So Step Six (Step Six continued)

So Step Six- “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”-is AA’s way of stating the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job. This does not mean that we expect all our character defects to be lifted out of us as the drive to drink was. A few of them may be, but with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement. The key words “entirely ready” underline the fact that we want to aim at the very best we know or can learn.

I’ve wrestled through the years with “entirely ready.”  At first, when I first grasped the concept of what was being asked of me here, I figured that I would not ever be entirely ready and so I couldn’t work the program.  There were things I knew I did wrong, mostly relationships in which I didn’t do my best or bad habits, like procrastination, that I embraced, and  I was unwilling to even look at those as far as change.  I’ve heard other new people voice this same concern.  I see it as a bit of a cop out, even as I understand it completely.

If only I could live forever, I could get to be so good at all this.  I’ve learned the hard way and the not so hard way to be open and try for my best.  When I don’t, I suffer, sometimes a lot and sometimes a little.  Countless times it comes down to finally doing what I knew all I along I ought to do, but was not entirely ready to do.  Concept likes “no pain, no gain” ring painfully true, and it usually is a measure of my pain that determines my willingness to to be open and try.

So entirely ready is expressing the attitude that it’s best to take in order to begin.  As the years go by and the beginning recedes, new character defects and variations on old character defects become apparent.  So too have I had years of experience that have taught me on a gut level that it does work and it is worth it.  I can see new knowledge of things that are not right with me as a good thing these days, because I know these defects have hurt and hampered me and that I can work in meaningful ways and achieve real improvement.  Even as I engage in the bad behaviors, I’m aware of the alternative.  Maybe it’s similar to the way AA will “ruin” your drinking.  It has also “ruined” the self-justification and closed mindedness that can keep me happy in my shit.

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