Published by North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc.
1661 E. Chapman Avenue, Suite 1H
Fullerton, CA 92831
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
STEP SIX OF AA: TURN IT OVER
Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step program of recovery is all about the removal of what doesn’t work in our lives anymore. Since you have completed Step Four and Five you surely have plenty of things that were revealed to you about what you need to get rid of!
So now it’s time to allow a Higher Power to cut out these attitudes, beliefs and behaviors at the source. You get to partner up with your Higher Power and make a firm decision to let go of the character defects and flaws that have been ruling your life and seemed to have you hell bent on self destruction.
The sixth step can bring about significant and very noticeable change when it comes to the thought patterns and behavior that have been with us for a long time. It doesn’t happen overnight obviously, and there is nothing like perfection when working the twelve steps of AA. It’s about making a commitment and being content with patient improvement.
BREAKING DOWN STEP SIX OF AA ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
When breaking down Step Six I like to focus more on the word “ready” than entirely; nobody is ever entirely ready, especially for the unknown. However the word “ready” is a reminder that we are prepared, open and available. Now we can aim at the very best of all we know or can learn.
In previous steps we discovered how we harmed ourselves and other people by acting out on our character defects. We learned about patterns in behavior and that we are likely to act the same way with the same defects over and over. All of this knowledge helped us to become ready to have these defects of character removed.
So now, at Step Six, we’ve reached a spiritual state of mind where we are aware of our character defects, sick and tired of them and pretty confident that a higher power of our own understanding will remove what should go.
CHARACTER DEFECTS: SHORTCOMINGS YOU’RE READY TO LET GO OF
While working on Step Six we learn about the humility it takes to see ourselves more clearly. We see that character defects and instincts work hand-in-hand.
We were given instincts to help us stay alive. However, when our abundant instincts or desires far exceed their intended purpose, motivate us to act blindly, or make us willfully demand that we be supplied with more satisfactions than are possible or due, they then become character defects.
It’s important when looking at your character defects in Step Six to remember the basic nature of all human beings (which is the same for all of us). We all have needs and we try to get the met; how we go about getting them is where defects come into play.
To be clear, “defects of character” does not mean you are defective, or that you are a bad character. In fact, instead of seeing your faults and failings as defects, you should reframe it as “shortcomings” that can be address and worked on.
When we get to those issues deep down that caused the addictions and behaviors then real long-lasting change occurs. We can make a real effort to heal the underlying core mental and emotional issues that have caused limiting and/or destructive behavior.
When you’re ready to let go, some of the most popularly destructive character defects or shortcomings, usually include: fear, pride, dishonesty, gluttony, greed, lust, jealousy, grandiosity, willfulness and anger.
If we are completely honest with ourselves we have to admit that sometimes we exult in some of our defects- they feel good and we really kinda love some of them! But we have seen time and time again that changing addictive behavior no matter how difficult it seems is possible. The overwhelming task is much easier when broken down into tiny incremental steps.
PUT THE ANVIL DOWN: STEP SIX QUESTIONS & ACTIONS
In Step Six of AA we get to put the anvil down. For many of us recovering addicts carrying around the weight of some pretty heavy shortcomings not only slows us down in the progress of our recovery; it also puts us at risk for relapse.
We’ve had these defects we’re about to let go of for a long time so there’s probably a measure of fear about changing-because change means the unknown and the unknown is part of why we drank or used. It’s important to keep a sense of hope and trust in the program and the process of recovery that has worked on even the most deeply rooted character defects.
Here are some questions to help guide you through Step Six:
What are your fears about doing a sixth step?
What does it mean that a “higher power” can remove them?
What is your responsibility?
Do you believe you can change? Have you changed so far?
Are some of your character defects enjoyable because they give you pleasure?
Are there any defects that you think cannot be removed? Are you willing to have all of them removed- if not why?
How does surrender help with Step 6?
What actions can you take to show that you are entirely ready?
Here’s are two great Step Six activities that you can do alone or with your sponsor:
Make a list (which you’re already so good at!) of each character defect of yours, including a very brief definition of it. Then list the ways that you act out behaviorally on the defect and the effect it has on yourself and others when you do. Lastly, write about what your life would be like without the behavior and what principle you may be able to apply instead.
Create Affirmations: Take each major character defect and write three to five positive statements about living differently. Repeat these affirmations aloud in the morning and evening (word them in the present tense, as if you’ve already conquered the defect.) For example if “lying” is the defect you could write: I am now telling the truth in all matters.
STEP SIX: ABANDON LIMITATIONS
“When a person is capable of enough wiliness and honesty to try repeatedly Step Six on all his faults-without any reservations whatever- has indeed come a long way spiritually…” (12 &12)
While working on Step Six try not to beat yourself up if you can’t conquer every single one of your defects immediately (or even over a longer period of time). You’re a work in progress and you should be happy about your success so far. Celebrate each little victory; keep an open mind and a positive attitude through your journey.
Spirit meets us at our point of action, so remember, don’t try- DO!
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
"An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose."
On behalf of A.A. as a whole, our General Service Conference has the principal responsibility for the maintenance of our world services, and it traditionally has the final decision respecting large matters of general policy and finance. But the Conference also recognizes that the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of these matters should be exercised primarily by the Trustee members of the Conference when they act among themselves as the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous.
* Live email links embedded as permitted by NOCCO Service Board members
NOCCO Service Board Nominations for 2022-2023
Nomination Deadline: Friday, June 3, 2022 @ 11:59pm
Election: Wednesday, June 8, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Leadership in A.A.: Every A Vital Need
(Excerpts from Bill W's article in the April 1959 Grapevine.)
Somewhere in our literature there is a statement to this effect: "Our leaders do not drive by mandate: they lead by example." In effect, we're saying to them, "Act for us, but don't boss us..."
Therefore, a leader in A.A. service is a man (or woman) who can personally put principles, plans, and policies into such dedicated and effective action that the rest of us want to back him up and help him with his job. When a leader power-drives us badly, we rebel; but when he too meekly becomes an order-taker and he exercises no judgment of his own - well, he really isn't a leader at all...
Good leadership originates plans, policies, and ideas for the improvement of our Fellowship and its services. But in new and important matters, it will nevertheless consult widely before taking decisions and actions. Good leadership will also remember that a fine plan or idea can come from anybody, anywhere. Consequently, good leadership will often discard its own cherished plans for others that are better, and it will give credit to the source...
Good leadership never passes the buck. Once assured that it has, or can obtain, sufficient general backing, it freely takes decisions and puts them into action forthwith, provided, of course, that such action be within the framework of its defined authority and responsibility...
Another qualification for leadership is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully whenever a proper compromise can cause a situation to progress in what appears to be the right direction. Compromise comes hard to us all-or-nothing drunks. Nevertheless, we must never lose sight of the fact that progress is nearly always characterized by a series of improving compromises. We cannot, however, compromise always. Now and then, it is truly necessary to stick flat-footed to one's conviction about an issue until it is settled. These are situations for keen timing and careful discrimination s to which course to take...
Leadership is often called upon to face heavy and sometimes long-continued criticism. This is an acid test. There are always the constructive critics, our friends indeed. We ought never fail to give them a careful hearing. We should be willing to let them modify our opinions or change them completely. Often, too, we shall have to disagree and then stand fast without losing their friendship.
Copyright by AA Grapevine, Inc; excerpted with permission.
Become a member of NOCCO InterGroup Association
Does your home group have a voice? Each individual AA group is entitled to representation in the Intergroup Association, yet of the 681 meetings in North Orange County, less than 40 have an InterGroup rep. Every AA group in North Orange County is automatically a member of this Association.
What are my duties as an InterGroup rep? Attend one monthly meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of each month for an hour. The InterGroup meeting is currently HYBRID on Zoom and/or in person at the NOCCO office in Fullerton. Vote on behalf of your group's conscience on issues presented in North Orange County. Bring any issues to the meeting that may affect AA as a whole or specific issues that need attention in our community. Vote in the election of the NOCCO officers, join a committee and report back to your group all the information and happenings with your local Central Office.
NOCCO Hotline - (714) 773-HELP (4357)
We are available 24/7. All calls are confidential. Phones answered by sober volunteers.
Pride Month Special
June 2022 Price
$10.00 plus tax
In this passionate collection of Grapevine stories, you’ll meet sober LGBTQ+ AA members who share their personal struggles and hard-fought triumphs over alcoholism. The stories in this book show that―like most alcoholics―LGBTQ+ AAs struggle to fit in, stay sober and find peace in their lives. But by working the Steps, following the Traditions, doing service, and finding a Higher Power, they are now living sober in the Fellowship of AA.
The message of Sober & Out is that every LGBTQ+ alcoholic in recovery travels their own path to the doors of AA. Some of the authors collected here didn’t realize their sexual orientation until after getting sober. Others knew who they were but were reluctant to share. What is truly important is AA’s primary purpose of getting sober and helping other suffering alcoholics. As one AA recounts: “When I told my sponsor I am a lesbian, she said ‘So what? You want to get sober, don’t you?’”
Own a piece of A.A. History for $20
NOCCO is raffling a first edition Big Book, 10th printing from August 1946, with a beautiful cherrywood display case. Tickets are $20 each. Drawing will be held at the 2022 Founders Day Community Event on June 11th.
All proceeds benefit North Orange County Intergroup Association and will help us to continue carrying the message of sobriety within our community.
The 2022 Founder's Day Community Event, formerly known as our Old-Timers Event, will honor those who came before us.
- Live Music
- Food Trucks
- Sobriety Countdown
- First Edition Big Book Raffle winner announced
Do you have something special to report for our monthly neighborhood notables? Please email birthdays, celebrations, sober activities and other odds and ends to firstname.lastname@example.org.
InterGroup Meeting - June 8 @ 7:30pm
Please join us at the next NOCCO InterGroup Meeting. InterGroup Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm.
To help support local essential services, the General Service Conference suggests that individual groups, through an informed group conscience, adopt a specific contribution plan. Click below to see all of the Group Contributions from previous periods.
Statement of Financial Position
Each month, NOCCO provides accounting detail of income and expenses to indicate net profit or loss over the last month. This information is available to any group or member. Click below to see the financial detail from last month.
A Tribute to My A.A. Superhero and Grandpa, Chuck H.
On June 29, 1973, Chuck H. found himself being poured into St. Jude Hospital. He wasn't an alcoholic, nor was he a Catholic. He didn't know what he was doing there. Soon after, he found himself at a speaker meeting in Fullerton. He tried to hid but a man from the podium said, "Chuck Harper, I've been saving you a seat for five years!" That man was Mike R., who soon became Chuck's sponsor.
In the first year of Chuck's sobriety, Mike took him to meetings from Skid Row to Laguna, the whole time telling Chuck to "Sit down, shut up and listen." In his first year, the old timers at the "Old Dog on the Roof" meeting at Ivan Millers would make him sit on a bench. They even had the audacity to tell him, "If your lips are moving, you're lying!"
Over the years, A.A. tamed Chuck into a grumpy old pussycat. Many a night or weekend he could be seen spending time in his backyard working steps with sponsees or listening to the latest A.A. gossip. He was firm and direct. Chuck told the truth as he found it in the Big Book and what he learned from his sponsors.
At nine months sober, he awoke to realize that alcohol is not ... and never was his problem ... it was the solution to the problem called Chuck! A.A. is not about how to quit drinking - it is learning how to live without drinking. Those beliefs kept him sober a long time.
He had many experiences. One of the most profound and well talked about was a business trip he took to Japan at around 12 years sober. Every time he went on a business trip, he promised to take an A.A. meeting every night there was not a business meeting. Well, on this particular trip, he went 10 days straight without a meeting. Needless to say, he had two choices ... drink ... or get on his knees. He got on his knees.
The next day found Chuck at a Buddhist Shrine. At the egging of a fellow businessman he had his fortune written. "You will have divine assistance, so that all troubles depart and only happiness remains. If you are earnest and sincere, succoring the weak and comforting the poor and if you are prudent, humble and upright, all will go as you wish. BUT ... if you succumb to fleshly pleasures or drunkenness, suffering will result." He would say that this was the best description of the 12 steps he had ever heard.
Chuck believed in Service. He had done everything from washing coffee cups to being a GSR. He was one of the founders of the 705 club and was very instrumental in the success of the Orange County Convention; in 1989, he was Chairman of the convention. Chuck loved the OC Convention as well as the So Cal Convention. One of his favorite To Do's from the podium was to take out the 20 questions and switch the word "Drink" with the word "Think" His favorite was, "Do you ever think alone?"
There were three things that Chuck would preach at every meeting and thank God he believe them for a long time.
- Go to a meeting every day and don't drink.
- Read the Big Book everyday and don't drink.
- Talk to another alcoholics every day and don't drink.
If you do those three things, he would say, you may not get drunk.
I am writing this today in memory of my Grandpa and to spread a little of what he gave me and how he helped to save my life. I have got to give back what he, A.A. and you have given to me as well. Chuck loved me when I couldn't love myself. In his final days he would have me read Chapter 3 (his favorite) and the Promises. He loved the Promises.
When Chuck first got sober, he had the privilege to record a lot of the famous bands of the time, one being Blood Sweat and Tears. He sat in on a recording of a song that would later become his gratitude for what people like you and A.A. did for his life. That song was "You make me so very happy. I'm so glad you came into my life." We miss him everyday.
NOCCO Appreciates Your
7th Tradition Support
Even though meetings, 12-step services and operations have shifted to a hybrid environment, expenses continue as we navigate the re-opening of meetings, which underscores the importance of practicing the Seventh Tradition. We still stock literature, handle 12-step calls around the clock, and assist those with a desire to stop drinking. Your generous support is critical and appreciated.
Mail Checks To:
North Orange County Intergroup Association (NOCCO)
1661 E Chapman Avenue - Suite 1H
Fullerton, CA 92831
GSO P.O. Box for Contributions Only
Post Office Box 2407
James A Farley Station
New York, NY 10116-2401
72nd GSC Advisory Actions
Progress Report 5th Edition Big Book
The committee reviewed a progress report regarding development of a Fifth Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The committee requested that a progress report or draft manuscript be brought back to the 2023 Conference Committee on Literature.
Progress Report Plain Language Big Book
The committee reviewed a progress report regarding the translation of the book Alcoholics Anonymous (Fourth Edition) into plain and simple language. The committee requested that a progress report or draft manuscript be brought back to the 2023 Conference Committee on Literature.
Progress Report AA Preamble Change
The committee discussed the wide-ranging impact the AA Preamble change has had on the Fellowship. (From "men and women" to "people"). The committee felt that after careful consideration of Fellowship feedback, it would be premature to quantify the impact when many A.A. members are still either uninformed or ambivalent about the change. The committee emphasized that at every level of our Conference process there is a reciprocal responsibility of all A.A. members and trusted servants, of participation and communication, to embrace the guiding principles of trust and transparency.
Progress Report on A.A.W.S. LinkedIn Page
The committee reviewed a progress report on the LinkedIn page implementation and an update from the senior digital communications analyst. The committee requested that a progress report be brought back to the 2023 Conference Committee on C.P.C. and suggested that it include the following content:
- An additional cadence strategy that increases the number of posts per month developed over the year.
- A strategy of posting often, to increase the search result ranking.
- Posts targeted to professionals on topics such as A.A. anonymity,
- Self, Support, cooperation without affiliation, and our public relations policy.
Progress Report New Grapevine Literature
The committee agreed to forward to the AA Grapevine Corporate Board the suggestion that Grapevine produce in the year 2023 or later.
- Best of Dear Grapevine (working title) Previously published letters from the pages of Grapevine by A.A. members which were printed in the magazine’s letters section,
- Dear Grapevine.Book for Newcomers (working title)Previously published stories by A.A. members sharing helpful tools and suggestions during their first year in sobriety.
- Best of La Viña II (working title) (La Viña book)Spanish-speaking A.A. members share their experience, strength and hope, from the pages of La Viña.
- Prayer & Meditation (working title) (La Viña Book)Previously published stories by Spanish-speaking A.A. members sharing about the many ways they practice Step Eleven (possibly including some translated stories from the GV version).
I am Responsible.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there.
For that, I am responsible.
Thanks to all contributors who support NOCCO.
© Copyright, 2023, North Orange County InterGroup Association of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups, Inc. • 1661 E. Chapman Avenue - Suite 1H, Fullerton CA 92831