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Post Info TOPIC: Character defects


MIP Old Timer

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Character defects
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I did my step 5 a while ago as well as Step 9, etc. I work my Step 10 daily and to my Step 11 work too.

I still notice my character defects like impatience, selfishness, fearfulness, pride, dishonesty, carelessness, procrastination, self-pity, sloth, and about 10 zillion others really ruling the roost. I mean, I pray and share with my sponsor about it, etc and continue to make amends where I can. But I can't shake these defects. I've seen their consequences this week at work in full force.

I've heard guys in the rooms saying that we're powerless over our character defects, that only our HP can remove them in the HP's time. I've heard others saying the exact opposite, that no, WE'VE got to work to remove them. My sponsor, sensible guy that he is, kind of comes out in the middle. He says "pray, but God is not going to make your bed." I kind of think that there is where I am on it.

Keen to know other's views and where they have seen their character defects go over time and how.

Steve


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AGO


MIP Old Timer

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I think they are removed when they no longer serve us, hard to explain, but when I concentrate on the problem, the problem increases, when I concentrate on the solution, the solution increases

Praise Allah but tie your camel to a post, or Like your sponsor says, God doesn't make your bed

So rather then trying to have my defects removed, I look at having them replaced with the healthy opposite/same/mirrored action

Chuck C explains it a lot better then I do in a New Pair of Glasses, but what I resist, persists, the actual character defects I have had removed were removed with no effort on my part, many of the defects I have worked on are still around.

Jack Kornfield talks about treating your mind like a puppy, when it wanders, just bring it back to where it is supposed to be, don't yell at it, don't scold it, don't beat it, just keep picking it back up and bringing it back to where it is supposed to be, so rather then concentrating on the defect, looking at the right action has borne some fruit

Also step six in the 12 and 12 has some great insight on this.

I am no model of virtue, and by god I still possess a few howlers but I am willing to have all them lifted root and branch, and many many many of my bad ones and even many of my not so bad ones have been, progress not perfection.

This is also when periodic "time lapse spot check" 10th steps come in handy

when last I drove by this bench I used to drink at I was:

and checking the progress of our lives by a static unchanging object, I went there when I got out of jail, after cheating on my gf, during pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization, at one year of sobriety and my life was____, at 2 years and my life was____

It's slow going but the defects get removed in and of themselves when we realize how harmful they are to us IMO.

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Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night, light a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life


MIP Old Timer

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Hell yes, I still got 'em. But they are kept in check most of the time, come to the fore when needed and sometimes run out of control.

My sponsor said that character defects are character attributes on vodka - in other words they are a negative or harmful extreme of something that can be good.

For example - stubborness can stem from determination gone to extremes. Arrogance is self confidence gone over the top. See what I mean.

At least you (and I) spot the buggers earlier and DO SOMETHING about 'em.

Your HP will guide, will let you have your character defects back to learn from (pressure test), but i believe I have to put the work in.

So far God hasn't provided me with an obscene amount of money. So far I haven't bought a lottery ticket either. But, my HP enables me to live without the riches of croesus.

Trust in God, but keep your powder dry.

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MIP Old Timer

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Hey STEVE P!First thing  I find important is going back thru your work ,your previous 5 steps and check for leaks..Are you truly surrendered?,do you believe that your HP  is restoring you to sanity?,are you turning both your will and life over to the "care" of God,?Was it really searching and fearless?Were you able to locate the"exact nature" of your admission? if all looks good,the its time .Are you "entirely ready"in other words to  behave differently than you have in the past?Is it still ringing self-will in certain areas,your own way?Step 6 is all about 'Willingness"The recogniton of the problem(anger,self rightousness any defects you still enjoy?)enables you to do something about it..Remember literature tells us "delay is dangerous and rebellion may be fatal!!Continualy moving towards God 's will for us is te point were heading toward. The key here is"entirely ready" got any reservations going on?You know "well its not really that bad,you know he made me mad,or You know I desreve that, etc..You know it was  only step 1 where we made 100% admission that we were powerless over alcohol and that can be practised with perfection.Step 1 is the only step that mentions the addictive substance or object of our compulsion(alcohol) and our problem with our powerlessness,all the next 11 steps deal with the solution,a series of actions that will solve the problem and will be a life long endeavor.This step is really never completed because we cannot achieve a perfect willingness to have God remove our defects of character.We are fallen ,human beings with many defects and shortcomings,but that does not mean we ever stop trying.We continue to pray for willingnes and when we are satisfied with how we are approaching this step we can talk with our sponsor and pray for willingness...Dont forget it is God who does the removing in His way and timetable,this is also a renewal of our 3rd(turning over) and our 2nd continuation of restoration to sanity.I end with a prayer,understand this is never complete and go to 7.The blessings for me in the solution is I am always working toward my HP'S will and to me that is my ultimate goal be as close as I can humanely be to my God and I believe everthing else will fall into place,My God wants me to be everything He intended me to be ,but He leaves the details up to me and I do the work..Work hard Steve,stop at each testing and "use spiritual principles asking God for help.Is it easy? no,is it doable? absolutely......Through Him all things are possible!smile

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Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.


Veteran Member

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I think the first step is the fact that YOU notice them.

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Oblong


MIP Old Timer

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Hi There Steve,

When you started your Post with:

"I did my step 5 a while ago as well as Step 9, etc. I work my Step 10 daily and to my Step 11 work too."

Years ago, I was sort of ease dropping on this man that I admired, he was speaking to all three of his Sponsees at the same time. And he said basically, no, you cannot just skip ahead, but you can always go back, and then sighted the 4th Step as an example, he continued with, if you find you are having a really difficult time on this step, or any step, my suggestion would be to go back and redo the 3rd Step, (in relation to the 4th Step I mentioned he was first talking about).

How about asking your Sponsor, well this is a grey area, but what the heck, if you are feeling like your Character Defects are glaring back at you, how about asking if you can go back and revisit that step, and stay on it, til you feel some relief.

I still have many, well let's just say they try and visit. :) and when they raise their narly heads occasionally, have to deal with the whatever defect of character it is, Pray immediately about help with the removal,  or be faced with the feeling of falling back into that Old Bondage of Self, and dont like that place at all.

The big plus I saw to this Post, is you bringing out into the Sunlight, and letting GOD, and your dear Sponsor now help you with the  removal of them....

Third Step Prayer is also a wonderful Prayer on what you have been aware of.

A Big hug dearie,

Tonicakes....

 



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MIP Old Timer

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My experience has been that I can't remove anything from my life even with God's help unless I replace it.  Nature abhors a vacumn.  If I remove say impatience, or selfishness they will come right back unless I fill the void.  How do I do that well for impatience I need to replace it with patience.  Watch a young child for a while, if you don't have one offer to watch someones two year old.  You will either learn patience or child abuse from that hopefully the former.   If you remove selfishness replace it by doing unselfish things for others.  It is especially good if they don't know you are doing it for them.   Each defect you listed has an opposite attribute that is positive.
Concentrate on the positive and the negative will fade away over time. At least it did for me.

Larry,
-----------------
Knowing is not enough; we must apply!


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AGO


MIP Old Timer

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Well first I was going to say Bill and Larry fleshed out what I was trying to explain, then I noticed Oblong nailed it, then I reread what Toni had to say......

So by redoing our steps (Toni - I've done 8 sets- and more is in fact revealed) we notice them (oblong) and then we learn to change our defects into assets (Larry and Bill) but God is in fact doing this, not us (Mike)

This isn't a self help program, it's a God help program, but God only does for us what we can't do for ourselves, so we are responsible for the rest.

Right now I am sitting on a big pile of procrastination, where I am staying busy doing A, B and C (things like housework, laundry, yardwork, MIP) when I really need to get over my fear and go find a different job where I don't risk my life every day and allow myself to get ripped off by these companies I am presently working for, where since I charge a day rate (to get X trees down, I bill out as a climber) these companies make me work a full day climbing then another half day doing groundwork cleaning my own mess because they are too cheap to hire groundmen and stopping for lunch is considered wasting time, so they ultimately work me twice as hard for half the $$$ crying about the economy. I used to run my own business, so I know costs and I see the bids, I know what these guys are making, usually 2-3k a day when I work and they cry poor and say they can't afford to pay my normal rate, when in fact 700-1000 a day clear is GOOD money, they are making 2-3 times that off my climbing and screwing me.

I'm letting them do it, but it's driving me insane.

I talk to my climber buddies and they are sticking to their guns and making the normal rate for the normal day, every other freelancer has walked away from these companies and refused to work for them since they don't give "raises" they literally give "lowers", my income has dropped in half since starting with them and I'm working twice as hard twice as many hours, but since I hooked up all my old clients with ace top climbers that I trained myself when I got into the restaurant business with my family a few years ago, I made myself redundant.

So that's the big one killing me right now, fear leading to procrastination.

-- Edited by AGO on Friday 7th of May 2010 08:11:05 PM

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Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a night, light a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life


MIP Old Timer

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Hey Steve, consistently working this part of step 10 daily,  "when we were wrong promptly admitted it",  will change that.  You'll grow tired of immediately owning up and making amends.  THEN  you will get the foresight and a voice that says "**** no, we're not doing that again, I'm tired of apologizing".  teevee.gif


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MIP Old Timer

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Thanks to each every one on her for this great stuff. I'd send a PM to each one to say thanks, but there's too many! ;)

This will be great stuff to complement my talk with my sponsor tonite.

As I've been reflecting on the great responses on here, I've landed upon intriguing reality. MikeF's points, complemented by Toni's comments about relooking at Step 3 in particular really hit home. I realize that a lot of what I did in my Step 5 and my Step 10s have been about doing that in order not to drink again, NOT in order to help me to be remove those defects that get in the way of my usefulness to God, as the Step 5 prayer says. As AGO so rightly says, this is a GOD program, not a me program. I know intellectually that the word alcohol is mentioned only once in all of the steps, but I think that in practice it hadn't necessarily registered inside.

AGO wrote:

"So that's the big one killing me right now, fear leading to procrastination."

I totally relate. A lot of the defects that I am still grappling with have fear as an ingredient in them, which leads to procrastination and the rest. I guess that I have a fear of criticism or screwing things up, which in turn makes me not want to involve others, get comments, etc.


And Dean wrote:

"**** no, we're not doing that again, I'm tired of apologizing"."

Love it!

Funny you should mention that, b/c I'm really getting that deja vu now with my boss in particular! heh, heh, maybe soon I'll see that doing it right the first time is better than having to apologize! :)

Steve

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MIP Old Timer

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Morning Steve,

I just wanted to mention something I recall, about Honesty.

I was in my second year, and had vigoursly worked all the Steps, and I had that same feeling of....Why the heck do I still do something with people that makes me so uncomfortable, and that was those little while lies. Well I figured out that I had spent my entire life doing this, people pleasing to a real fault, and I was so willing to see the day that this would come to a halt..and this is how it started, and from this simple one action on my part, it began, the end of the people pleasing lies...

I had plans to go to the movies with a friend, female, and had made the plans about one week prior to that date we agreed on.....well I nervously waited for her to call.....I had about 4 or 5 different reasons I was "making up" so she would not be upset, or hurt or whatever.....and then she called, and I made the decision right in the middle of the conversation with her, instead of using one of my untruths to make her feel better, I chose the very simple truth....I said, well, today is the day we had set aside, but to tell you the "truth" I really don't want to go to the movies tonight.....

Her response, she sounded just a little dissapointed, but said, well ok, maybe next week, lets talk next week.

This, as I am writing it feels like I belonged in kindergarten at the time....but the truth was it was probably one of the first glimpses I ever had, in that, I made a statement that was true to myself......and I remember so clearly soaking in just how good and "clean" that felt, and it started my journey into using  that same "truth" before some BS story.

Now I am sort of laughing cause I told this woman that I was seeing in Therapy, "By Gosh, I think I got it!....I have just learned how to stop being a People Pleasing A.s H.le!......
and on return visits I would say Yes, I am now in recovery too from people pleasing....no more webs of deception that start out so innocently, then end with a lot of embarrassment when you have forgotten that "little white Lie" and get caught in it.

One more layer of codependancy had fallen off the onion.
I sometimes call those character defects, the ones that don't have an opposing good side as the proverbial peeling of the Onion.....

Well thought about that statement and have to amend it to...If we give our, one by one,  Character Defects up to our HP, and ask for Help.....in this case the most simpliest of all. GOD gave me those words of simple truth, and being relieved of this Character Defect.....was a very big deal to me.

Toodles,
Toni


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AGO


MIP Old Timer

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Toni brings up an interesting point, one I personally call "The Good Actor Blues" and quite frankly has been one of the most painful of my character defects over the years.

I think I am "people pleasing" when in fact I am being selfish and self centered. I lie in order to avoid conflict, and because I have an inability to say No and stick to my guns but I dress it up in lofty titles, and call it my codependency, but for me all the answers to my codependency lie in just a few paragraphs, returning to step 3 over and over and over is necessary to me nearly daily:

In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?

Forgetting these few words:

In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing.

He becomes on the next occasion still more gracious

Has brought me years and years of suffering, what I thought were character assets were in fact self centered manipulation of myself and those around me.

There was no "people pleasing" in my case, only self centered fear and manipulation.

I was told "scratch an alcoholic and you find a codependent" and sadly enough that has proven to be true in my case, although it took me 15 years to learn that.





-- Edited by AGO on Saturday 8th of May 2010 12:17:24 PM

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MIP Old Timer

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People Pleasing....goal, you want someone to like you, of course it is a selfish gesture.....

I believe I spent the first half of my life wanting acceptance from others, to the second halfof my life,  of honoring myself with the AA Program....and the only one that I want real unconditional love from and for and a feeling of being "right" with is my HP, that I always choose to call God.....

As has been taught to me...."When we KNOW better, We DO
Better....

Toni



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MIP Old Timer

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This discussion has taken a really interesting turn. When I'd been going to meetings about a month or so, one newcomer guy with a just a little bit longer in than said "If you're anything like me, you're an inveterate people-pleaser."

I was soooooo angry with this guy. Of course, the truth is that I am a complete and utter people pleaser. I still have trouble telling a waiter/waitress if something has gone wrong with my order, cause I don't want to appear rude or to hurt their feelings. Easier just to let is pass. Then resentment festers along with self-pity and passive aggressiveness. I won't leave jobs or say no to things I don't want to do, because I don't want to hurt people's feelings or yes, so that people think that I was a great guy. Same thing.

What you guys have said completely hits home. Deep down, it's not really about me not wanting to hurt people's feelings, it's because my self-esteem is all about me looking for other people's approval or at least, their absence of disapproval. So in the end, it's not about helping others, it's about helping ME. This same ME who was always so "selfless".

Steve

-- Edited by SteveP on Sunday 9th of May 2010 05:05:33 AM

-- Edited by SteveP on Sunday 9th of May 2010 05:05:56 AM

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