Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions


It is nowhere evident, at least in this life, that our Cre-
ator expects us fully to eliminate our instinctual drives. So
far as we know, it is nowhere on the record that God has
completely removed from any human being all his natural

Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural
desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed
their intended purpose. When they drive us blindly, or we
willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfac-
tions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the
point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that
God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of
our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.

If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions.
But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep
us that way without our cooperation. That is something we
are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He
asks only that we try as best we know how to make prog-
ress in the building of character.

So Step Six—"Were entirely ready to have God remove
all these defects of character"—is A.A.'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
drive to drink 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? In an ab-
solute sense practically nobody has it. The best we can do,