Bill Wilson said in his book, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions:
So Step Six—”We’re entirely ready to have God remove 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 compulsion and obsession to drink alcohol 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.
How many of us have this degree of readiness? The best we can do, with all the honesty we can summon, is to try to have it. Even then the best of us will discover to our dismay that there is always a sticking point, a point at which we say, “No, I can’t give this up yet.” And we shall often tread on even more dangerous ground when we cry, “This I will never give up!” Such is the power of our instincts to over reach them-selves. No matter how far we have progressed, desires will always be found which opposes the grace of God.
Some who feel they have done well may dispute this, so let’s try to think it through a little further. Practically everybody wishes to be rid of his most glaring and destructive handicaps. No one wants to be so proud that he is scorned as a braggart, nor so greedy that he is labeled a thief. No one wants to be angry enough to murder, lustful enough to rape, or gluttonous enough to ruin his, or her health. No one wants to be agonized by the chronic pain of envy or to be paralyzed by sloth. Of course, most human beings don’t suffer these defects at these rock-bottom levels.
We who have escaped these extremes are apt to congratulate ourselves. Yet can we? After all, hasn’t it been self-interest, pure and simple, that has enabled most of us to escape? Not much spiritual effort is involved in avoiding excesses, which will bring us punishment anyway. But when we face up to the less violent aspects of these very same defects, then where do we stand?
What we must recognize now is that we exult in some of our defects. We really love them. Who for example, doesn’t like to feel just a little superior to the next fellow, or even quite a lot superior? Isn’t it true that we like to let greed masquerade as ambition? To think of liking lust seems impossible. But how many men and women speak love with their lips, and believe what they say, so that they can hide lust in a dark corner of their minds? And even when staying in conventional bounds, many people have to admit that their imaginary sex excursions are apt to be all dressed up as dreams of romance. To be continued…
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