Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Entirely ready

"So Step Six - "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character" - is A.A.'s way of stating the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job. This does not mean that we expect all our character defects to be lifted out of us as the drive to drink was. A few of them may be, but with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement. The words "entirely ready" underline the fact that we want to aim at the very best we know or can learn. "
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 65

I like step study meetings and last night's home group topic was Step Six. I've shared about this step before. In my early days in the program, I was asked by my sponsor to estimate the number of character defects that I had. I smugly said "about 12". He chuckled.

Later, I understood the chuckle, when I wrote out my list of character defects and found to my amazement that I had 51 on my list. I went over those defects that I'd put on paper and asked myself which ones was I ready to be rid of and which ones I was clinging to. I put 51 small pieces of paper with each character defect listed in my God Box.

Each day as I would pull out a different defect, I would pray for the willingness to let it go. Those that I was still clinging to would go back in the box. And I would ask myself if I was willing to give up that defect in order to be happy. I still have a few of those defects that I haven't gotten rid of. I'm still clinging to them like a security blanket.

I know that one of these days these defects will be ones that I am entirely ready to have God remove. But those defects that I'm not aware of are the ones that will be sticking with me for a long time. That's why my sponsor thought that it was important to be really thorough in listing the defects.

Last night my sponsor and I talked about some defects that still hang with me: fear of rejection, controlling behavior, selfishness, dishonesty. And we talked about how we can choose to either beat ourselves up over these defects or choose spiritual release without self-condemnation.

Here are some positive thoughts about being entirely ready:
1. I'm entirely ready to let go of my self-hate and negative beliefs about myself. I am ready to acknowledge the good things about myself.
2. I am ready to delight in those things that bring me joy and not withhold from myself love, happiness, and enjoyment in life.
3. I am ready to let go of those things that I can't control or that stand in the way of my true happiness.

So this is my take on being entirely ready: when I truly feel that a trait of mine (say, selfishness) has outlived its usefulness, I will do my best to become willing to let go of it. It's an attitudinal shift that's called for; I have to be willing to let go of my old way of doing things, before new ways will occur to me.


  1. Thanks Syd, good post and I like your 3 positive thoughts!

  2. Great post Syd. I loved it. I am working hard on not beating myself up regarding my defects as well. I am not perfect and I never will be. I keep asking God to help me remember that.

  3. I like this one! Sounds like you're working a great program. Check out my blog at www.serviceandlove.blogspot.com

  4. So easy it is to wear our character defects like old shoes. Long past their usefulness but familiar all the same.

    I have learned this time around that the sooner we kick this stuff to the curb, the better off we are.

  5. Syd those three ready thoughts are great - I think I am going to copy them and use them for myself.

    You are the best!

  6. What a cool exercise with the little notes.

  7. Dear Syd,
    I'm sorry that some of my comments were judgemental & shaming.

    Please forgive me!

    PS: You won't need to moderate your comments, anymore!

    God Bless You

  8. I love what you wrote...
    "I'm entirely ready to let go of my self-hate and negative beliefs about myself. I am ready to acknowledge the good things about myself."

    Amen to that. The more I do this, the less I judge, criticize, and am negative about others. I find this makes for a more fulfilling way of living.


  9. Thank you Syd! Meeting last night was on 6! I have so far to go but, look forward to that step. Meanwhile trying to be gentle with myself!

  10. Did Melody Beattie say something in her reader in her daily reader this week along the lines of 'judgement of self is self abuse'? I need to hear strong statements in hopes of remembering them.

  11. Nice thoughts and perspective...
    I learned a few years ago that my judgments of myself and others are not a contribution...

  12. Only 51? Man, I got some work to do.

  13. My experience is they are lifted a little at a time. And then some little parts might come back. New awareness of others changes the shift in focus. It's mysterious and fascinating. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes I can absolutely be gleeful at how things have changed.

  14. i love the way you lay out the complicated, and make it simple. and yes, it's all about making a list (or small pieces of paper) and one by one, they will get dealt with...

  15. Wow Syd, I did't want this post writing to end. Iam truly finding my inner self this past week, I am starting to LIKE ME again, this has been long over-due. I love the God box. I love that God has brought you here so I and many of your followers can benefit from all your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, JUST from YOU.. TY :}

  16. The sense of achievement I got when I stopped beating myself and accepted that I had some good bits. It was the programme that did that. I liked your last thre and am pleased for you that you have arrived at such a place. Thank you as well for the kind comments.

  17. Hey Syd, Been lurking for a while. I think you're very brave going through all this, even more so for documenting it so eloquently. You're very inspirational. I wish Gleds could have more faith in his drug worker as you seem to have with your sponsor.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.