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?
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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