“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
1. You are now going to formally go through the Sixth Step by following the "clear-cut directions" in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
2. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 34, the sixth paragraph says:
"If you can answer to your satisfaction, look at step six. We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable. Are you now perfectly willing to let God remove from you all the things which you have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all—every one? If you yet cling to something you will not let go, ask God to help you be willing."
3. This paragraph contains the complete discussion of the Sixth Step from the Big Book.
4. If there were more to this step, then there would be more in the Big Book.
5. The focus of this step is willingness. The Big Book says that it is indispensable. This means that this step can't be taken without it.
6. On the other hand, the phrase "perfectly willing" was later changed to "now ready." The pioneers realized that being perfectly willing was a condition that was impossible for most people to reach, and more importantly, that being ready was all that was needed to take this step.
7. All "the things which you have admitted are objectionable" are, of course, the defects of character you found as you did your Fourth Step.
8. This step requires us to be ready to let God remove all the character defects we found in our inventory.
9. This means that we have to give up the old idea that we are going to remove our own defects of character, or control our own problems and behaviors.
10. This paragraph also makes it clear that if we still are not ready to let God remove something, we need to pray for the willingness to let go of it.
11. In the 12 & 12, on page 69, the first line on the page, says:
“Perhaps we shall be obliged in some cases still to say, ‘This I cannot give up yet…,' but we should not say to ourselves, ‘This I will never give up!'”
12. Please open R.A.'s Step Presentation Workbook to page 17. Please look at the box labeled Step Six at the bottom of R.A.'S STEP WORKSHEET “B.”
13. Since Column B, on R.A.'S STEP WORKSHEET “B” is labeled “Defects which I admit ARE objectionable,” you should have no problem circling the “yes” at the bottom of that column to indicate that you are ready to let God remove these defects of character, if He so chooses.
a. If that is true, if you are ready to let God remove these defects, then circle “yes.”
b. If not now, can you at least stop saying: “This I will never give up!” If you can imagine at some point, perhaps even five or ten years from now, being ready to let God remove these defects, circle “maybe.”
c. If you intend to hold on forever to those character defects that you find objectionable, then circle “no.”
14. Please look at Column C, the one labeled “Defects which I do NOT admit are objectionable.” Remember what we just read from the top of page 69 in the 12 & 12: “Perhaps we shall be obliged in some cases still to say, ‘This I cannot give up yet…,' but we should not say to ourselves, ‘This I will never give up!' ”
15. If you consider these as defects, even if you don't find them objectionable, can you say at this point that you are ready to let God remove them, if He should so choose?
a. If you can say you are ready, then circle “yes.”
b. If you can go from saying “No, I will never give these up!” to saying “Not today, but maybe at some point I'll be ready to let these defects of character be removed,” then circle “maybe.”
c. If you feel that you are never going to be ready to let these defects of character be removed, then circle “no.”
16. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, on page 61, Bill Wilson shares:
“I remember comparing myself to a cancer victim. If I had cancer, I would do anything to get well, would I not? Yes, anything whatever.”
17. Please remember why we're going through R.A.'s Step Presentation. It would be insane for someone who didn't have cancer to subject himself to chemotherapy. However, somebody who has cancer is usually desperate enough to go through chemotherapy, because his doctor tells him that may help him get well.
18. We have an illness as devastating as cancer. If you can recognize that at some point you may need to become ready to let those defects of character be removed in order to save your life, then perhaps you can circle “maybe.”
19. If you realize you are definitely, at some point, going to be ready to let these character defects be removed, in order to save your life, then perhaps you can circle “yes.”
20. At this point, some of us said: “This can't be all there is to the Sixth Step. I heard that there were all sorts of additional things that needed to be done in order to do this step. I was told of questions or assignments that I had to do so that I could understand myself and this step.”
21. If it were up to us to remove our own defects, this might be true, but it is not up to us; it is up to God. The rationalization that is sometimes given for doing more is that we need self-knowledge to recover.
22. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 17, in the middle of the bottom paragraph, it says:
“But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.”
23. This makes it very clear that self-knowledge is not going to stop us from hurting others or ourselves. Self-knowledge may be nice to have. We may enjoy doing written assignments. We may enjoy finding out about ourselves. But, no matter how much we understand our illness or ourselves, we will not be able to stop hurting others or ourselves on the basis of that self-knowledge.
24. We have already read the entire Sixth Step from the Big Book. If there were more to formally going through the Sixth Step than what we have just done, if more were required, then there would be more instructions written in the Big Book.
25. It really is just this simple. Everybody who has circled “yes” or “maybe” for both columns has now done the Sixth Step.
26. You did not do a PERFECT Sixth Step. You don't have to. You will get better at it by continuing this process as part of the Tenth Step, which you will do on a daily basis.
27. Please remember one very important thing: in order for what you have done so far to have the desired result, you do need to continue on with the rest of the steps. It takes all of the steps to produce all of the result.
28. Next, we suggest that you keep following Dr. Bob's example, and, if possible, immediately continue on by formally going through Step Seven.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.