Sunday, April 24, 2011

Character defects

One of the greatest challenges in ongoing sobriety is to repeatedly confront the same character defects over and over again. Or, more accurately, the consequences of those same character defects -- especially if you have really tried to address them via the tools offered in Alcoholics Anonymous.
It has been my experience (my painful, embarrassing, experience, actually) whenever I am in that place again, that my real problem is twofold:
The first is that I am looking at the result and not the process. In other words, it is easy to want to have money in the bank, but where I need to ask for HP's help is in spending differently. It is easy to want to get to work on time, but the focus should be on the willingness to go to sleep at a decent hour and get up at a realistic time to actually get ready and go. It's easy to want a different body, it's hard to be willing to eat differently or become disciplined about exercise.
My character defect is really not in the result, i.e. the bank balance, the tardiness or the numbers on the scale ... my character defect is to be found somewhere in the process.
The second thing -- and somehow I have found that although, logically, it doesn't appear related to the above, it actually is in powerful and unfathomable ways (cue spooky music) -- if I'm applying the principles and ideas from the 12 Steps to these things, the main point of the 7th Step (which, for the new kids, is "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.") is about humility -- not the shortcomings. Not the defects.
I need a constant reminder of this, since, in certain areas I keep trying to make it about the problem, and not about a spiritual solution -- which I reach via humility.
Frankly, on some days it seems like this whole thing would be a lot easier if we could just scrap this "humility" thing altogether.

But apparently, some people have tried that.

From what I understand, they can be found down at the bar.

NOTE: I did not write this. It's much too well-written and thought out for me to take credit.


Pammie said...

LOL I don't know that I've ever met a humble person in a bar.

Steve E said...

The commonality of alcoholics (more spooky music) in which I feel identity, is not in how loftily spiritual another is, or how magnificently they are working the program (although that can be helpful). It is when relating your character DEFECTS, that I can shake my head in a self-knowing "yes", and repeat with my sponsor how (again) to change.

Thank you.

Syd said...

Great post. I like that they can all be found down at the bar.

cynthia said...

loved it, thank you !