My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

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betterthanyesterday
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My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by betterthanyesterday »

I am a bit confused...
I have worked the steps and continue to take daily inventory. I have felt and seen changes in my life...better attitude, less guilt, less overall resentments. I loveee AA and am very involved trying to help others. My problem is this..... although I pray everyday for CD's such as jealousy, fear, suspiciousness to be removed and feel they went away for quite awhile after working my steps, they are still with me. I think for some reason I am wanting to hang onto them and not putting complete willingness and conviction into my praying even though when I pray I feel like I am doing so. Maybe my hanging onto them is a way to protect myself from future pain. I don't know.
My sponsor doesn't think this is any big deal and just "life on life's terms" I guess as I don't get much input when I bring this up. (Without me getting too specific)...Another member told me the only CD's we have are the 7 deadly sins and all the other "150" ones come from them and unless I ask specifically for one of those 7 to be removed, I won't have them removed. This only confused me more and this person told me I need to rework the steps which I dread doing. I feel cloudier than I did before I got sober. Although I am extremely grateful to have over a year of sobriety.
My mom said I am just trying to figure out my life. I should ask her what she means by that. Since she told me that, I have wondered if maybe it is meant for me not to completely forget the bad things in the relationship that happened because my HP has something else in store for me and it is the only way to get me to make changes.
Any suggestions? I have been pretty down and confused lately. Still going to meetings and thank God for them.
Thank you.

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ann2
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by ann2 »

Hi! Great topic. I can sure relate. My sponsor used to tell me, "Don't be so eager to get rid of your character defects -- the newcomer needs something to identify with." In other words, if these things are useful then the only thing we are really hanging onto is pride, as in, "I should be better than that."

Sacrifice being your ideal. That's a wonderful way of showing willingness to walk the walk. Every time I do a tenth step and roll my eyes at myself, I'm reminded that I'm human. Hey! Who'dathunk.

I heard once that someone who had followed a path to salvation asked his spiritual teacher, "what do I do now?" and the answer was "Go forth and sin boldly!" Not sure what that really means but it resonates with me still.

Basically, the steps are an ongoing program. My old service sponsor loved to point out that this quote from page 84 says "when", not "if" (particularly to me for some reason): "Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help."

Thanks for your great share and congrats on your sobriety!!!!! :D

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Brock
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Brock »

Welcome here bty, here is a quote from p. 65 of the 12 & 12.
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.
I think the most important line, one which our new forums coordinator Paige uses as her signature is – “content with patient improvement.” The passage says the key words are “entirely ready,” well it looks like you are more than ready good for you, but we must be patient, which of course does not mean we don’t work on them.

This is something I struggled a lot with myself, at first I hung on to some because I enjoyed them, justified them as well, I still do but nowhere as much as a couple of years ago. Your praying each day for what you call CD’s (lovely abbreviation), of course is a good thing, and I think one person trying to tell another how to pray is presumptuous, but I can say what I find works. For me asking for things, even good things like removing CD’s does not work well for future events, so I do it only when the defect is either about to happen, or is happening. If my mind drifts on to something I fear might happen in the future, I try to stop the thought and just say something like “sorry God I forgot to trust you with that,” any words like that, and the thought and fear go away. I have found the more I do it the less often the thoughts return. Same with things like resentments, maybe I am thinking in a bad way of someone who I should have forgiven, I try to stop as soon as I realize what I am doing with a short prayer, just a few words and it goes away.

As for the advice you got to rework the steps, don’t blame you for not being too keen on that, although many people here have written that this is a good thing. My own feeling, and Ann indicated the same thing, is that we are more or less reworking them anyway, #1 is required pretty much 100% if I should ever have to remind myself that I am powerless over alcohol then I have reworked it, same for all the others without hardly noticing it we are reworking them, right now we are talking 6 & 7, to my mind when I do a short prayer as discussed above I have reworked them. For me 10 covers 4 (inventory), and 8 & 9 we see we are wrong and say sorry, only five if the need arises to rework it, then I would tell someone about something bothering me.

You sound so much on the right path it is refreshing to hear, helping others and doing the right thing, it is good to have you here.

Brock.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Tom S »

Me too!
But, for me, that is the whole point of learning this new way of life.
My CD's linger, but more importantly, they no longer dictate my choice.
You have showed me that by faithfully practicing these principles in all of my affairs I, too, can have a spiritual awakening.
Today I can practice kindness, tolerance and love. Doesn't mean I am always able to do so, but I have found this profound shift in my psyche to strengthen as I faithfully do what you showed me works. Things get better, relationships are restored, and I am able to help others as directed. My CD's become relatively benign, so long as I remain spiritually fit.
Personally, pages 82 to 88 read on a regular basis are pretty darn helpful.
Tom

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PaigeB
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by PaigeB »

Betterthanyesterday said: This only confused me more and this person told me I need to rework the steps which I dread doing. I feel cloudier than I did before I got sober. Although I am extremely grateful to have over a year of sobriety.
Oh how I identify! I got REAL "hinky" around my year! But why would you dread doing the Steps again? When we sponsor others we go over them again and again and I always learn something new and exciting! I especially like reading the 10th Step stuff. Oh and I am researching meditation and attempting to practice it more frequently. Whatever it is, I gotta get jazzed about something or it all goes stale and the end of that road for me is "WHY NOT DRINK?"

So I ask my sponsees, "What haven't you been doing? Add something or look for a different view on something. Talk to newcomers at the door & sit by them in meetings. Get some District service work on a committee or on any upcoming Thanksgiving preparations to feed the poor. You can also search out a Big Book Study or a Step Study."

Gotta focus on the Love. Get jazzed up about sobriety & pass it on. :mrgreen:
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Tosh
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Tosh »

'Failure' is an inherent part of any spiritual path. "We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection"; this infers we'll have setbacks and failures.

And, even if I could be rid of all my defects, what would that look like? Weird I guess. And would the newcomer relate to me if I were perfect? I doubt it. It would therefore hinder my primary purpose and I wouldn't be able to be as useful to others.

Today my ego got the better of me and I ended up doing a 16 mile run (instead of the planned 12 miles) and ended up feeling tired and physically stressed for a large part of the day. The knock on result was that little things that wouldn't ordinarily annoy me, did. I 'bit' my daughter for not closing the bathroom door (I feel embarrassed typing that - another defect). Other times I just bit my lip and shut up (I 'paused when agitated'), cross at myself for being cross over tedious stuff.

Tomorrow is another chance to try again.

I'll just keep coming back.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Layne
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Layne »

My character defects have been taken away, but because I have free will, I frequently reach out and take them back. I recognize when I do and because I have free will, I ask for them to be removed again and they are. Character defects and my taking them back are a touchstone for learning about my free will and thereby improving my spiritual condition.

Stepchild
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Stepchild »

You don't need to rework the steps BTY....I don't see that anywhere in the directions. Read pages 84 to 88 everyday for awhile....The directions for steps 10 and 11. It's all there. Keep helping alkies....All is good. You're doing great!

betterthanyesterday
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by betterthanyesterday »

Thanks everyone for your encouraging as well as helpful posts. I really appreciate it!
(And hi there, Stepchild....this is really a great board, isn't it?)

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avaneesh912
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by avaneesh912 »

As long as you are identified with your mind, you will not be able to overcome this monster. Books like Power of Now helped me overcome this. Its going beyond your mind, that will help you forgive you and others. Until that, we all will be caught in this vicious cycle which may lead us back into squirely places.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Stepchild
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Stepchild »

avaneesh912 wrote:As long as you are identified with your mind, you will not be able to overcome this monster.
I have to disagree with this. I think it has more to do with staying spritually fit. We do that by practicing these principles...Steps....In all our affairs. Practice is just that....Practice. Thank God we don't have to be perfect at it.....We just have to do the best we can. If we can fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us....We'll be just fine.

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avaneesh912
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by avaneesh912 »

I have to disagree with this.

Nobody has to agree with anything. I am sharing my experience here and if that helps the OP, great. If not, its totally fine with me.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Stepchild
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by Stepchild »

I apologize....
As long as you are identified with your mind, you will not be able to overcome this monster.
This sounds like an opinion to me. I prefer this...
Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use.

BB pg 86
That's just an opinion also.

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avaneesh912
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by avaneesh912 »

No need to appologize. In my case, my mind would still replay the old drama even after doing the fifth with 2 sponsor and a counsellor. There were some deep scars that simply sharing with others wouldn't help. Thats when "Power Of Now" concepts started to sink in and came to realize the true self, which is not the mind, but something beyond. When I see "Betterthanyesterdays" post, I could totally see what is going on. And this is not something I would bring up with someone who is brand new to AA.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

betterthanyesterday
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Re: My Character Defects keep hanging on for dear life

Post by betterthanyesterday »

I am going to look through my books here....I have The Power of Now as well as another of that author's books. I love him! It has been a long time since I read them and if I cannot find them, I will order the one you mentioned....thanks so much!

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