Step 6

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From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these
defects of character”

The One Thing I Need To Know About Step 6:
Willingness is the Key

of this Step:


Reading Assignment:
BB: Pg. 76 / 12&12:  Pgs. 63-69
(Read Online)

Literature Reference: “We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.” (Big Book, Page 76 Into Action)

What Can I Surrender in this Step?

  • The desire to hold onto my defects of character no matter how familiar or comfortable they are.


Let us start off with a really bold statement….

“All 12 Steps are important – but Six & Seven ARE the meat and substance of our program!  We must have an extremely healthy and personal relationship with them, else we are likely to drink again.”

Let me ask you a question – have you ever been driving a car and saw a light come on your dashboard, have the car start spittering and sputtering, then die, then you coast over to the side of the road, put the car in park, get out and walk around to the front of the car, open the hood – and realize you have absolutely no friggin’ idea what to do with what you see in front of you?!?!?!?!

That was much the experience many members had when they finished their first official 5th Step and realized just exactly the mess that had been laid before them which they had built their whole entire lives upon.  Up to the point that they’d walked through their 4th Step, they thought they’d lived fairly successful lives (one of the 100 forms of self-delusion). In walking through the inventory process, we uncover a plethora of shortcomings; faults and imperfections that we finally had to begin looking at that for years, had created the outline to our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and finally – our actions.  What do we do with what we uncovered? Little did we know that a good hard look at, and a letting go of those things were going to eventually give us a life beyond our wildest dreams.

We were so ill-prepared and highly untrained to not only see, but understand how our pride, anger, greed, gluttony, lust, envy and sloth (our P.A.G.G.L.E.S.), all founded in fear (fear of not getting something we demand or of losing something we possess), were the components that kept leading us to the only solution that seemingly worked every time – alcohol.

The purpose of Step 6 is to become fully prepared to rid ourselves of the flaws we listed in Step 4, to become willing to let our Higher Power remove our defects, and to stop pursuing whatever our idea of perfection is.  The sixth step is a call to perfection. It separates those who are working the program and those who drift through the program. “The difference between ‘the boys and the men’ is the difference between striving for a self determined objective and for the perfect objective which is of God.” (“12 & 12,” p. 68).

Additional Suggested Reading:The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety


We can do this on our own. One of the biggest misconceptions about this Step is that we have the ability to become less of these things on our own. We do not have the skill set to become less of the flaws in our character that have caused our failure. It is way above our pay grade. We strengthen our faith in a Power greater than ourselves and allow God to remove them from us.


While this is by no means a complete list of defects of character, it is a great place to start for us to begin to see the things in our lives that have caused our failure.


Taking a step displays a willingness to write inventory and allow it to surrender something within us. Write inventory on your most serious shortcomings around the practical application of this step in your life today (“How am I applying the principle found in this Step to every moment of my life?”).

In Your Personal Relationships: (If yes, provide examples)

  1. Do I do or say things that will make me feel a little (or a lot) superior to someone else?
  2. Do my dreams of romance really cover up imaginary sex excursions (even in my mind)?
  3. Do I use justified resentments as an excuse to criticize others and enjoy self-righteous anger?
  4. Do I enjoy milder forms of gluttony that are not totally ruinous?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?

At Work: (If yes, provide examples)

  1. Do I use justified resentments as an excuse to criticize others and enjoy self-righteous anger?
  2. Do I wish for what I do not have rather than working for it?
  3. Am I supportive to my co-workers?
  4. Do I approach my work from a service perspective or is it just a paycheck?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?

With God and in A.A.: (If yes, provide examples)

  1. Do I use justified resentments as an excuse to criticize others and enjoy self-righteous anger?
  2. Do I wish for what I do not have rather than working for it?
  3. Am I entirely ready to have God remove all of my defects of character?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?


(If you can answer yes to these questions, you’ve likely taken this Step)

  1. Have I identified those defects of character that I presently have that I’d like to have removed?
  2. Have you relinquished dependency on anything other than a Higher Power? (i.e., people, food, approval, loneliness, money, success, etc.)
  3. Am I ready to let go of anything I’d be ashamed of doing in the presence of my Higher Power (Example: excessive masturbation, hiding from problems, inappropriate sexual behavior, stealing, etc.)
  4. Am I no longer afraid I will lose something I possess if I let go of my defects?
  5. Am I no longer afraid I will fail to get something I demand if I let go of my defects?
  6. Do I really believe I am powerless to remove each of the defects?
  7. Am I entirely ready to have God remove each of these defects?

We Need More Members with Long-Term Sobriety Willing to Share with the Newcomer What It Looks Like to Feel Hopeless and Helpless IN the Rooms of A.A. (when that’s true for them).