How Do We Define Character Defects?

What does the word “defective” evoke in you? Does it make you think of things that need to be returned, exchanged, or even destroyed? According to Dictionary.com, defective means “having a defect or flaw; faulty; imperfect; a defective machine. 

Checking further, defect means “a shortcoming, fault, or imperfection; lack or want, especially of something essential to perfection or completeness; deficiency.”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I even WANT to be perfect—but I guess that’s neither here nor there. We were discussing defects, and how we define them. 😉

Here are some definitions of character defects that may or may not work for you; I’m embarrassingly imperfect. 😉

1. Old coping skills: Something that worked when we were younger and defenseless (hiding from a stressful situation, not talking, etc.) may not work anymore. It’s up to YOU and YOU ALONE to decide what your old coping skills are and whether or not you are ready to let go of them. You may be powerless, but you ain’t helpless any longer. That’s a fact.

2. Assets gone astray: You might feel a genuine desire to help someone that can turn into a need to fix him. See how that can happen? Your genuine desire to keep things neat and tidy can turn into a need to shriek at someone for not using a drink coaster, or it could turn into obsessive-compulsive disorder (disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, a shrink. I only visit one). Maybe you have a lot of knowledge about something and you genuinely desire to share it, but you do so without being asked . . . a lot. 

If we look at character defects in this way, we can pray for balance. We can talk to our Higher Powers and ask that these parts of ourselves be straightened out with His (Her? Whomever you pray to) help.

Instead of berating ourselves and taking out the wet noodle,  we can recognize that we are growing. We see that something we used to need we no longer do, and we seek for balance in our lives. That’s pretty damn good, if you ask me.

Peace out, and have a fantastic Saturday. I know I will.

It’s July Already? Step Seven Time!

The 7th step says: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

This is an image of the 3rd Step Prayer Book Marker available at hazelden.org, in their bookstore. On the other side is the 7th step prayer, which reads as follows:

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.

That prayer is taken from p. 76 from the Big Book of AA.

To me, Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7 are all closely linked. We take our inventories in step four, so that we KNOW our shortcomings and character defects, then we share them with our higher power, ourselves and someone else we trust in step five; in step six we become entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, and in step seven the READINESS and WILLINGNESS turns to ASKING.

I’m on the first two of these action steps. I’m in a small women’s group, going through the Blueprint for Progress, which is a detailed fourth step. We share with each other the progress we are making, and it’s very intimate sharing, sometimes much like a fifth step. Of course I will share again with my super sponsor when we are finished with the book.

But I’m getting practice now. And every day I ask God to remove my shortcomings, of which there are many. I still operate from fear a lot of times when I should be operating out of trust in Him. I procrastinate. I get lazy. I walk my dog before the sun rises in the early morning because I worry I won’t be able to handle her around other dogs or people. I don’t trust myself to write the stories I want to tell. I miss meetings I need to go to. I don’t call my sponsor when I get scared. I watch mindless TV instead of writing in my journal. I haven’t knitted in days and days. I don’t call my friends.

These are all shortcomings. They are my weak, sore spots, and I cry out to God to remove them. Thankfully, He doesn’t do it all at once, and He is gentle with me. But He will do it, because He loves me too much to leave me the way I am.

There’s something so much better out there.

Humility is key. Never be to proud to ask for help.

Love you guys. Peace out.