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Step 6 of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA for short, is a program designed to help those struggling with alcohol addiction achieve recovery. Its support groups and 12 Step methodology can also be helpful for those who are working on maintaining recovery. Step 6 of Alcoholics Anonymous involves one becoming willing to ask a higher power for help in their change. Oftentimes, this step can only be taken after one has completed the other steps and has performed an honest evaluation of their past behaviors.

What is Step 6 of Alcoholic’s Anonymous?

Step 6 Alcoholics Anonymous says, “We became willing to ask God to help us remove our defects of character.” In brief, this Step is about understanding and acknowledging that one cannot achieve change without the assistance of some kind of higher power; whether that power be a deity or some kind of secular driving force, like inspiration.

Before getting to Step 6 you first have to admit that you have an alcohol problem, explore the concept of higher power and begin developing a relationship with your higher power. You also have to look honestly at yourself and your shortcomings so that you can get ready to ask God to remove them. So, this challenging step, which is the culmination of all the work done beforehand, asks one to admit that he is powerless over all of his negative behavior, not just his drinking, and consider turning these behaviors over to his higher power. This can be scary or embarrassing just like when the alcoholic admitted he was powerless over alcohol in the first place. However, the step doesn’t ask you to turn over your defects yet – it just asks you to become willing to do so.

Ways to Approach Step 6

Understand that Step 6 is a Recurring Process

Many may struggle with understanding that Step 6 isn’t a one-time event. Some may believe that once they perform Step 6 for the first time, they no longer need to return to the Step. However, Step 6 is a continuing process, one that may need to be performed several times. Understanding that acknowledging that one needs assistance in working towards change can be necessary at several points in one’s journey to recovery is pivotal for having realistic expectations.

Reexamine your Outlook

A common problem that may cause trouble for some working on Step 6 is the belief that the Step focuses entirely on one’s behavior. This is often not the case, as the outlook and attitude one has towards seeking and accepting help can play a significant role. This can be frustrating for those who want controlled, regimented steps to fix a problem. Some helpful methods for improving your outlook would be to have an open dialogue with yourself. Every morning when you get up, ask yourself whether you feel willing to turn your negative qualities over to your higher power. Before speaking, ask yourself if what you want to say is positive and based on a belief that your higher power will work things out or negative and based on self-will.

Talk with your sponsor or therapist.

An outside person can help you see where your attitude needs adjustment. Talk to your sponsor and/or your therapist about your defects of character. Be open to hearing feedback. Whoever you talk to should let you know if you’re seeing a true defect of character and whether you are approaching it with a helpful attitude or not.

step 6

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction

Help for alcohol addiction is easy to find, but it is not always easy to ask for. Overcoming an addiction to or a dependency on alcohol can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but if you’ve made the decision to stop drinking you’ve crossed the most important hurdle in your recovery.

If you’re ready to get help with alcohol addiction, visit the AA website to find a support group near you. There are also many secular programs that may help you achieve or maintain recovery.

However, if you or a loved one need detox support or addiction treatment, you may benefit from attending treatment at a dedicated rehab facility. American Addiction Centers (AAC) operates treatment facilities nationwide, with navigators standing by 24/7 to help you get admitted into treatment. Our addiction helpline may also be able to help connect you with rehabs near you. To speak to an admissions navigator, call .

Next: Step 7
Last: Step 5



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