Once you’ve taken a careful personal inventory and identified what your shortcomings are, it’s time to work at overcoming them. Before you can do this, make sure your mind and your heart are in the right place, and that you’re mentally and spiritually prepared to make some big changes. Step 6 of the 12 Step program is becoming entirely ready to have God remove your shortcomings. This Step, like all the others, hinges on the First Step, in which you acknowledge you can’t overcome your addiction without the help of a higher power. The idea of surrendering yourself to God and letting Him change you inherently fits within LDS principles.
In order to be entirely ready for God to remove your shortcomings, you have to give up parts of yourself that have grown out of control throughout your addiction. Fear, nostalgia, and complacency are just a few examples of persistent problems you may face as you try to make this change.
Usually, the fact that you have begun a 12 Step program and made it to Step 6 shows you are willing to make a change, but it can be surprising what old habits and ways of thinking will crop up as you attempt to move forward. In Step 6, you must confront your shortcomings one by one, and willingly decide to give each of them up and turn them over to God.
Shortcomings, or defects of character as they’re termed in the AA program, are almost always exhibited as an imbalance in the way we express and satisfy our basic needs. For example, ambition is a driving force in life, and it is necessary to be a productive person. But when a person is ambitious to a degree that is unhealthy, it can lead to substance abuse.
Asking God to remove your basic drive and desires is not the purpose of Step 6. Rather you are asking him to bring your needs into balance, and to help you to develop healthy ways of expressing them. You wouldn’t ask God to remove your ambition, but to help you to channel your ambition into healthy endeavors. Finding a balance in your expression of needs and desires will lift the necessity you feel to rely on substance abuse.
One Day at a Time
Striving for perfection all at once when working through the 12 Steps is not the goal of the program, and will only cause you undue frustration. Being entirely ready to have God remove your shortcomings is an ideal that you are working for, not something that needs to be accomplished today, or even in your lifetime. Don’t wait to move forward, even if you can’t do it all at once.
None of the 12 Steps, including number 6, will ever truly be completed to perfection, which is why the 12 Step program is a lifelong process that you repeat over and over. The best plan of attack is to take things one day at a time, or one minute at a time if you have to. After identifying a shortcoming, work on coming to terms with that one aspect of yourself, and preparing to give it up with God’s help. Then, repeat the process as you strive to become a happier, grounded person.