What Are Character Defects And Where To Find Them??

 

How To Tell What Your Flaws Of Character Are and Why It Is Important To Remove Them To Stay Sober

 

 

“Because alcohol is encouraged by our culture, we get the idea that it isn’t dangerous. However, alcohol is the most potent and most toxic of the legal psychoactive drugs.” – Beverly A. Potter and Sebastian Orfali

 

We are as sick as our secrets. This is 100% true in all aspects of life for each and everyone of us – alcoholic or not. If allowed, ego will take control over our thoughts, our actions, our lives, of everything. When this does occur we become very sick; mentally sick. The ego driven mind overrides all other thought patterns and changes the main goal from helping others to hurting and causing pain and anguish to others.

The uncontrolled ego will always convince us our actions are on point. Ego lies to us and causes our mind to find justification for the hurtful and selfish actions.

Now, being in this secretive state of mind, we are living without spirituality in our lives and have instead allowed our character defects to nest again. I have always related my character defects with my fears. My stubbornness manifested as a result of my feelings and fear of new situations and change. My greed and envy were a result of a fear I had developed of not having enough. My arrogance from my fear of vulnerability, my impatience from my fears of missed opportunity and self-destructive and self-deprecating due to a fear of losing control.

It is good to become aware of your defects of character because without awareness there can be no acceptance and without accepting these truths of who I am and what my flaws are, I have no hope for any type of change or desire to improve myself and in turn my life.

Our defects of character don’t require our attention too awful long though. We must move to rid ourselves of them by Step 6 from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, asking our Higher Power to remove all the defects of character. Then we may begin to move in freedom. You see, if the defects of character are like the bars of a cage, then we are not meant to stay imprisoned to study the bars, but to free ourselves from the cage by removing them one by one.

 

“We repeat what we don’t repair: – Christine Langley-Obaugh

 

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions tells us on page 63 “This is the step that separates the men from the boys.” And that is correct as long as a true willingness and honesty is there.

Choosing the attitude and approach of “No Reservations Whatsoever”, the obsession to drink along with a readiness to have character flaws stricken and removed has occurred and been testified to by many an alcoholic.

The character flaws can be tricky though. When I first set out to identify my character defects I was not sure where to begin. How did I know what they could be? How could I tell if I had any? I was more than confused. I have since been able to pose a single question to myself that has been very helpful in identifying my defects of character.

Is this thought, feeling, attitude something I would teach my children to think, feel, or believe? If the answer is NO – then I have discovered a character defect.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions instructs me that I am “born with an abundance of natural desires” and “it isn’t strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose.” Pg.65. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the fine line exists between the degree of perfection “God” wants and allowing those desires to “drive us blindly” to demanding more pleasure than we are due.

 

Once again, as with everything else I have discovered on my recovery journey thus far, Step 6 is a journey not an event. I may hope and strive to have all my defects of character removed but maintain a realistic expectation that this will take require the passing of time, patience on my end, willingness and faith, and above all – honesty.

I have always felt that I am supposed to be something more than what I have been up to this moment. There is a greater purpose for my existence beyond anything I could possibly imagine. The best I can do today is to “try” to have the readiness and willingness to go to any lengths to have the flaws removed.

For today I inquire of myself as to what flaws and defects I do have and to find those I can usually look back on my actions. If I focus on my actions and behaviors I know to be wrong, less than desirable, self-serving, those selfish or hurtful behaviors; I can then see the connection to my fears. My fears reveal my defects of character.

 

“Delay is dangerous, and rebellion may be fatal.” If I am truly ready to walk in the direction of reshaping my life, I must always maintain an open mind and the brutal honesty required to see my true self, good and bad.

 

Do I Tell People Why I Stopped Drinking? – Progress Not Perfection

 

How do I handle social situations where alcohol will be there and I might be judged? – What do I say to non-alcoholics?

I will go to social gatherings where people are drinking and I am at a point where the alcohol doesn’t bother me, but what bothers me is how others treat me because I am not drinking.  I am not bothered to the point I want to drink over it, but it is annoying, really annoying.

I understand that this is everywhere across the board.  I have a niece who is a vegetarian and my in laws would always make a huge deal about it to her and put a negative cloud around the fact she did not want to eat meat.  They made a point of making ridiculous comments and asking her idiotic questions.  I felt so much sorrow for her in those situations.  Especially because this started when she was still a teenager.

“Oh, you’re a vegetarian?”, “That is just so weird.  Oh my goodness is it okay if I eat my sandwich in front of you now?”, “Do you think we are murders now?” type of comments.  It was very apparent they did not understand or approve of her choice and made it known without literally telling her they thought she was making a horrible choice.  People fear what they do not understand or that which makes them uncomfortable.

When you are not doing what is expected or is the social norm at the time, the reaction is usually unpleasant.  I have experienced this in my sobriety.  It is good to have ways to cope with that now and go into a situation expecting some of those

reactions from people who are not alcoholics and still drink socially.  I am optimistic and do not assume anyone is going to treat me differently, but I am now prepared for it if and when the situations and comments present themselves.

I now have the expectation that, yes not drinking isn’t the social norm, yes I might get some stare, yes I might be asked questions a few times.  I am not ashamed of saying I do not drink because I am an alcoholic.  If anything I feel quite the opposite.  I feel empowered and a sense of freedom when I respond to those questions with honesty about my sobriety and recovery.  

I have even had wonderful opportunities for some amazing conversations with fellow alcoholics, addicts, or those who have loved ones and friends suffering from the disease of alcoholism.

I am proud of where I have been and where I am now.  During my alcoholism I struggled with shame all of the time.  I was ashamed of the fact I couldn’t drink and even felt, in the beginning, that it was this weakness.  Now I don’t see it like that at all.  Again, I am very proud of where I am today and I can answer those questions with no hesitations.

I can look at them,the non-alcoholics, and realize they are being the asshole.  I have walked out of the shame corner.  I now have a different mindset thanks to sobriety and working my 12 Step program.  My reaction now is somewhere along the lines of this:  “Clearly you have a problem if you feel compelled to carry this conversation with me any further than what I told you.”

Prepare yourself before to receive blessings.  Look further into life for richness.  I cannot expect great things to happen in my life if I am not preparing to accept great things to happen in my life.  For me, it starts within myself.  You have probably heard “it’s an inside job” thrown out around the halls of AA a time or two or even in various addiction and alcoholism recovery programs.

It might be a cliche, but the truth is the truth and it really is an inside job.  If I just expected things to happen in my life without being open and ready to accept them, then it won’t happen.  Even if it does happen, I won’t be in a place where I would even recognize the blessing for what it is because I haven’t prepared myself and accepted that good things can and will occur in my life now.

 “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  –   Henry Ford

 

This quote is amazing and for the person I am now, very eye opening.  It reminds me, in the past where I have failed to recognize or take advantage of opportunities that have presented themselves, I do not have to do that anymore.  I can choose to believe nothing good will happen to me and live my life unable to see opportunity or hear it knocking at my door.  Instead I choose to be open minded, believe, and accept the possibility and the reality of better situations, opportunities for success, and take action.

I believe in “progress not perfection” and continually improving my outlook and it is so worth it and my choice to believe and take action to live this way just like everyone else.