The notion of character defects is often brought up in recovery literature, and for good reason. While the alcohol and drugs are what brought us to recovery, they are but a symptom of our true problem, which is our character defects. A character defect is defined as a shortcoming we have that we seek to rid ourselves of. Thus, the goal of the twelve steps is to identify these character defects through thorough housecleaning (steps 4 and 5), followed by turning to our higher power to remove them- which constitutes steps six and seven.
Our character defects are not unique to us. Often times, they are simply a fact of the human condition. Common examples of the character defects that show up on most fourth and fifth steps include ego, jealousy, anger, resentment, insecurity, etc. These numerous character defects are often easily summed up with a single word – fear. This brings us to step 6:
“6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Now that we have identified our character defects, step 6 simply asks if we are ready to let them go. At first, this may seem like an obvious question. Of course, we would want to remove our character defects, right? But it often is not that simple. Sometimes we enjoy feeling anger, for example, or letting our ego go unchecked. This is certainly just human nature. If we are honest about our past, however, we will see the damage these defects have caused us.
It is important to note that the step only requires us to be ready to give up these defects. It may sound like it is asking for perfection, but that is simply not the case at all. Certainly, this would be impossible, even for the very “best” of us in recovery. This recalls the old saying “progress, not perfection” that is the backbone of the program.
“7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Once we are ready, we then carry through with the action of actually asking our higher power to remove our defects of character. Unfortunately for us, however, our character defects do not magically disappear simply by asking! Step 7 is an action step, which means we need to work on keeping our character defects in check every day.
While this may sound like quite the commitment, we find that once we are living good lives free of alcohol and drugs, it becomes quite easy. And as mentioned prior, while we strive for perfection, we never actually expect to achieve it.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.