During this step, we are encouraged to come to terms with our character defects and take action toward their removal. Specifically, we examine our fourth step inventory and get a good look at the profound effect these defects have on our lives, and through a willingness to change, start to overcome them. Willingness is the spiritual principle of step six. How sincerely we work this step will be directly correlated with our desire to change.
It is important to recognize that becoming entirely ready does not happen instantly. It is a process that sometimes develops over an entire lifetime. Being entirely ready involves many things: being aware of our defects, being tired of them, and being confident that the God of our understanding will remove them. While working this step we will consider our fears related to the step, what removal of our character defects consists of, and what our responsibility is in this process.
Fears related to this step can come in various forms, but almost everyone will experience some level of fear concerning change. We have all had our defects that we are about to let go of for a very long time, and stepping into the unknown is terrifying. What will life be like without these defects?! By working this step, will we be transformed into dull conformists? Am I capable of living successfully without these defects? During this time, we need to remain willing and maintain a sense of hope and trust that the process of recovery works even on our most coveted defects.
So what is this process, and what is our responsibility throughout it? Well, the first thing most of us do about our character defects is to decide not to have them. However, this is quite futile because, much like our attempts to control our using, we may have some success for a time, but the behavior eventually resurfaces. So, what we need to do in the sixth step is much like what we need to do in the first two steps. We need to admit that we have been influenced by an internal force that has brought mostly pain and degradation into our lives. Then we need to admit that we need help in dealing with that force.
At this point in the step working process, we are typically aware of our shortcomings. But, it takes an extraordinary amount of energy to monitor our behavior every second of every day and curb every impulse to act out. Thus, it can sometimes be a discouraging task. But, we do not give up. Instead, we make a commitment to our recovery. We maintain our newly emerging principles despite our setbacks. We keep taking steps forward despite the step or two we have taken backward. Ultimately, we are looking for gradual improvement, not instant perfection. Today you can make a commitment to your recovery. Today you can decide to keep moving forward no matter how many setbacks you have experienced. Today you can commit to a gradual improvement in your life!