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Old 07-09-2008, 10:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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character defects vs. shortcomings

in working steps six, and seven, i am trying to understand what is the difference between character defects and short comings.the issue is, when some, fellows share in NA meetings in egypt, they mention things like,quote" i have 45 character defects, or more, " unquote.

while my sponsor said, we all have 4 major ones, fear, resentments, anger and selfishness. can someone explain to me, in a keep it simple manner,
cheers everyone.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Excellent question - I work a different 12-step program, and am having a similar issue. I look forward to the responses - thanks for the question, Bobmatic!
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sure you'll get a few different perspectives on this one, but here's my ES&H:

When I was new, it was suggested to me that I look up words in a dictionary if I was unfamiliar with their meanings. Upon looking up the words "defect" and "shortcoming," I concluded that these terms were synonymous. After further investigation in NA literature, I found that NA uses these terms interchangeably. To put it simply, in Step 6 we become entirely ready to have our HP remove our defects of character and in Step 7 we humbly ask to have THOSE SAME defects removed. Another way of looking at it is to recall all those things we admitted in our 5th Step as our defects of character. Why am I angry? why am I resentful? why am I fearful? Each of these reactions have a cause.

We discover, if we are thorough in our step work, that the "exact nature" of our wrongs aren't the wrongs themselves, but the CAUSE of those wrongs. We then learn that the exact nature of our wrongs ARE our defects of character. For example: Some of us erroneously tend to describe lying and cheating as defects of character. According to NA, the exact nature of the lying and cheating is dishonesty...hence, dishonesty is the defect that we become entirely ready to have removed in Step 6. In Step 7 we humbly ask God to remove our dishonesty. The same applies to intolerance, impatience, greed, lust, etc...

I also believe it is important to always remember that the core of our disease is self-centered fear, and all of our defects of character are expressions of our self-obsession. Another good reference to check out is the NA IP called "The Triangle of Self-Obsession."

You also may want to check out the Sub Forum on Step 7:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ml#post1612413 (Step 7)

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Old 07-10-2008, 01:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's another old thread where we discussed defects and shortcomings:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...s-how-why.html (It Works! How And Why)
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with Garry.. Short comings and defects of character are exactly the same thing. They guy who wrote that stuff was very "fancy" with his language!

As far as detailing DOC...well, that is up to you and your sponsor. Some use the 7 deadly sins, other have a laundry list.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmatic View Post
they mention things like,quote" i have 45 character defects, or more, " unquote.

while my sponsor said, we all have 4 major ones, fear, resentments, anger and selfishness. can someone explain to me, in a keep it simple manner,
cheers everyone.
One could probably put each of those 45 character defects into one of the four categories your sponsor listed.

I agree that shortcomings and defects of character are the same thing. I worked my fourth by seeing how the 7 sins played a role in my life in active addiction. I reworked it in other ways too... thought it was wise to be thorough.

As for steps 6 & 7, I found that although I was ready to have my defects of character removed, and I humbly asked for it to be so, I was surprised to find that I could have them right back as soon as I wanted! What I mean is that I need to actively work on my shortcomings in recovery, and new defects of character continue to present themselves throughout recovery. Thank goodness for the steps, because I wouldn't know what to do with my DOC without the steps.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CamTheCat View Post
As for steps 6 & 7, I found that although I was ready to have my defects of character removed, and I humbly asked for it to be so, I was surprised to find that I could have them right back as soon as I wanted! What I mean is that I need to actively work on my shortcomings in recovery, and new defects of character continue to present themselves throughout recovery.
Exactly!!

Although NA suggests that we shouldn't concentrate on trying to control our shortcomings and that we should simply "let them go"... it is my understanding that the role I play (through practicing the principles) is to "arrest" my defects. How many times have you heard members share that a behavior or attitude had been arrested but reoccurred in their lives? Even our literature makes mention of how we can pray for our HP to grant us something and then later get angry because He/She/It allowed us to take it back.

By being responsible, accountable and open-minded, I actively change my ideas, my attitudes and my behaviors.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know this woman - almost 28 years in AA - who talks about the 7th step like this:

"You don't get to pick the defects that are removed from you. Look at me! I've prayed and prayed for God to take away my big mouth, but He must have a purpose for it!"

Now, this woman has sponsored many, many people. She's a little rough around the edges, isn't always politically correct. And, yes, she's got a big mouth. There are some folks who've bounced from gentle sponsor to gentle sponsor and finally ended up with her - and stayed on the path. So, perhaps she's right. Maybe her big mouth has a purpose, and some people only hear at the decibel she projects.

I was looking online for an NA 7th step prayer, as I don't remember seeing one specifically in the text. I then searched some of the old threads and saw that some NA members had adopted the AA 7th step prayer, which I've found to be my favorite of the formal prayers:

Quote:
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.
~from Alcoholics Anonymous, First Edition

If there's a formal prayer used in NA for the 7th step, I'd love to read it. I use the 3rd step prayer on a very regular basis. Like, every day.

Peace & Love,
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Everything said sounds good to me. Someone once told me that defects are (attitudes) and if left unchecked they brings about our shortcommings (behavior). practically speaking here's what I do:
I try to identify which behavior I am acting out, with my sponsor's help of course, and together we identify the opposite of the behavior which would be living in accordance with specific spiritual principles. I pray to have the defect i'm struggling with at any specific time removed. What works for me is to pray for each defect's removal seperately.
When the defect occurs again I repeat the procedure.
I found that the frequency and intensity and damage done is always getting better (less)
Better for me is good today.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I was afraid of love or being loved like I needed to love.
I came up short when a person asked me if I love them.
It took a long time to get to that piont.
Even thou I felt it with every bones in my body and wanted and needed that love so much.
A part of me felt I wasn't good enough or deversing of that love.
I wanted things to be right or waited for the right moment.
It's the biggest regrets I've had ever have to experience.
I replay that moment over and over in my head, the moment that person
finally got to the piont of asking me if I love them.
That person died...and I never told them how much I really love them.
I struggle with the what if, what could have been.
I struggle with trying not to think about this person, that I love so much and
not wanting to forget about them.

I hate myself for falling short.
As much as I hate myself, I can still get a lot shorter.
No matter how bad or miserable I feel about everything, I struggle to continue
to trying to put one foot in front of the other.
No amount of drugs or alcohol is ever going to remove this pain.
In the grand sceheme of things, that person is dead and I'm not.

Last edited by Cupcakes; 07-11-2008 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ala2 View Post
Someone once told me that defects are (attitudes) and if left unchecked they brings about our shortcommings (behavior).
That's exactly the kind of "old-school" misinformation I was referring to. When I got clean, there were a lot of members sharing basically the same thing: that a character defect was one thing (mental) and a shortcoming was another (an action). This view insists that a defect of character creates or causes a shortcoming. Our literature makes no such distinction.

The Just For Today reading on the subject of Step 6 is on page 136, and shortcomings and defects are mentioned. It states, “As we let go of our shortcomings and find their influence waning, we’ll notice that a loving God replaces those defects with quality attributes.”

Take note that the book says, “…those defects”, leaving you an answer in the same sentence, “our shortcomings” that we let go. As throughout our literature – two words, same meaning. And if you noticed, the reading talks about letting go of shortcomings, whereas the Basic Text uses the term “defect” in regard to something that should be let go. Basic Text, page 33 states, “Letting go of character defects should be done decisively.”

One of the most important statements in our literature to illustrate that defects and shortcomings are the same (causative) is the first line of Step 7 in the Basic Text:

“Character defects or shortcomings are those things that cause pain and misery all of our lives”

I could go on...but I found it important for me to know why I "act out" and when I pray, I pray to have the cause removed...thus addressing any action that results.

:ghug
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Do you know how if your short comings had been removed ?
You work step #8 and #9. No short cuts.

You can read and write about it and fall short everytime.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Actions speak louder than words.

If you have the power to destroy lives, surely you have to power
to set things right. There's nothing mystical about it.

There's dramma in AA/NA. There's truama in Al-anon , ACOA, CoDA.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I agree, it's easier to think of them as one and the same. It's more practical that way. Thank you Garry for the thorough research.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow, we sure know how to complicate things, don't we?

Peace & Love,
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Gary, would you be my online sponsor…PLEASE.

I appreciate all the hard work that you do to keep us informed.

I leaned so much from you. And am grateful for that.

From the bottom of my non intellectual heart. I THANK YOU.

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Although we never hardly agreed on anything, I miss SaTiT. He and I would go back and forth on this topic and I could tell He was getting mad at me. LOL!! Oh well...

I don't know about anyone else, but some things that are simple for some are complicated for others (and the reverse). What I often found interesting was listening to people share about cheating, stealing or lying and they'd describe these actions as their shortcomings. They'd share about praying to have those behaviors removed and down the road I'd hear those same members sharing about their broken relationships, going to jail clean and getting caught in their lies. I suppose it never dawned on them that the underlying causes of their actions (dishonesty, lust, greed, etc...) would always allow the reoccurrence of the acting out. Just like our 5th step tells us that we must be exact, I contend that I must also be exact regarding prayer for the exact nature of my wrongs to be removed. And you're right, Sugah...for some of us being exact can be complicated, especially if we're not shown how.

Quote:
Do you know how if your short comings had been removed ?
You work step #8 and #9. No short cuts.

You can read and write about it and fall short everytime.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Actions speak louder than words.

If you have the power to destroy lives, surely you have to power
to set things right. There's nothing mystical about it.

There's dramma in AA/NA. There's truama in Al-anon , ACOA, CoDA.
For me, working steps 8 & 9 weren't a guarantee...no matter how thorough I was. Becoming "entirely ready" can often be a lifelong process, and my HP never removes self-will. For many of us (myself included), some of the shortcomings we have are so deeply ingrained that we struggle to let them go because they still work for us. Reading and writing isn't a guarantee either, but through that process we become self-aware and knowledgeable...we can no longer use ignorance as an excuse to be irresponsible to ourselves or others.

I also beg to differ. Just because we have the power to destroy lives doesn't mean we have the power to "set things right." Making our list in step 8 and direct amends in step 9, for me, isn't really about repairing the lives of others...it's about repairing my own. Some people we have harmed will refuse to accept our amends, and we can't force them to. And as far as the drama goes... that's everywhere: Wal-Mart, Friendly's, at work, the airport...you name it. The question I ask myself is, "What am I doing to avoid being caught up in the drama?" I can be a part of the solution or the problem.

Keep coming back.

Oh yeah... Ivan. I know you're joking, but thanks. I take that as a compliment. :ghug3
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Step #8 annd #9 is not about you, it never was.
No, you can force people to make amends either.
As long as you can get away with not make amends, you won't.
It's not any different then when you where using. As long as you can
get away with using, you will.

You went through hell and high waters and way, way out of your way to get high.
Now that you're clean, you lack power or willingness ? How dose that work ?
It's not about you anymore ...that's all.
It's not that complicated nor dramatic.

As miserable as I might feel about everything. I can't put my mother through all
of the heartaches and chaos once more. It nearly killed her the last time.
I make my amends to her daily and it's not easy.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
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It’s not a joke. It is a compliment.

Well the online sponsor is a little levity.

The rest is a fact. I enjoy reading your threads/post. You are extremely knowledgeable.

And the patients to explain and break down the steps like you do here. That speaks for it self.

Like I said in my other post I am grateful to you and the hard work it takes for you to this on a daily bases.

Once again Thanks.

Ivan
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:11 PM   #19 (permalink)
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As has already been said, shortcomings and defects are the same thing. Often times people think into this way too much. I prefer to view them as instincts blown far beyond their intended purpose. That makes more sense to me. And it reminds me that I have a disease not a disgrace. I am not a moral defective, I am sick. The steps heal my sickness. And as we should already know way before step seven, the drug is merely a symptom. If we only had a drug problem we would not have to concern ourselves with all this other stuff ( and some in the rooms don't). Or, if we were just immoral, we need only repent and all would be well. Yet many truly religious people with deep convictions come into the rooms needing help, and many people who are self aware still falter at this stuff. The steps are amazing, not complicated. Two words; one meaning. 12 steps to a solution
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Your shortcomings are the results of your defects. It's not the same.

It's not that complicated.
If you use drugs...The list of your belongings gets shorter and shorter.
Be it families, friends, money, occupations. You stop paying your bills,
and your credit rating gose down. You have less and less credit.

You loose all these things becuase the truth is you don't care.
Getting high was more important becuase you got away with it.

You knew as a child that getting high was bad for you. You were
educated to this fact. You just thought you could get away with it.
Your life became centered around drugs and alcohol or getting high.
You fall short of your protential as a person and the many talents/skills
that you have becuase you don't/applying yourself to your hopes and dreams.
Instead you wasted your life gettting wasted.

A sin is falling short of living your life as god intended for you to live.
You'll fall shot of that if you stick a needle in your arm. You will become
a slave and not live your life. It's not that complicated.
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