When he does the Steps, character defects get lifted. But is today the day to be ready to look at this five-syllable word?
This morning I sat down at my desk, which is inundated with papers that have been building into heaps over the two years since my ex-wife ceased doing my paperwork. Looking at the pile, I thought about one of my pronounced defects of character—procrastination. Some people call that a five-syllable word for sloth.
Procrastination keeps me from cleaning up my desk and keeps me from doing everything I need to do to improve my little business’s profitability and restore my diminished finances. Thanks to AA, this kind of thinking squirreled through my brain only for only about 15 seconds. I was then reminded that in the four years and four months I’ve been in the program, I’ve successfully used the Steps and followed the advice given in our Big Book.
Each of the four times I’ve worked the Steps, I have received the gift of having one of my most severe defects of character removed, notably one that hurts me, such as fear. Some of these were long-standing defects that for most of my life I had been unable to control. Each of these defects were addressed in the order that my mental and physical health—not my finances—required at the time. My addiction to alcohol and other drugs was lifted; my reliance on others to validate my sense of self-worth was lifted; problems I’ve had with many of my relationships were lifted; and problems related to food are in the process of being lifted.
One by one, the behaviors that hurt me most have been lifted. And each time I did the Steps, I made myself entirely willing to change and grow. And each time I received a helping hand from the loving Higher Power I’ve met through AA.
I remember when I received my one-month chip, I said, “I feel like this is the first time I’ve ever really earned something.” So many things—material and genetic—were gifted to me by my parents, but this relief from character defects was all due to my own hard work on the Steps.
When I thought this morning about why my defect of sloth had not yet been lifted, I realized it’s still with me because I’m able to function despite it. My business still plugs along; I have four or five happy employees who enjoy coming to work, who can provide for their families; I have enough to eat and a place to sleep; and I have friends.
Since I had not yet started my latest round of working the Steps to address my powerlessness over this sloth, I have faith that when I do, I’ll have a very good chance of being relieved of it. I know that because the Steps have always worked for me.
I’ve yet to hear someone in the thousands of AA meetings I’ve attended complain that they tried working the program fearlessly and thoroughly only to find it didn’t work.
As I said my prayers and meditated this morning, I thanked God for the defects from which I have already been released. I thanked God for not waving a magic wand and making it all clear up at once, but allowing me to feel that I’m actually working to help effect positive change in my life through spiritual development.
My Higher Power has granted me the patience to savor each gift I’ve already obtained. I also have the serenity to hope that the rest of the Promises will materialize—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly—if I work for them. I am incredibly lucky.