Step Six of twelve is an exercise in attitude, separating the men from the boys – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
The essential character trait is willingness. This encompasses everything essential for spiritual growth. The wording is challenging, the thought process even more so. Check it out: ‘entirely ready.’ Whooee. That is the challenge. There is some leeway, but not much. But have faith, reader, faith in process – just stay with this process and have faith that it will work for you.
This step is a beginning. People trick themselves into delaying faith. Often people will unconsciously think things like, “God, I will give you this problem, but let me work on it a while first.” They are not ‘entirely ready.’ This is not to fault them – it is a common mental trick. It does not mean that they cannot progress in their endeavor to be a better person. It only shows their humanness.
Being ‘entirely ready’ demonstrates huge spiritual growth – many are not ready on the first pass through this forest of enlightenment. Always remember, ‘…more will be revealed…’ That sounds like I am saying that God is holding something back for later – that is not the case. The holding back is done by humans, wanting change, but afraid to take action.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (half brothers of the same illness) are by their nature suicidal. This is against the basic nature of our survival instinct. That is the power of addiction – overriding fundamental instincts. Reclaiming natural desires, and moderating the desires into healthy behavior, is difficult in many ways. That addict has often isolated themselves from their support system. AA or NA meetings can help fill this void. Step six says, “No more, I want my life back.” AA and NA say, “We will help.”
There are natural desires which are not to be denied. From the AA 12 x12: “Practically everybody wishes to be rid of his most glaring and destructive handicaps. No one wants to be so proud that he is scorned as a braggart, nor so greedy that he is labeled a thief. No one wants to be angry enough to murder, lustful enough to rape, gluttonous enough to ruin his health. No one wants to be agonized by the chronic pain of envy or to be paralyzed by sloth. Of course, most human beings don’t suffer these defects at these rock-bottom levels.” This was published in 1952 by lay volunteers in AA. “But when we stand up to the less violent aspects of these very same defects, then where do we stand?”
The defects hide themselves. “..Who doesn’t like to feel just a little superior to the next fellow…Isn’t it true that we like to let greed masquerade as ambition?… Self Righteous anger also can be very enjoyable. In a perverse way we can actually take satisfaction from the fact that many people annoy us, for it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority.”
Be patient – no one has managed this step perfectly. Remember ‘…more will be revealed…”
The character trait demanded of Step Six is willingness, open mindedness, that quality of self honesty that our pride does not want us to look at.
See Also: On Addiction