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

Updated on April 26, 2017
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah has several alcoholic relatives. She became active in Al-anon, for families of alcoholics, over 37 years ago, often helping others.

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 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 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 you need help from a power greater than yourself. This is a very reassuring feeling.

As a member of Alanon nearly my entire adult life, I know how freeing it can be to turn our lives, our problems and our character defects over to God, as we understand Him.

This Book Can Be Your Guide Through All of the Al-Anon Steps

Al-Anons Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions
Al-Anons Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions

The 12 Steps of Al-Anon are based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This book will helped me understand all the steps as well as the traditions of Al-Anon. I often refer back to it whenever I have a question about Al-Anon.


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? 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 were not 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 we are truly ready to give them up.

We Can't Do It Alone

Does the Alanon Sixth Stepsay that YOU are going to remove your defects of character? No. It says we are ready to have the God of our understanding remove them. This means we need to be prepared for Him to remove them in His own time. The only part we have in this is 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 which involve trying to control or fix the alcoholic, all of us know we have other character defects which seem as much a part of our daily lives as breathing. We know what those defects are, and we know 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. We may also gossip, say hurtful things sometimes, or not take care of ourselves.

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 wish them away. Alanon teaches that God will open our hearts and minds and we will gradually notice 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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Deborah-Diane


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    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      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.

    • ezzly profile image


      4 years ago

      Wonderful and supportive hub voted up and sharing on twitter !

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      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!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 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.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 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

      C E Clark 

      6 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!

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      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.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      Voted up. Very interesting hub full of information.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 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!


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