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Character Defects...question

Old 03-18-2010, 01:15 PM
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Question Character Defects...question

Someone in AA recently said to me "A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"

Has anyone heard this before??
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:36 PM
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My view is that "we can only clean up our side of the street." We alcoholics want to control everything .. and sometimes in recovery, we try to do too much that is out of our control.

For me, my character defects led me to feel stressed, angry, worried, scared, etc. -- and yes, these feelings led me to drink in the past.

However, I think if your defects are hurting someone else, then this is what the amends process is all about in a step program.

So, I would focus on your own character defects and not someone else's (e.g. don't take everyone else's inventory), but if your defect is bothering someone else and it therefore is bothering you, use the amends process to clean it up and release you from those negative feelings that lead to drinking.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:33 PM
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Hi Gemmie,

Our character defects stem from basic human instincts which are natural and God - given. (It talks about this in the 12 & 12 at Step 4)

For example it's normal to feel fear, normal to feel anger - in some cases these instincts can keep us out of danger and alive (yet we inventory fear and resentment to identify our character defects).

The problem with the alcoholic is that we do everything in excess. Just a little bit is never enough and out of these basic human instincts we create huge character defects which become the root cause of all our problems.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:56 PM
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I have never heard anyone in AA that I consider credible make a statement like that. Heck, that's selfish 101 in my book. While I agree that you must work on the character defects that cause you to drink or that drinking caused, I do not agree that it is Ok to hurt others with your defects just because they don't bother you. Nowhere in AA lieterature have I ever read such a thing. Remember, opinions in AA meetings do not necessaily reflect the message of AA. That's why I think its a best practice to only share about your ESH because you can't speak for others or the program as a whole.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:52 AM
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It's a bit like mind over matter .
If you don't mind it doesn't matter.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:01 AM
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Well I am sure most serial murderers don't consider they have a character defect as their deadly activities don't really bother them since they do it time and time again, but it sure does annoy others. You hear many wise things in AA - and many silly things also. In fact I would doubt this little gem is anywhere in the official AA documentation.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:44 AM
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I have never heard anything like that........... to be honest if I felt that way I have a strong feeling that my sponsor & I would be working on it, because if I felt that way it would be a character defect... self centeredness at its finest "I do not care if I hurt others if it is not bothering me it is okay!"

Doing things that hurt others & not caring about it is not a part of love & tolerance which is our code.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:14 AM
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"A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"
There are a lot of people in AA still in the learning process and they/I/we can get things quite wrong before we figure things out. That comment just doesn't make sense to me, nor does it mesh with the 12 steps as I am learning them.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gemmie View Post
A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else
I don't know, it occurs to me that something got lost in translation. Besides, how would you really know? And whether a "character defect" bothers another doesn't matter? No... wrong. It matters, a lot.

If I have a character defect that involves being dishonest, then I hurt others... lying, cheating, stealing, unreliability.... whether or not they know it or are bothered by it.

Seems maybe whomever told you that might have been pointing at quirks that all of us have in our own unique personalities. We are who we are... Don't get all tangled up in our own eccentricities... instead, look at who we are, how we affect others, how we align ourselves with God, or higher power.... not what kind of music we like, clothes we wear or whether or not we like chocolate sauce on our hot dogs....

Ya know?

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Old 03-19-2010, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gemmie View Post
Someone in AA recently said to me "A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"
I've never heard this before--which is probably a good thing since it might have given me license to continue to offend. A character defect was described to me as being something like having a car without headlights: You could still drive it, but its use was limited.
I had been sober quite a few 24ļ now, and I'd like to say that I had rid myself of all character defects. But alas, the more I learn the more I realize how little I knew. As I become older--and hopefully wiser---I view myself with a different set of eyes. Things that I ponder today are not the same one I considered several years ago....or at least not from the same perspective. I guess my initial 4th step was a general overhaul, and subsequent 10th step work is about the fine-tuning.
IMHO something may be a character defect whether it bothers me or not. However, I am unlikely to do something about it until the consequences become unpleasant enough.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:26 AM
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I like the person who said that, could they be my sponsor;-)

I am not known for my honestly and am a very capable, for want of a better expression, conman...so when i cheat you out of your hard earned savings and you confront me and say why did you do that please give it back i'll say back off bud, doesnt matter if my dishonesty is bothering you...a character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering me...whatever, i'm off to pray...see ya!

Cos that sounds great to me

Seriosuly though the statement that was said to you is absolute rubbish, sounds liek some of the absolute crap i would hear and shake my head to in some of the mid-week meetings i don't attend anymore!
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:17 PM
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Cool Consider the Source

Originally Posted by Gemmie View Post
Someone in AA recently said to me "A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"

Has anyone heard this before??
I guess it's time for me and the minority opinion (just were I'm used to being). Although I've never said this exactly; actually, I've said something similar to this....: "Just because someone thinks one or more of my characteristics are character 'defects' doesn't necessarily make them so; could be the other person's 'defect' of perception or judgmentalism rearing its ugly head."

It appears that everybody here has already presumed that the other person is 'right' and they are pointing out an actual character defect. In my experience, when something like this has occurred, the first thing I do is consider the source (i.e.: do I usually value this personís opinion.....). Sometimes, regardless of how I may feel about the other person, at the moment, I usually will sit and ruminate (atheists in recovery donít pray.....LOLOL) over this and try to see if what they are seeing is an actual defect, or not; is it truly keeping me from being of service to god or my fellows.....? Obviously I canít be of service to íallí my fellows; some fellows just donít want service. As I said earlier, it could be a defect of theirs---as an example, this other person may see my association with those outside my race as a defect......hmmmmmm, mine or theirs, eh....?

After all this ruminating, I will either work on this Ďdefectí or not, and possibly try to explain to this other person why I donít see as a defect what they see as a defect..........or perhaps not.........

So, after all this, I may not have heard this exact statement, but I may have an understanding of what they may have been trying to say...........then again, mebbe not.....LOLOL


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Old 03-19-2010, 04:23 PM
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"Someone in AA recently said to me "A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"

I think that's kinda silly. I mean it takes most of us a loooong time to figure out what exactly about our behaviors is associated with what defect.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gemmie View Post
Someone in AA recently said to me "A character defect isnt a character defect unless it is bothering you...doesnt matter if it is bothering someone else"

Has anyone heard this before??
If a character defect is bothering some-one-else?

I would ask myself,....who is this person to me?
,......do I value their opinion?

do you see where I'm going with this?
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:21 PM
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Er.... no.

Not anything that's ... 'commonly held' by anyone here either.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:31 PM
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If we had any idea of what our character defects were in the first place we would't need to do an inventory.
How can my character defects bother me if I don't know what they are?
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:56 PM
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Spawn wrote:
If a character defect is bothering some-one-else?

I would ask myself,....who is this person to me?
,......do I value their opinion?

do you see where I'm going with this?
Spawn, perhaps you are viewing character defects as latent, inactive things that don't affect other people. (??) Something we can hide.

Quite the contrary, our character defects can't be hidden, and they affect other people very directly. They are anything but latent and inactive. We can't conceal them because they affect our motives and actions and our motives and actions affect our relationships.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:05 PM
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I think what he was saying was - If our defects do not bother "us", but bother other people (as the first post mentioned) then we would have to ask ourselves if we value this person and their opinions, it should be bothering us.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:23 PM
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i guess being honest and true to yourself and makin changes at improving like your own defects...If someone doesent like the fact your bein this way..because they dont happen to be honest and true to themselves..Then thats kinda tough for them aint it!!
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkcuda View Post
If we had any idea of what our character defects were in the first place we would't need to do an inventory.
How can my character defects bother me if I don't know what they are?
Hence the value of the 4th step. Prior to that--in fact, for most of my life---I couldn't understand my role in my miserable life. I didn't see what I was doing that led to so much hurt, to so much baggage. I didn't know I egotistical or resentful: I though I was a victim! Step 4 meant taking a good hard look at myself, and that is when I began to identify character defects. Very recently I became painfully aware of being to attached & defined by my beliefs, so much so that I perceived other viewpoints as personal attacks. Of course, that was my ego at work. I was very, very bothered by the pain & the upset, but I couldn't quite name the "character defect." So I agree that it is an exercise in self-study that helps us to name the problem. Name it, claim it, and give it away, I heard.
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