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Once we have started working our 12-Step program, we find improvements in our life are bountiful and satisfying. If this is our first time working through the steps or even the tenth, we are discovering new things about ourselves and improving our recovery. Connection with a Higher Power has given us a new sense of peace, and discussing our past resentments with a sponsor allows us to address and release the pain we’re holding on to. As we head into steps six and seven, we take a look into our character defects. These are the flaws and weaknesses in our personalities that have caused harm in the past, or continue to cause harm. When we work with our sponsor and take a look at the list of our defects, it can be very overwhelming. Some of us didn’t realize that we were utilizing these damaging behaviors, and feel shame or guilt. However, some of us might be defensive about the things on our list and aren’t ready to let them go. 


But It Might Help Me Later!

Reviewing our list of character defects can be difficult. We may want to analyze each one, and justify them. Admitting that they are negative attributes is a hurdle. For example, if lying is on our list, we immediately jump to the future and begin to imagine the usefulness of the trait, and how it could benefit us in the future. What if my friend is really sick and they ask me if everything is going to be okay? Is it lying if I tell them yes, even if I don’t know? Is lying to help them stay positive wrong? Perhaps one of our character defects is people-pleasing, and we can clearly see the effective uses of this throughout our life. Our friendships have benefitted from it, we have been promoted at jobs, and it was useful in managing our family members over the holiday season! We must remember that our list of character defects is created mostly from our fifth step with our sponsor. As we go over our resentments, fears, financial insecurities, and sexual inventory, our sponsor’s job is to point out the negative behaviors we employed during our addiction. Although we can imagine ways that these traits could possibly help us, the takeaway from our list is that we did not use these characteristics with good intentions in our past. Moving forward, it is our job to not repeat this throughout our recovery. 


Just Be Willing

If we are adamant that some of the defects in our sixth step are not harmful, and we are not ready to give them up, that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward with our steps. Our recovery is a process, and things do not change overnight. During our seventh step, we pray that our Higher Power will remove our character defects and love us completely, the good and the bad. When it comes to the traits that we are uncertain of or don’t believe are negative, we ask our Higher Power for a different form of love. We ask that our Higher Power can help us find the willingness to let go of these defects. Praying in this way is something that we can continue to do as we progress in sobriety, and in truth, it can be just as relieving. Willingness is a practice. We were willing to admit that our lives were unmanageable in our addiction. We were willing to take the steps and the suggestions of our sponsor or peers in recovery. We were willing to allow a Higher Power to take the reins on our life and let go of our self-will. This didn’t necessarily happen right away. Going forward, it is something we continuously do and exercise in our lives. All we need to do at this moment is be willing to try. Doing the next right thing and taking things one day at a time were behaviors we had to practice while getting sober. Reminding ourselves of this might be necessary once in a while, but eventually, they become instinctual. In this same way, practicing letting go of our flaws and weaknesses may take time and willingness, but the rewards we reap from doing so are immense. 

Perfectly Imperfect

It is important to remember that no human being is perfect. Our sponsors aren’t, our fellows aren’t, and we most certainly aren’t expected to be. When we find ourselves using old behaviors and our character defects, we cannot allow it to derail us. If you catch yourself being manipulative or people-pleasing, for example, it doesn’t mean you have failed at step seven. Things happen, and we make mistakes. What matters most are the actions we take once we’ve made the mistake and acknowledging the appearance of our character defects. Amends might be necessary, or a revisiting of our fourth step. First, however, we must reach out to our Higher Power. Repeating the prayer that we are removed from our defects of character is how we let them go. Once again, this is a practice. It’s something we continue to do over the course of our life. Through the steps, we can understand how prayer is the foundation of a happy and healthy recovery. Growth and change are wonderful, but there will always be opportunities for us to learn and better ourselves. Constantly working our sixth and seventh steps are ways to stay in touch with our Higher Power and ourselves, and even with those around us. Before long, we will find that we are growing in a positive direction every single day. 


If you are ready to start your recovery journey, The Guest House is ready to help you! 

Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800