The journey toward addiction treatment and recovery is challenging, but there is support along the way. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been a lifeline for many individuals seeking sobriety and support. The 12-step program of AA provides a framework for personal growth and transformation. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Step 6 of the AA in detail, offering practical strategies and insights to take a strategic approach to recovery. If you are ready to take the next step toward a healthier and happier life, continue reading to learn more about Step 6 in Alcoholics Anonymous.
What is Step 6 AA and the Principles Behind It?
Step 6 of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) plays a pivotal role in the recovery process. It focuses on addressing character defects that are often at the core of addiction and personal struggles. To fully embrace Step 6, it’s essential to understand the guiding principles that underlie it and recognize its profound significance within the framework of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. If you’re looking for support outside of rehab, you can find AA meetings in Portland to attend.
Step 6 AA: “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Recognition of Character Defects
Step 6 begins with the recognition that addiction is often accompanied by harmful character defects. These defects can encompass a wide range of negative traits, such as dishonesty, selfishness, resentment, anger, and fear. Acknowledging these flaws is the first step toward personal growth and recovery.
A central principle of Step 6 is humility. Humility involves recognizing one’s limitations and vulnerabilities. It’s the understanding that no one is perfect and everyone has room for improvement. Humility, in step 6 of AA, allows individuals to admit their shortcomings without shame and with a willingness to change.
Take Time for Self-Reflection
This step encourages individuals to engage in deep self-reflection and introspection. It’s a time to honestly examine one’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and patterns of behavior. Through this process, individuals gain insight into how their character defects have contributed to their addiction and negatively impacted their lives and relationships.
Show Willingness to Change
Step 6 emphasizes being “entirely ready” to have these character defects removed. This willingness is crucial, as it signifies a readiness for transformation. It’s not enough to simply recognize flaws; individuals must actively desire and commit to change. This willingness sets the stage for personal growth and development.
Rely on a Higher Power
The reference to having “God remove all these defects of character” reflects the spiritual aspect of the AA program. While the term “God” is used, AA recognizes that individuals may interpret this higher power in their own way, which can be spiritual or not. The emphasis is on relying on a power greater than oneself to help in the process of transformation.
Realize it’s an Ongoing Process
Step 6 is not a one-time event but part of a continuous journey. It recognizes that personal development and healing are never-ending processes. As individuals work on their character defects, they must remain open to further self-discovery and improvement.
Prepare for Step 7
Step 6 sets the stage for the next step, Step 7, which involves asking a higher power to remove these character defects. It’s important to approach Step 7 with the readiness and humility developed in Step 6.
What are the Character Defects?
Character defects are deeply ingrained negative traits and behaviors that hold us back from personal growth and well-being while contributing significantly to addictive behaviors. These defects can manifest in a number of ways, each casting a shadow on our lives and those around us.
- Selfishness: This is when our actions are primarily driven by our own desires and needs, often at the expense of others.
- Arrogance: Arrogance makes us overestimate our abilities or importance while underestimating the contributions and perspectives of others.
- Dishonesty: Whether with ourselves or with others, dishonesty can become a destructive pattern that erodes trust and integrity in our lives.
- Impatience: Impatience might cause us to rush decisions or demand immediate gratification. It can hinder our ability to effectively cope with life’s challenges.
Recognizing and working on these character defects is an ongoing process of recovery. It involves self-reflection, accountability, and a commitment to personal growth. As we work on these defects, we not only break free from addiction but also get better at dealing with life’s difficulties, forming important connections with others, and finding long-lasting happiness and satisfaction. It’s a journey that requires patience, resilience, and the unwavering belief that positive change is possible for anyone willing to confront their character defects with courage and compassion.
What is the Importance of Step 6 AA?
Step 6 in AA is a significant milestone in the recovery journey. After you have examined your negative habits and behaviors in Step 4, Step 6 calls for you to embrace a readiness to eliminate these self-destructive traits. This step plays a crucial role in our personal growth and transformation.
By being willing to let go of our negative traits and behaviors, you open yourselves up to a world of possibilities for self-improvement and recovery. It allows you to get to the root causes of your alcohol addiction and address the underlying issues that have been holding us back.
But completing Step 6 isn’t easy. It requires a sincere and determined commitment to change. It asks you to honestly look at our flaws and admit them with humility. Getting rid of these deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving can be quite tough. It often means putting in a lot of effort and really thinking about yourself.
However, despite the difficulties Step 6 may pose during the journey, the positive outcomes it offers are extremely valuable. It doesn’t just promise sobriety; it also brings personal growth, better relationships, and a newfound sense of purpose in life.
How Do I Complete Step 6 AA?
Completing Step 6 in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) involves a process of self-discovery, reflection, and positive change. This phase encourages individuals to embark on a journey of personal growth and transformation. Here’s a more enhanced guide on how to complete Step 6 in AA:
These example questions can serve as a starting point for your self-reflection and discussion as you navigate Step 6 AA.
- What character defects have I identified in my Step Four inventory?
- Can I recognize instances in my life where these character defects have caused harm to myself or others?
- Am I willing to honestly admit to these character defects without reservation?
- How have these character defects contributed to my addiction and overall struggles in life?
- What steps can I take to develop greater humility in acknowledging my character defects?
- Do I genuinely desire to change these negative traits, and am I willing to take action to do so?
- In what ways has my addiction served as a way to cope with or mask these character defects?
- What strategies or practices can I incorporate into my life to address and overcome these character defects?
- How has my relationship with a higher power or spirituality influenced my willingness to work on my character defects?
- What positive changes do I expect in my life as I address these character defects?
- How can I prepare myself for Step Seven, where I will seek help from a higher power to remove these defects?
- Have I considered seeking guidance and support from a sponsor or fellow AA members who have experience with Step Six?
Two Effective Step 6 Tasks
Here are two effective Step 6 activities that you can engage in either independently or with the guidance of your sponsor:
- Character Defect Inventory: Start by making a list of all of your character defects, something you are already skilled at. Give a brief definition of each defect next to it. Then, think about how you behave when you act on these defects. What happens to you and the people around you when you do? Finally, imagine a better life without these behaviors and consider adopting positive values or principles in their place.
- Affirmation Development: Next, focus on each of your character defects and create three to five positive statements about how you want to be better. Repeat these positive thoughts out loud in the morning and before bed, as if you’re already an improved version of yourself. For example, if you have a problem with telling lies, you could say, “I always tell the truth now.”
These activities can help you understand and change your character defects as part of Step 6 AA in your recovery journey.
Step 6: AA Support and Guidance at Crestview Recovery
At Crestview Recovery, we understand the critical role that Step Six plays in the recovery process. Our comprehensive addiction treatment programs are designed to guide individuals through each step of the AA program, including Step 6. We provide a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals can engage in self-reflection, ask important questions, and take empowering actions to address their character defects.
Our experienced and compassionate staff is here to assist and support you on your journey toward lasting recovery and personal growth. We believe that by embracing Step Six and AA principles, individuals can find the strength to overcome addiction and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact us today!
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.