It says on Page 64 of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 Steps and 12 Traditions that “each sober AA member has been granted a release from this very obstinate and potential fatal obsession.” What a gift to be free of the daily, sometimes hourly obsession of our behavior. WE actually get to live “normal” lives. It has been proven over the 79 years [AA’s Birthday is June 10, 1935] that recovery is doable. The wisdom of this sage program demonstrates that the real freedom comes from “doing,” especially steps four through nine [written work with a sponsor]. Six and seven are right in the middle of this transformative process.
No healthy person wants to be thought of or labeled as a braggart, as greedy, as a liar or as a thief. No one ever wants to be angry enough to murder or lustful enough to rape. Most folks never hit that level of rock bottom but oftentimes people in active addiction do and the resulting guilt and shame lasts well past the behavior, in fact they can last a life time. Ask anyone who has ever killed anyone while drunk driving to see that residual pain lives long past the hangover. I recently read about an odd study conducted by a website that was created to assist married people in their quest to be unfaithful in their marriages. Over 25% of their patrons label themselves as “Evangelical Christians,” so what’s that about. Many people speak of fidelity while they have lust in their hearts. That lust is often camouflaged as dreams of romance. The website’s researchers concluded that the ability to ask for instant forgiveness actually acted as a duck and cover for bad behavior. How about that for a get out of jail card? But their character defects are still there, getting in the way of a normal healthy life.
In order to do a successful Step Six we have to be willing to look under every rock and in every corner of our lives to get honest about what parts of us we can keep and what pieces of us need to go away. This examination is by no means easy. This action brings a feeling of having real moral strength. For the first time we are facing our real selves. We have developed the spiritual courage to change our whole outlook on life. Most importantly is the fact that this step is not a one and done step. Willingness ebbs and flows as does our self-will. We must stay open and vigilant to this as an on- going process. As it says in the AA Big Book that “God could and would if He was sought” and to seek is a verb. It takes action.
In The Little Red Book it reads on Page 77 “Restoration of our mental and spiritual health is in direct proportion to our recognized need for help and our willingness to work for recovery.” All I can say at the end of the day is do the work and get free. Take a look at the list of character defects below and take a minute to take your own inventory. Then ask someone you love, admire and trust to do the same for you. That takes heart. Take a long hard look and then decide. Ask yourself Who do I want to be? What legacy am I going to leave behind? It’s up to you. If you want to talk about it give me a call. The miracle of a new life is right in front of your eyes. It works, if you work it.
On Cyber Recovery you can find the “The Eight Deadly Defects of Character” adapted from D. Anderson, PhD.
- Dishonesty, lack of authenticity, wearing a mask
- Pride, vanity, need for things to be “my way”, need to always be “in control”
- Pessimism, gloomy disposition, being stuck in a “victim role” (this is closely associated with anger, bitterness, and resentment)
- Social, emotional, and spiritual isolation
- Sloth, laziness, passivity, living the unexamined life
- Gluttony, unwillingness to self-discipline, need for the “quick fix”
- Self-debasement, excessive self-denial and self-sacrifice
- Greed, lust, envy, materialism
If you can identify with these character defects, we need to talk! We can help you, you are not alone!