Step 6 – Episode 28

Wow!Step 6 says “[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” What are “defects of character.” What does “entirely ready” mean? How do we become entirely ready? What if we like some of our defects? How can we become ready to have them removed? Spencer, Kelli, and special guest host Melissa talk about these questions and others, sharing our experience, strength, and hope on the topic of Step 6.

What are “character defects”? This term seems very negative. A more positive view is that they are traits that block us from becoming the person we want to be. Or, paraphrasing the 7th Step prayer from the AA Big Book, they “stand in the way of our usefulness to God and our fellows.” Many of our defects are old attributes or coping schools that once served us well, but are no longer helpful.

For many of us, Step 6 seems to not require any action on our part. But if we just sit there, how do we become “entirely ready”? Melissa says that for her, there was a lot of writing and prayer involved. We also found that it involves self-acceptance, and acceptance of our faults. Ok, that’s good, but how do we get there?

Our reading spoke of “the 6 P’s”: perspective, pain, prayer, patience,process and payoff. Looking at the pain that a particular defect causes us, and the payoff that it used to give us, or perhaps continues to do us, can help move towards acceptance. If we are often late to meetings and appointments, the pain might be the disapproval of those we are meeting, while the payoff is that we are not “wasting time” by being early. By identifying the “payoff”, maybe we can find something to do that will avoid that feeling of wasting time, and will make it easier for us to actually arrive on time or early. Then we are ready for this defect to be removed.

We might be afraid that if a particular defect is removed, there will be nothing to replace it, and we won’t be the same person any longer. We can look back at the assets that we identified in Step 4. We will continue to have those, and maybe some of them will expand to fill the “void”. Or, a new positive asset will replace the defect. We can have faith that our higher power will replace the defect with something better. A listener wrote that she views the changes that will result as “a welcomed adventure, exploring the new me.”

What changes have we seen in ourselves as a result of working this step? Listen and find out.

Our topic for next week is progress, not perfection. Do you struggle with perfection?  Have you learned how to be accepting of your achievements even if they aren’t perfect? Please call us at 734-707-8795, use the voicemail button, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Father – a meditation

3 generations

 

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

— Jim Valvano

I am a father. When my children were young, I tried to shape their values and their beliefs, in the hope that they would become people I could be proud of. As they grew, they started to form their own ideas of right and wrong, of good and bad, of compassion and indifference. They became individuals, with beliefs and opinions, wants and desires of their own.

When they were young, I could fix their hurts and salve their wounds. As they grew, they were hurt in wounded in ways I could not cure. They struggled with identity and relationships. They came to know, first hand, that life is not fair. And I could not fix these things. I could only say, “You are a good, capable person, and I love you very much. I  will stand by you, I can comfort you, but you must work through this problem yourself. I believe that you can do it.”

Now they are adults, striking out on their own, to build and shape a life outside the cradle and confines of my family. They will do things I am proud of, and they will disappoint me. They will make choices that I fundamentally disagree with, and their life will go in directions that I can not anticipate. I am still their father, and I still love them. Whatever they do, wherever life takes them, I will continue to believe in them.

Al-Anon recovery has given me this gift. It is a gift of knowing that my needs and desires are not theirs. It is a gift of knowing that they each have their own higher power, and it is not me. It is a gift of living in the present, to neither regret the past nor fear the future. It is a gift of loving and enjoying what I have rather than ruing what might have been. It is a gift of loving my children for exactly who they are and believing in their goals and aspirations. This is the gift that all of you have given me today, this Fathers Day, 2013.

A meditation for June 16, 2013. (The second sunday in June is celebrated in the USA as Fathers Day.)

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change – a meditation

 

The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.

Socrates

Acceptance does not come naturally to me. By default, I am more likely to spend time going over all the mistakes I made over and over again in painstaking detail. I used to think this would keep me  from making those mistakes again by focusing on what NOT to do. But really, I was often so focused on the negative that I didn’t ever stop to think what I should do, what my Higher Power wants me to do, when greeted with that same issue again. When I behaved this way, I was trying to be in control of my feelings and in control of a situation. In the program, we call it “forcing a solution”.

There is a subtle difference, but focusing on doing the next right thing was far more manageable for me than focusing on controlling all the things I felt I did wrong in the past. When I focused on trying to fix all of those things, the job seemed overwhelming and I was easily disheartened because those actions came out of my own fears of not being good enough or not being lovable unless I act correctly all the time.. When, instead of judging myself, I instead accepted that I made a mistake and made an amends to myself and others (if needed), I was able to be gentle with myself and then focus on the positive of trying to do what the next right thing was, and let go of the results. This action comes from love – both love for self and love for my Higher Power. When my actions come from a place of love, I open myself up to all the possibilities that my Higher Power wants for me because I am able to get closer to my Higher Power.

A meditation for June 12, 2013.

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