Step 6


Step six is one of the more opaque steps in a Twelve-Step program. Step Six as originally written says:

“We are entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.

In The Alternative Twelve Steps, step six says:

“Be entirely ready to acknowledge our abiding strength and release our personal shortcomings.

Principle: Willingness to change.”

In both cases, what we are doing is deciding that it’s time to do something about the problems we identified in steps four and five – taking inventory and admitting the nature of our wrongs.  Naturally, the next step is to determine that it is time to change those character flaws and move beyond our past wrongs.

Yes, but why does this require a separate step?

The reason that it’s important to recognize the willingness to change as a separate step is that without taking this action, it will be very difficult to maintain sobriety in the future. Addiction consumes our entire existence. In fact, sometimes, we can form our identity by who we think we are. Willingness and readiness to rid ourselves of our addictions, our unhealthy habits, and our moral failings thus requires another step. For if we are not willing to change, if we are not ready to rid ourselves of the things we do not like about our personalities, we will not take the actions necessary to make lasting and effective changes in our lives.

Preparation for the rest of the steps

Moving through Step Six allows those in recovery to ready themselves for the future. Those who have completed this step have determined that it is time to make lasting change. The addictive behaviors will no longer have a place in their lives, and discipline will be necessary for moving through the remaining steps. We are, after all, only human. If one is moving through the steps only as one would jump through hoops, hoping just to get to the end, then he or she is missing out on the crucial emotional work necessary for lasting sobriety.

Specifying intentions so follow-through is easier

In the sixth step, we are specifying our intentions, that is, we are saying, “Enough is enough. I need to make this change to move on, overcome these life-devastating addictions, and grow.” It’s important to remember that getting clean is a choice that we are actively making. Letting go of behaviors such as denial, manipulating, and plotting is part of this choice. By looking through our inventory and the shortcomings that we’ve admitted to ourselves, and deciding “no more,” we are making specific intentions that will carry us forward during the recovery process.

Taking the step that will lead you to long-term recovery

Change can be scary. It’s scary because we are comfortable in the places where we are. It’s scary because it requires us to get out of our comfort zones and foray into the land of the unknown. However, it’s important to become committed to lasting change in order to make your long-term goal of sobriety come to fruition.

If you’re looking for help in taking this step, please contact our office. We are here to support you throughout the entire recovery process.