27 Feb Finding Growth Through our Character Defects
Let’s face it, getting sober is no cakewalk and if you’re a true blue addict, it requires a heck of a lot more than just willpower alone. For most of us, in order for sobriety to truly take hold, we must first be willing to admit our complete and utter powerlessness over drugs, alcohol, or whatever our object of addiction is. It’s a time to get real and face ourselves because, after all, we’re relinquishing our primary means of escape. It also often means that we begin to take a look at our character defects, as these are the things that tend to drive our need to escape in the first place.
How do I identify my character defects?
One of the best ways to begin looking at your character defects is to start with the seven deadly sins–lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger or wrath, sloth, and pride. You don’t need to be a practicing Christian to do this, but at some point in your recovery process, you should be willing to look at how these things are driving you. In recovery, you may notice that people spend a lot of time questioning the motives behind their actions. And guess what? The questioning of motives and, ultimately, the shift in our everyday intentions is where the growth lies.
Why should I question my motives if I’m not hurting anyone?
It’s common for folks in early recovery to question why it’s so important to examine the motives behind their actions if no one is getting hurt. Motives can be very subtle and they require a lot of self-reflection. It’s easy to overlook your motives if you’ve consistently operated on a subconscious level. While no one is asking you to give up your less-than-pure intentions all at once, examining them will help you to operate from a place of integrity which will greatly enhance your sobriety. If you have a conscience (which most of us do), then over time, you’ll probably discover that it just doesn’t feel good to do things when your motives aren’t clean–not feeling good is usually one of the things that drives addiction.
How will I get ahead in life if I’m giving up patterns of behavior that helped me to succeed in the past?
No matter how many successes you’ve achieved in life, material or otherwise, if the means by which you’ve achieved them are impure, it’s difficult to continue recovering. Let’s say, for example, you’ve typically used your sexuality to get ahead, or you’ve lied on resumes to get jobs. You may have gotten away with these things in the past, and you may still “get away” with them. But over time, your head and your heart won’t cooperate and it will become more and more challenging to face life sober while clinging to those character defects of yours.
This concept may seem daunting and even unrealistic when you first get clean. As you continue on your growth path, however, your consciousness will probably begin to shift. Sure, your less-than-moral ways may have allowed you to get ahead in the material sense, but at what cost? While giving up character defects may feel like it will set you back, you could be surprised at how receptive others are when you show up for life with integrity. It also means that you’ll be attracting the right types of people, relationships, jobs, and situations.
How Exactly do I Grow by Giving up my Character Defects?
The recovery journey is an enlightening one in the sense that most of us never stop growing once we get clean. Of course this is entirely dependent on how you’re staying sober. If you’re white knuckling it without some type of program, you might not feel the need to change. This is generally ineffective, in practice, but it does work for some people. For the vast majority of us, however, things like twelve-step programs are of great benefit, and these programs involve step work that give us the tools to grow. Step four involves listing out our character defects, while step five is all about getting honest with ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. The next step–step six–is where we ask to have these defects removed.
The process of having our character defects removed is intensely liberating for most people. The reason we grow through this process is because by giving up our character defects, we’re becoming the truest, most authentic versions of ourselves. Most people learn that the character defects they’ve been desperately clinging to when they were in active addiction are the ones that caused them to drink and use in the first place. Imagine shedding these defects, and no longer feeling like you need an escape plan (i.e., drugs and alcohol) to get out of your own head? There’s so much freedom in this, and you’ll likely find that it continues to get better and better over time. Giving up character defects means that you’re invariably being more true to yourself, and through this truth, you grow. It’s the ultimate freedom.
Have you experienced your own growth through the process of shedding character defects that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Growth Starts at Kembali Recovery Center…
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