Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
The individual's primary negative assets that they used to support or satiate their broken instincts are known as “Defects of Character”. These defects have the semblance of assets. They seem to be valuable process tools to protect the Addict from:
1. Losing what they believe is theirs
2. Not getting what they believe they need
3. Protecting their reputation, security, or freedom
These are delusions. Lying, manipulation, anger, judgement, cheating, dodging, extorting, stealing, yelling, hiding, running away, controlling or any other defective character trait actually harms the Addict and others in their life disastrously. The challenge is that they believe they are getting away with their plans and objectives and their supportive ideals are the broken character defects. They can’t imagine why everyone seems to step on their toes seemingly without provocation. They feel misunderstood and desperate.
Once the person has completed their 5th step with you or a trusted friend, their defects of character should be listed and obvious. They should have come to the conclusion that they have NOT been supportive, but rather destructive. It is now time for them to come to the conclusion that:
1. Defects lead to destruction
2. Principles lead to prosperity
It is time that they surrender these old ideals and trade them in for a new set of principles such as honesty, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, courage, humility and diligence. There are many but these are a few. Each life moment will require the human being to either use a defect or a principle to navigate the situation to conclusion. They will NOT be able to abandon their defective nature over night or perfectly ever. This is a life time of continued effort to simply do better each day, but the journey begins with a surrender to the concept that their defects are NOT helping or wanted:
Step 6 Big Book Work
1. Read chapter 6 “Into Action” pg. 76 (1st paragraph)
2. Write out a complete list of your defects of character
3. Ask yourself and explain in writing how these defects are not helpful
4. Ask yourself if you are ready to give them up for something better
5. What does the word “all” mean?
If the person is ready to make a change then invite them to verbally commit to the concept of surrendering their defects of character to the Higher Power that they have established.
Step 7: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings
The Explain phase of the Skill Transfer process requires a surrender. It requires that the student relinquish control to the teacher that is going to conduct the transfer. In our sobriety journey so far we have made several surrenders.
1. We surrender to the idea that we are addicted to our substance(s), person, place or thing
2. We surrender our will and lives over to the care of a Higher Power or Process that is outside of ourselves
3. We surrender our ego and share our life story with someone and allow ourselves to be vulnerable
4. We surrender our defects of character to our Higher Power or Process that is outside of ourselves
Each of these concepts of surrender required 3 conditions:
1. Honesty - with ourselves mostly
2. Open Mindedness - we needed to open our mind to the idea that we didn’t know the truth about our condition or the world around us
3. Willingness - we needed to be willing to take the action (even if it didn’t make sense or was hard to do)
Step 7 is another powerful and important surrender step. It is the point at which we “declare” our decision to trade our defective character traits for principles. The feeling may be one of “I won’t get what I need if I am good all the time”, but that is a lie. We want to be happy, full of joy, respected, confident and not afraid. Our principles are designed to guide us along a path to this exact destination. Our defects are designed to destroy. It is the great lie. We are deluded. We think that we are justified in our anger, or if we can get away with the lie no one is hurt, or that some things are worth running away from in fear. It is our disease manipulating and isolating us from the truth. So many loved ones have complained about our behavior, but we want them to judge us for what we “think or imagine or have secretly done” we want to be judged for the false evidence of our facade. We can NOT cope with the truth.
But after the 5th and 6th step we are ready to surrender these old ideals. They are worthless. Even more accurate, they are completely destructive and dangerous to keep in our life.
Humility is the key stone word.
What is humility: lack of pride, vanity or self importance. The ability to agree to the concept: “I don't know”.
The humble student surrenders to the learning process and confesses, I don’t know. As you come to the process in humility, your mind opens to new and correct ideals. You are available for Skill Transfer. The egocentric or self-centered pride centered human says, “Yes I know but...” They are the belligerent student. They are unavailable to learning or growing. They spend all of their time in defiance of the truth. This is a state of block. This is why a great tragedy or painful experience is sometimes a welcome bed fellow for a new Addict. It stomps their ego into submission and opens their minds to new potential.
So as we complete the 7th Step initiative, we do it in humility. We may be nervous, or concerned with the loss of old ways, but ultimately we are about to be catapulted into the 5th dimension of consciousness. A great joy is waiting:
Step 7 Big Book Work
1. Read “Into Action” pg. 76 2nd paragraph
2. On a pad of paper describe what it would feel like to have respect, trust and a sense of esteem
3. Opposite of your defects, write the corresponding principle. ie: dishonesty - honesty (complete for all defects)
4. Purchase a set of index cards and write the defect on one side and the principle on the other
5. Memorize your 7th step prayer, meditation or mantra
6. State the mantra with your Sponsor or Coach
7. Say the mantra each morning
8. Shuffle the cards and pull out one. Read the defect (this is what you will be working on today - practice the principle)
This is the action required on the individual's part. They will complete the Step 7th step work and then PRACTICE their principles. Tell them: "Don’t try and not tell lies, practice telling the truth. Don’t try and not be afraid, practice having courage." Say the prayers and practice the principles. Each day the world will give them a chance to practice doing better. As time continues their honesty, diligence and confidence will grow. With practice, accountability and reflection they will be changed. It is dependable.