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How to Work Step Six | 12 Step Program Tips & Worksheets

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

The 12-Step Program is a popular recovery program that helps many people sustain lasting sobriety. If you’re working the 12-Steps, you’re likely already part of a community group called a fellowship. These groups provide much-needed support, accountability, and guidance as you work through each step. In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at Step 6, with explanations, tips on how to work Step 6, and links to additional resources and Step 6 worksheets that may help you along the way.

What are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Why Is Step 6 Of the 12-Step Program Important?

Step 6 is important because it is the culmination of all the work you did in steps one through five. It requires that you accept your shortcomings, develop a positive and healthy attitude, and be fully willing to change.

In a nutshell, step six asks you to admit that you are powerless over all your negative behaviors, not just your drinking or drug abuse, and consider turning those over to your higher power. In all the previous steps, you worked hard to admit you needed help and start developing a relationship with your higher power. Then, you took a good hard look at yourself to identify your shortcomings and prepared to ask your higher power to remove them.

So, you might be wondering, “Why can’t I just stop drinking?” Good question!

In short, if you just stop drinking, you’ll never address the underlying personal issues and character deficits that contribute to your harmful behaviors. While you may stay sober for a time, when you’re inevitably faced with challenging circumstances or powerful emotions, you may not have the tools to handle them and you could relapse. You might also become bitter or resentful, making for a very unhappy sober lifestyle.

Although Step six doesn’t ask you to hand over your shortcomings to your higher power just yet, it does ask you to be willing and ready to do that. That’s one of the reasons it’s often a difficult step for people in recovery.

How Should I Work Step 6 of the 12-Step Program?

If you’re just beginning to work Step 6 of the 12-Step Program, you should talk with your sponsor or counselor. He or she can provide an outside perspective and valuable feedback that may help you determine where and how you can make changes. Otherwise, here are a few helpful tips to get you started.

  • Focus on your attitude. One of the most important aspects of Step 6 is establishing the right attitude. Instead of being negative about recovery and focusing on what you can do yourself, trust your higher power to help you accomplish what you need to do. Make yourself humble, accept that you’re not (and never will be) perfect, and just be willing to make changes in your life.
  • Know that you’ll do this step more than once. It’s impossible to deal with every character deficit at once and this will likely be a lifelong process. However, instead of focusing on changing everything about your deficits at once, try focusing on one or two main character deficits at a time. Thankfully, you don’t have to be perfect to fully recover from addiction. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
  • Be specific about your character faults. Lots of people deal with anxiety, anger, and other personal issues, but unless you get specific about the underlying causes and consequences of these character deficits, you’ll never be able to fully address them. Fully explore these issues to give yourself the best chance at accepting and moving past them.
  • Practice acceptance. Even though it’s hard, do your best to look at yourself honestly and accept the things that have played a role in your addiction. By accepting these things and handing them over to your higher power, you’ll be one step closer to letting go of the past that was dictated by your addiction and be empowered to start over.
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    Printable AA Step Six Worksheets

    Many people also use printable worksheets to help them through each step of the 12-Step Program. When you’re ready to start working Step 6, here are some online resources that may help. You can also get Step 6 worksheets from your addiction treatment provider, counselor, or sponsor.

    Who Can Help Me Work the 6th Step of the 12-Step Program?

    Trusted individuals like your addiction treatment provider, counselor, or sponsor are all available to help you work Step 6 of the 12-Step Program. If you haven’t gotten sober yet, but you’re ready to make a change, Briarwood Detox Center can help.

    We offer all kinds of detox programs for alcohol and addictive drugs to help you break your physical dependence and start over with a fresh new beginning. The caring members of our staff will intentionally design a detox program to meet your individual needs before helping you through the challenging physical and psychological aspects of withdrawal. We also provide H&I meetings, which will introduce you to the 12-Step Program and provide opportunities to connect with sober peers and sponsors. After detox, we’ll be here to guide you into the next stage of treatment.

    We work with several different insurance providers to make sure detox is affordable and convenient. When you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. Please contact the professionals at Briarwood Detox Center today for more details.

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