Step 6 states, “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” Like the other Steps, this one generated fear in me when I first looked at it and considered what it meant. I had tried many times to change my behavior and I had failed miserably. How was this time going to be any different? When I sat down to talk this through with my sponsor, he quickly pointed out that the Step doesn’t call for me to remove my character defects. It asks me to be ready to have God remove them.There’s a big difference. If I have taken the first 5 Steps then I have already admitted that I don’t have the power to change things and I’ve already concluded that a power exists that can do what I can’t.
I have a daughter that lives 947miles away. If I decide I need to see her, but I have to rely on my own power, I’m in trouble. Let’s face it. I’m a fat old man and I’m not going to get there walking. Fortunately, I’m aware of a power greater than myself. It’s called an airplane. I may be scared to fly, but if I can come to believe that a giant, heavy piece of metal can make the trip safely, I can be there in a few hours. Same principle as Step 6. There is a power outside myself to accomplish this for me. His name is God.
My second fear stemmed from the fact that I’m a broken guy. If God removes my defects of character, will there be anything left? For as far back as I can remember I have been angry, anxious, selfish, arrogant, and a whole list of other things. I asked my sponsor, what if I don’t like what’s left when my defects are removed? He asked me, do you like yourself now? That was pretty hard core! Then he explained to me that if God removes defects, I can trust Him to replace them with traits that are healthy for me and that will enable me to interact in a healthy way with other people.
My recovery experience has been that if I continue to recognize shortcomings and defects of character and continue to submit to God and work the Steps, God continues to remove the defects. I’m nowhere near perfection, but in recovery, perfection isn’t the goal. I’m not the man I used to be.
If you have questions or would like to talk, send me an email at email@example.com.