"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.