~ 2012 Form ~
How It Works: 12 StepsStep Six "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
Surrender is the initial part of working each Step. Surrender prepares us to ask God to remove our defects. Respect and honest humility are keys that open doors to powers that are so great that they dare not approach us when we are exerting our wills. The loving higher powers do not want to hurt us, and going against our un-surrendered will would definitely hurt! We have a blessed tendency to not violate certain basics of humanity. If we betray, exploit or manipulate others without their knowledge or permission, the shame and guilt can exact a high price. The Sixth Step gives us a chance to actualize our disapproval of the way we have been living our lives. The danger here is that our illness of addiction tries to make us forget that we are tapping into a greater power that enables us to work our way back to health through the Twelve Steps. We find that submission calms us and allows us to do our part by being willing and open to change rather that letting us be hurt. But we have to keep going with the Steps! By the time we get to this Step, we have begun to see that addiction only feeds us contradictions. Some experienced NA members have said that we need to clearly define what is bothering us. We want to make sure we really are suffering from a defect and not merely confused by our disease.
This is a step of preparation for the next level of our personal recovery. This is wear the readiness and the willingness have to work together so we can get the complete freedom the 12 Steps promise. Over a long period of time, many members have noticed areas where we all have trouble. These consistencies lead to us using the six P formula.
1] Perspective - These are old ‘survival skills’ that no longer work for us. At one point they did, but now they recharge our unmanageability. H.P. wants more than survival for us today, so we can let them go.
2] Pain - When clinging on to a defect or survival skill becomes more painful than our fear of letting it go, we have become entirely ready to surrender to a higher power.
3] Prayer - God removes the defects, not us addicts. Our part is to pray for openness and willingness. So, God shows us the defect, and we do the footwork of listing, sharing and becoming willing to have God remove the defects in the 7th Step.
4] Patience - God is in charge of the outcome, and chooses how and when our defects are removed due to our lack of humility.
5] Process - Becoming entirely involves a process, like a grief process, where we walk through our denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and work toward surrender and acceptance. Each defect goes through this process, and they can be tough. At the end of this process we write each survival skill, create a good bye letter, thanking it, but letting it know that it will no longer be required.
6] Payoff - When we are struggling with a defect, we need to see what quick fix mechanism is being fed. If we are having a hard time letting it go, what is so good about it? Are we being self-righteous, unforgiving, proving that only we know what’s best? Are we justifying, rationalizing, or any number of the usual suspects? Write about each situation that keeps a defect frozen so we can become entirely ready.
One more thing we need to see here is that every character defect is also a characteristic. Take out the addictive urge, add the spirituality, and you can find assets in each one. So all our defects have a God centeredness potential when we check them out. If we drop the negative self- will, and pray for God awareness, we can see how we were spiritual, even when we weren’t practical. We can act our way into spirituality, by watching for negative will.
We addicts require gentleness when we deal with areas of sensitivity caused by past pain. A light touch will do to communicate our needs and our readiness to a loving and attentive God. Gentleness soothes our tendency to relate change with hurting or losing. It gives us maximum capability to pay attention to spiritual principles that may require all our attention. Harshness and abrasiveness make it hard to envision the freedom we seek as near at hand. A loud voice may make us unable to hear at all.
The disease of addiction seems to find a second wind so to speak as we approach this Step. We may want to 'take our time', having 'come so far.' Many have found themselves thinking that if we were to have all our defects removed, we would be unable to survive. Remember here that the purpose of addiction is to mislead and confuse. All that we are seeking in this Step is a growth in our trust and faith that our loving Higher Power will meet our needs. In doing this, we gain the ability to turn loose of harmful defects as we continue with the Steps. We will not be able to go further in recovery unless we trust God to do for us. We have to ask for help from our Higher Power and mean it for the Steps to continue our forward process. Defects do not benefit us. Defects will continue to create countless problems for us and those we love long after we have stopped using drugs. We retain even in recovery the illogical obstinacy and resistance to change in any form. We may even speak well of the Program of NA and the Twelve Steps of recovery and yet we continue to hold back from asking God to remove these defects. There are things and places over which we now have some control. We maintain those things in the best way we can. One of the lessons that we will learn again and again in recovery is to keep to our place. While we stress personal responsibility, we get better at choosing what is our business and what is not. Feeling bad over things that went wrong where we really had no say is ridiculous and is only another way the disease will work to make us miserable when it can.
With an increase of trust and faith from this Step, we give ourselves permission to move forward. Our permission is evidence of our surrender and our willingness to change. So far as we know, God has never forced goodness on any of us. We are all free to mess-up forever. If we want to see what ‘better’ is like, we must let God come into our lives and remove character defects which have blocked our path. Misplaced fears often cause many of our members to slow down when they get to this Step. This is like hanging around outside a restaurant when you're hungry. We addicts feel so brave about things that don't matter to us yet we can be so meek and timid when we face change or improvement. Recalling the early fears that we might have had to overcome in early recovery may help us snap out of any illusions that we might have that the Sixth Step is a resting place in the quest for spiritual growth.
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Reprinted from the
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Copyright © December 1998
Victor Hugo Sewell, Jr.
NA Foundation Group
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