out loud in order to be of service to other people still suffering.