To me, Step 6 is the crux of the program. This is where the actual change starts to happen. It’s like we get the diagnosis in steps 1-5, then we start working on making the changes — and immediately realize we need a lot of help with this, which is what step 7 is about. Then, once we start living a new way, we can realize how far off track we were. And it’s this awareness, plus the new behavior, that allows us to go back and clean up the mess in steps 8 and 9. Then, as my sponsor likes to say, we’re all caught up with where normal people are!
But J said it best about asking the question “How is this defect working for me?” Maybe at one time I needed to lie and steal to get by, just like I needed to get stoned to get by. That’s not the case anymore. So I can ask myself, “How does it work when I lie, steal, or get high?” The answer, of course, is not real well. And if I ever doubt that, I can go back and read steps 1 and 4.
For me, it’s been about cultivating my inner (god-given, I believe) sense of what’s right and wrong, and learning to listen to that voice. A perfect example is that one of my employers pays me by the hour, and it’s up to me to track the hours and invoice them. There is always this temptation to work 10 minutes and bill for 30, and they’d never know. But I would, and for that extra 20 minutes of pay, I’d lose a lot of peace of mind, and I’d live with fear and anxiety. So, again, how would that work?
That’s how the steps allow us to make different decisions, which is what this step is about. There’s another great quote in the MA book: “Our newfound awareness was making it impossible to comfortably continue our character defects.” Or something like that. (Among my defects is that I’m too lazy to get the book and get the quote right!)