We became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you, take heart my commands. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Proverbs 3:1-2 The Message
“A fault which humbles a man is of more use to him than a good action which puffs him up.” - Thomas Wilson
One of the payoffs of our recovery effort is seeing how our previous Twelve Step work pays dividends. Our recovery work becomes our second best friend, (our best friend is God and His grace), when we persist with it. Referring back to the personal inventory that we did in Step Four and the journaling that we did after we admitted our wrongs in Step Five will give us a good bit of insight as to how the defects in our character manifest themselves. Our previous work gives us a platform from which we can see our emotional and mental landscape from a broader point of view. Our character defects will appear in bold print when we are ready to see them and do something about them. Recognizing our shortcomings shows that we are seeing ourselves in a more honest and sincere way. Identifying our flawed thinking, misguided believing and self–centered acting is vital for the future of our recovery and our lives. This is an incredibly important part of our recovery effort.
Here are some questions that can help us get a better view of how our character defects can be hidden away in the plain sight of our everyday lives.
Do I have difficulty asking for help? Pride
Am I in debt or do I prefer my desires over another’s desires? Greed
Am I upset because someone is more capable or privileged than me? Envy
Am I afraid? Fear
Who am I mad at? Resentment
What am I mad about? Entitlement
What is my first thought when I encounter an attractive person? Lustfulness
Do I feel the need to please someone other than God? Approval seeking
Do I get frustrated when others don’t act as I want? Controlling others
Do I fear being alone? Dependency on others
Am I uncomfortable around others? Isolation
Do I feel nervous for no particular reason? Insecurity
Do I prefer to be at work when I should be elsewhere? Being a workaholic
Do I feel the need to keep certain facts about myself secret? Dishonesty
Am I eating in an unhealthy manner? Gluttony
Am I upset when things I want are available to others and not me? Entitlement
Do I procrastinate? Laziness
Do I believe my life will change without me changing? Fanciful Thinking
It is quite easy to feel recovered, to get complacent and to forget the insidious nature of our addictions. We must never forget that there’s still some very important work that needs to be done. There are more questions to be asked. Monitoring ourselves and recognizing our character defects provides us with a very caring and loving insight for our own lives. How have our character defects impacted the lives of others? Did our selfish and prideful actions turn out well for us or for anyone else? Do we now display kindness and goodness? Why not?
Honestly recognizing real world outcomes will provide us with improved personal judgment for our present and future actions. Forgetting these important lessons learned is catastrophic for anyone who is attempting to recover from an addiction.
Insights and Inspirations for Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer and The Men and Women of Operation Integrity
Chapter Six Segment Six
Copyright David Zailer, 2008
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