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TOPIC: My steps 6 and 7

My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #64

  • byGrace
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Well, by the grace of God I believe that I have finally gotten through steps 6 and 7. It has been a long road. My addiction of choice is pornography. I have previously gone through the first three steps and chronicled them here in these forums and I wanted to continue in case anyone else might be able to benefit from them. Also, it makes it more real to me.

From what I can tell, the 6th and 7th steps go hand in hand. Step 6 is saying that I am ready to give up my character defects and step 7 is finally giving them up. So one of the difficult parts was to determine what my character defects were that allowed me to fall into my addictive behaviors. I think (and have read others say as well) that this is pretty individual. A character defect for me might be a character strength for someone else. It all seems to be in getting the balance right. Someone may not be assertive enough, or they may be too assertive to the point of being aggressive. They would need to find the right balance I think. In my case, I pared my character defects down to 6 important ones that I need to work on in a very conscious way. So that I can remember them, I put them into an acronym that I hopefully can remember. The acronym is L A V R N F. I will go over each one of them.

L - Love of God. I have found that God is different from me (DUH). OK, but it is so easy to make God in my image, thinking that my Higher Power will bless me for staying just as I am. But God seems to be subtle and interested in my growing in goodness and patience and things like that rather than things that may just feel good to me. So I need to learn to love the things of God, and love God rather than always enjoying things that may seem just pleasant and easy to me. There is not always a conflict in this - but when there is I need to be careful to defer to God's ways before my own ways. Otherwise, going my own way above that tiny whisper that I hear from God may be the first step down the path of destruction.

A - Arrogance. That is a character defect that comes up from time to time when I think that I am better than others because of anything I did or have. I may be smarter than some other people at times, may have more success in some areas than others at times, may have a "better life" than others in some way. In the past, those things easily led to a (sometimes subtle) feeling of superiority. I need to understand deeply that those things, as long as they are true, are just blessings from God and something that I need to be thankful for. And indeed, they are responsibilities that tell me that I need to use them to bless others in a way of humility - not arrogance.

V - Vigilant - For me in this American society that I live in this is especially crucial. Sex sells, and it is used all the time to sell one thing or another. Marketers use it, people use it, web sites use it, movies use it, it is everywhere. And since I am very susceptible to be drawn down the wrong path when I have some sexual stimulation, then I need to be especially vigilant with myself to not start down that path. I need to be careful about where I go, where I look, what I look at, what I think about, how I think. I need to maintain vigilance with my thoughts and perceptions so that my mind can stay free to wander among the things that are truly satisfying in my relationships, my work, my play and my worship.

R - keep it REAL - for me, again, it is easy to want to live in a fantasy. It is easy to think things are easier or harder than they really are, that life is way better or way worse than it is, that people are way worse or better than they are. I need to do my best to keep things real in my life, to make sure that I am realistic about expectations for myself and others and life. Then I can enjoy life "on life's terms", as the recovery saying goes.

N - Nurture - I need to learn how and to give myself space to nurture myself when I need to. I need to understand that my recovery is more important than what people think of me at work or even in my marriage or family or friends. If I am especially weak or vulnerable, I need to take time out to nurture myself and see what is going on inside. I need to trust that my Higher Power, my God, will take care of what needs to be taken care of in my other situations and by my taking time out for what really matters, then in the long run things will turn out better.

F - Forgiveness - This is important. I need to forgive others in how they have hurt me and wronged me in the past. And I need to forgive people on a day to day basis. Just because I have made progress in recovery doesn't mean that now everyone will treat me fairly or will give up their own addictive or dysfunctional behaviors. I need to be real about relationships (R above) and in the same vein I need to realize their weaknesses, manage them as much as possible for their good and my good and also forgive others in my life when they lie, cheat or in some way wrong me.

So those are the character traits that I think that are critical for me to work on going forward. After going through the 4th and 5th steps with my counselor/therapist, these are the ones that seemed to stand out as needing the most work. I shared this with my counselor and he concurred about this. So I have prayed the 7th step prayer, asking God to help me to continually work on these traits, taking away what should be taken away and adding what should be added. I go forward trusting that my Higher Power will bring this growth about in my life more and more over time. And for that I am thankful.

I hope this might help someone else in working their program. Please leave a comment below if you have any feedback.
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My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #65

  • freebee
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For me, Steps 6 and 7 were made very simple. Step 6, I became aware. Step 7, I asked for help. I've worked these steps formally with a sponsor (in Narcotics Anonymous).

Step 6 says "we were entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character". No where does it say our higher power removes them. It means we're ready to have them removed because we realize we cannot control them on our own.

Step 7, "we humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings". This is where we ask for help. Again, no where does it say we ask and they are removed. It's work. Surrender (awareness) and the humility to ask for help from a power greater then ourselves (in whatever form that may be-higher power, meetings, sponsor, therapy, these are all powers greater then us) are the spiritual principles of these steps.

I'm grateful to be clean today.

FreeBee
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My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #66

  • betzilla
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Thanks for starting this thread, byGrace.

I thought I'd nailed steps 6 and 7, but have just gone back and am re-doing them now. Your post has helped give me direction in how to really do them.

blue skies,

Betsy
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My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #67

  • jonesg
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Hi Grace,

the defects in the steps are ;

1. selfishness 2.dishonesty 3.self seeking and 4. frightened (or state of fear).

What you have written are symptoms of defects but not the defects themselves.

I would ask if you can identify how those symptoms (love isn't a defect, hate is) trace back to their root cause (the 4 defects).

I found failure to do so left defects in place because I couldn't see them, its not possible to throw the trash out if you can't see it.

My shrink monitored my progress through the steps but I used an experienced step sponsor, I could BS a shrink and he wouldn't even know because without an experienced sponsor I wouldn't know when I was lying to myself.
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My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #68

Hi,

Can "Loneliness" be considered as a defect?

I'm talking about the mental/clinical condition. My therapist suggested that I'm nor ready to face it yet, but how the can I progress on the steps if it is a "defect"?
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My steps 6 and 7 2 years 3 months ago #69

  • byGrace
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Thanks for the replies to this. It has given me "food for thought".

I have thought about what jonesg wrote about distilling my "symptoms" down to the four "real defects". Let me say that my first reaction was a little bristling of my back, as in "how dare someone tell me how to work my program". Perhaps that comes to some extent from not having worked it with a sponsor. I have had to do this more or less on my own, since (as I have written in other forum posts) people seem to see porn as "no big deal" or so "icky" that they don't want to have anything to do with it or so uncomfortable with my approach that they either ridiculed me or ignored me. So in applying the 12 steps to my porn addiction, I have had to read the literature, learn how people used the steps for alcohol and other addictions and try to apply them to myself. In reading the "12 and 12", it was enlightening to read about how giving up alcohol is different than other defects since we can give up alcohol altogether, but for other things like food or relationships or sex, then it is a matter of learning to manage them appropriately, and that is full of "both/and" choices rather than "either/or" choices. In other words, it is not as clear-cut.

So whether justified or not, I have had to find what works for me. And after thinking about it, it would seem that in a theoretical way I might be able to distill my defects down to the "four cardinal defects" that jonesg writes about and that AA literature talks about. But in practical terms it doesn't work for me. For example, I have a difficult time defining "selfishness". Is it selfish for me to take time to sleep 9 hours a night when I could probably sleep less and then do more "good deeds" for others? Is it selfish to put money in the bank rather than give it to charitable organizations? To me, "selfishness" is pretty difficult to define. And even if I worked all of that selfishness definition out, would that really keep me from falling into addictive behavior? In truth, I don't see how. For me, focusing on loving God more (yes, I listed that as a defect in the sense that Lack of Love is a defect) will translate into what most people call "unselfishness". And, indeed, the first commandment of my Higher Power is love Him with all of my strength, mind and heart and so to me not doing this commandment should over-ride any other defect that I may have.

So while acknowledging that the four defects listed by jonesg may be the primary ones for some working the 12 steps, they don't seem to work for me. Just the other day I came close to stumbling again and to me it was not because of the four defects listed by jonesg but because of my lack of vigilance. So for now, I still use my LAVRNF as my guide for the defects that I need to work on. I consider that I am now working on step 8 after stumbling around with step 7 a bit. Perhaps by the time I get to step 10, 11 or 12, then I might see the wisdom of distilling all of my defects down to 4 rather than the ones I originally listed. But for now, I sticking with what I originally wrote.

Also, in reply to dariolgrande, I would comment that I don't think that loneliness is a defect. To me it would seem that loneliness comes from some unmet relationship needs and it would be important to try to meet those needs, whether it is relationship to self, to others or to God. That's my 2 cents worth.
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