February 26, 2024

Understanding the 6th Step of the 12 Steps

The 6th of the 12 Steps states, "We're entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." Go in-depth on this transformational step.

understanding the 6th step of the 12 steps

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Kirsten Andersen

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on February 26, 2024

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removed all defects of character

The Turning Point: Why Step Six Proves Pivotal

The 12 Steps serve as a framework for healing and growth for those working to overcome addiction. As individuals progress through the steps, each one marks a pivotal milestone. The 6th Step states,

“We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

This step signifies a turning point, where one transitions from acknowledging flaws to readiness for change.

Unveiling Step Six

Step Six states, “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” This asks us to take stock of our flaws, commit to change, and seek help from a Higher Power.

The Meaning of "Readiness"

Becoming “entirely ready” is no small feat. It requires earnest self-reflection, willingness to change, and openness to outside help. Individuals take inventory of behaviors and attitudes that have driven their addiction. This step is not about beating oneself up but developing insight and accountability. 

Seeking Help from Within

Readiness also encompasses spiritual and emotional preparation for growth. One seeks a power beyond themselves and commits to the often challenging transformation process. This willingness set the foundation for steps to come.

Examining Inner Flaws

“Defects” refers to the destructive behaviors and mindsets underlying addiction. Step Six starts the demanding process of recognizing how these patterns have harmed ourselves and others.

Laying the Groundwork for Growth

Crossing the Threshold

Step Six bridges the gap between insight and action. While previous steps fostered self-understanding, Step Six translates this into readiness to change. It cements motivation to work on flaws actively. 

Laying Solid Foundations

By nurturing willingness and openness to grow, Step Six paves the way for the action-oriented work of subsequent steps. It provides the spiritual and psychological foundation to start uprooting destructive patterns.

Integrative Healing

Becoming “entirely ready” speaks to the multifaceted nature of recovery. Step Six highlights the need for healing and growth emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. This step aims to transform us wholly by demanding rigorous honesty and humility.

Navigating Roadblocks Along the Path

Working Step Six often surfaces significant roadblocks that can derail progress if addressed. By exploring common hurdles and strategies for overcoming them, we can nurture the openness this step requires.

Understanding Our Shields

Facing the 6th Step can surface many roadblocks like resistance, fear, and misconceptions that sabotage progress. 

Some assume instant perfection, presuming recovery happens all at once. In reality, it unfolds gradually through consistent effort. Others may resist asking for help, feeling they should handle it alone. However, support is instrumental in overcoming addiction.

Patience, self-compassion, and using one’s community can help navigate hurdles. The 6th Step is not meant to be a solitary endeavor. Understanding recovery as a journey allows us to persist through the ups and downs.


Separating Fact from Fiction

Step Six also falls prey to common myths that distort progress:

  • Recovery is Instant: Transformation occurs slowly through daily practice, not overnight epiphanies. Each small effort compounds, but expecting perfection quickly leads to frustration. Progress flows from self-love, not self-blame.
  • No Personal Responsibility: Asking God to remove our shortcomings does not absolve us of responsibility for the work. While admitting powerlessness over addiction, we must also rigorously inventory our patterns and their roots. With the humble willingness to change, we then invite guidance.  

Strategies to Support Our Growth

Step Six asks us to surrender what no longer serves, making space for the seeds of wholeness to take root. To nurture such growth:

  • Share openly within the community for strength and wisdom
  • Work closely with sponsors and mentors
  • Reframe self-improvement as an act of self-care  
  • Celebrate incremental progress


With consistent nurturing and fellowship, the soil of the spirit grows ever more fertile, allowing willingness to blossom.

Living Step Six Daily

While Step Six sets the stage for growth, we must explore ways of living its principles through daily actions. The soil has been tilled; now, we will sow the seeds of change.

Listening and Learning

We can find inspiration and diminished isolation by hearing fellow sojourners share experiences with Step Six. Listening to what surfaced for them – perhaps control issues, buried trauma, perfectionism – helps us feel less alone. We also pick up wisdom for the walk ahead.


Simple Practices

  • Daily reflection to deepen self-awareness 
  • Discuss patterns candidly with sponsors and mentors
  • Make lists of behaviors needing change
  • Praying for willingness and humility
  • Recognize backsliding without self-blame

Together We Heal

Transforming engrained patterns requires ongoing support. By sharing honestly within fellowship groups and regularly checking in with our guides, we sustain commitment when willpower wanes. Give and receive encouragement; stay anchored in the proven process.

Together, we narrow the gap between intention and action. With consistent nurturing, the seedlings of step six stretch toward light, becoming vines that lift each other higher. What flowering, what fruit might this new garden yield in our lives?

Carrying the Flame Forward

While Step Six fuels willingness to grow, developing true spiritual depth depends on continuing to walk the spiral staircase of Steps. How do we carry Step Six momentum into Step Seven and beyond?

Passing the Baton

Step Seven explicitly asks God to remove shortcomings revealed during Step Six. By granting willingness first before directly seeking divine intervention, we reflect the classic “Let Go, Let God” mantra of 12-step recovery.

Steady and Slow

Understanding progress as nonlinear prevents disillusionment. Change occurs in increments; expecting sudden transformation will only frustrate. Maintaining realistic expectations helps us celebrate small daily wins that compound over the years into lasting change.

With Patience and Persistence

We must remember that backslides will happen; they do not indicate failure if we persist with honesty and compassion. Again, we focus not on giant leaps but gentle daily renewal – the commitment to show up with willingness despite ups and downs. Progress flows from self-love, not self-blame. 


Together, we walk the spiral path toward awakening. May we proceed with open hearts, surrendering expectations to the beholder of days beyond our sight.

In Fellowship, We Rise

Through Step Six exploration, we distill that progress depends on willingness yet eludes lone travelers. At Cornerstone Healing Center, the community nurtures the seedlings of intention into fruits of positive change. Still, the journey presents challenges requiring tremendous courage. 

By consecrating readiness to place principles before personalities, inviting humility despite pride, and leaning fully into a process beyond mortal design, we are ready for ascension. What vistas await along the skyward trail where wings of surrender lift the horizons of suffering selves? 

To all walking this spiral labyrinth toward liberation, take heart. Yes, the pain will come as spiritual bone, once fractured, now reset. But just ahead, joy infuses light in long-darkened chambers of being. Newcomers will materialize from the wilderness, parched for the oasis of self-love. Your cupped palms will greet them.  

Keep trudging, my friends, loyalty to truth a shining lantern. With help, hurting heals; defeated, we overcome; downcast, we brighten. Each forward step smooths the way for the next sojourner. Progress lifts all. Here, swallowed in fellowship, bathed in the utmost compassion, broken terrain transforms into sanctuary. Let this be enough for now. Together, we prepare the highway.


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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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