Alcoholism and the Sixth Step in Alanon - Ask God to Remove Character Defects

Can You Stop Nagging and Controlling Other People? What Other Character Defects Do You Have?

You can keep trying to control the alcoholic, or you can let go, and let God deal with them.  Which do you think is less stressful for you?
You can keep trying to control the alcoholic, or you can let go, and let God deal with them. Which do you think is less stressful for you? | Source

What is the Alanon Sixth Step?

For members of Alanon, there is a real sense of relief after you have done your Fourth Step inventory and shared it with your sponsor, as part of your Fifth Step. You now realize you may have exhibited some confused thinking in the past, and you also realize that you have some wonderful qualities as well. You have discussed all these strengths and weaknesses with your sponsor, and you have admitted them to God. Now, you are ready to complete your Alanon Sixth Step by admitting that you are “entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

If you have not had a relationship with a God of your understanding in the past, you may feel awkward asking an unknown God to remove your defects of character. That is OK. Say a simple prayer, anyway. In this way you are admitting that you need help from a power greater than yourself. This is a very reassuring feeling.

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Are You Ready to Have Your Defects Removed?

This may seem like a strange statement, but sometimes we are not entirely ready to have our defects removed. If you have decided while doing your inventory, for example, that one of your defects of character is nagging, being over-protective or trying to control the alcoholic, are you really ready to give up these defects of character? Or, do you still cling to the idea that the alcoholic really needs your help? Do you still believe that you are responsible for taking care of them and, because of that, you can’t stop being over-protective?

I have actually had other members of Alanon tell me, honestly, that they weren't quite ready to give up trying to "fix" the alcoholic or drug abuser. They often say "there are just a few more things I want to try first."

You are the only one who will really know when you are ready to give up your defects of character and be completely ready to stop trying to manipulate the alcoholic.

Hopefully, you have discussed these issues thoroughly with your sponsor as you worked on your Alanon 5th Step. Part of the process of going through the steps is to pray and meditate about our defects, until we know that we are truly ready to give them up.

We Can't Do It Alone

Does the Alanon Sixth Step say that YOU are going to remove your defects of character? No. It says that we are ready to have the God of your understanding remove them. This means that we need to be prepared for Him to remove them in His own time. The only part we have in this is that we need to be prepared to let Him.

Some people sum up the Alanon Sixth Step in this way: “I can’t; He can; I think I’ll let Him.”

In addition to the character defects that involve trying to control or fix the alcoholic, all of us know that we have other character defects that seem as much a part of our daily lives as breathing. We know what those defects are, and we know that we would be happier without them. We may be quick to anger, get frustrated easily, isolate ourselves when we are upset, or try to hurt others when they disappoint us.

By the time we reach Al-Anon, most of these defects feel as if they are part of us. They will not disappear overnight, and we cannot simply will them to go away. Gradually, God will open our hearts and minds and we will notice that these defects are beginning to have less of a hold on our thoughts and actions. We may never be free of them entirely. However, God will lessen the choke hold they have had on us … and that is good enough to improve our lives.

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Comments 9 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

Boy, I know I was ready for the 6th Step of AA...great hub, very useful and presented in an easy-to-understand fashion. Nice job!

moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Voted up. Very interesting hub full of information.

Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California Author

So much relief comes in doing this step. By the time you have reached this point in the 12 Steps, you have analyzed your own character defects. Now, instead of feeling guilt or blaming yourself, you turn them over to the God of your understanding to help you with them.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

I do believe it's important to have a close relationship with God and to seek his counsel in all things. I don't happen to believe alcoholism or substance abuse are character issues. They are more related to genetics and circumstances and sometimes people get started in an effort to fit in with people who have already allowed these weaknesses to take over their lives -- not character weaknesses, but genetic weaknesses. Most people who abuse substances and alcohol have a genetic predisposition to become addicted to these things. That doesn't mean they should just give up and let that weakness take over and run their lives. It does mean that they will have to work harder to prevent that from happening.

Sometimes people get started because they have a difficult time dealing with a difficult reality. Why anyone thinks substance/alcohol use/abuse will help an unpleasant or difficult situation I do not know. I have never been able to understand the concept of getting drunk to deaden the pain of a relationship breakup, job loss, or anything else. How does anything get resolved or improved that way??

Regardless of whether a person believes these things are character flaws or genetic flaws, God is indeed the one person who can help overcome the weakness successfully and permanently and help people to face whatever situation they must and hopefully work through it and resolve it, instead of trying to go around it and trying to pretend it isn't there.

Voted up and will share!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Anytime someone has any problem at all it is wise to include God in the solution. He can work wonders and he has a thousand solutions we can't even imagine. God is our greatest resource for all things. Shared!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

Agree completely, that it is best to let God direct our lives and to make improvements in us as well as in our lives as He sees fit. It can be very difficult to give that power over to Him, but when we do things just naturally get bette. Sharing.

Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thanks, Au fait. Yes, it can be hard to stop trying to control our lives and the lives of everyone around us, but it is worthwhile when we do ... and we end up much happier!

ezzly profile image

ezzly 23 months ago

Wonderful and supportive hub voted up and sharing on twitter !

Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 22 months ago from Orange County, California Author

Al-anon is such a wonderful program. It has many spouses, parents and adult children of alcoholics and drug addicts find some happiness in their own lives.

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