What is the Sixth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous?

The sixth step is the beginning of changing the behaviors and character defects that lead to our drinking in the first place. Those defects have kept us in bondage to our drinking. In looking at these behaviors and earnestly starting to change them we begin the journey to freedom. The sixth step states “Were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character”. As we begin to tame our self-centered will we start to feel less alone. Drinking requires that we isolate ourselves and the sixth step teaches us how to become part of the human race again.

Hopefully by now after having done the first five steps the idea of God isn’t so daunting. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) talks of “acting as if” or “bring the body the mind will follow”. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous also refers to how most alcoholics want to find an easier, softer way of doing this. We always want to take the easy way out of everything. The steps of AA do not allow us to take half measures. If after all that drinking has done to us, our family and our friends we still aren’t ready to do anything it takes to stay sober, than we are not ready to do this step either.

The list we made in our fourth step concerning our strengths and weaknesses is what we are now getting ready to give to God. In the fifth step we admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being what these character defects were. Now we ready ourselves to ask God to help us get rid of them. It is time to put to rest all those resentments we feel toward others. The anger that is a daily part of our lives has to go. Chances are by the time we do this step we have some sobriety under our belts. We have tasted what it is like to get up in the morning and feel good about ourselves. We have seen our family begin to relax as they learn that they can count on us again. For those of us that have lost our licenses due to drinking and driving, have them back or are close to it. If we have lost our job, we probably have a new one with a boss that trusts us to do the job right. Our lives have changed for the better and we are entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.

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