Nearly anyone could submit a good list of such defects as these, and few of us would seriously think of giving them up, at least until they cause us excessive misery.
Some people, of course, may conclude that they are indeed ready to have all such defects taken from them. But even these people, if they construct a list of still milder defects, will be obliged to admit that they prefer to hang on to some of them. Therefore, it seems plain that few of us can quickly or easily become ready to aim at spiritual and moral perfection; we want to settle for only as much perfection as will get us by in life, according, of course, to our various and sundry ideas of what will get us by. So the difference between “the men and the boys” is the difference between striving for a self-determined objective and for the perfect objective which is of God.
A list of such defects as these refers to those mentioned previously: procrastination, envy, gluttony, anger and self-righteous anger, lust, greed, feeling superior. I have come to understand that every human person suffers from every human failing at some level. The perfect objective, which is of God, would I guess be a totally loving and giving person, someone who worked at capacity with no wrongful sense of self at all.
Why does pondering this and doing this enable people (like me) to stay sober? I don’t really like the word or concept of shame. I find we are certainly ashamed of our humanness, body and desires. When we’ve done something wrong or selfish we feel ashamed. It’s interesting to me that some senses of the meanings of shame have to do with disgrace. The step has told me that my instincts and desires, when they are harmful and hurtful, oppose the grace of God.
There are things I guess I’m not ready to give up. At this moment, I’m angry. I had a fight with Carole (which will be my wife’s pseudonym for this blog). Details aren’t important, but we’re going through the adjustment again of the kids moving home from school for the summer, or in my daughter’s case till she finds a job and can support herself. This transition is difficult for people all over the world. The way in which we keep tripping up is plain to me so far as Carole’s role is involved. I’ve understood for years that when I feel the anger, I am to examine my part, forgive her her part, thank her if she’s pointed out something genuinely lacking in me, forgive her if she’s not justified, understanding that she is also sick and often wrong, that I am also sick and often wrong.
Why can’t I do it consistently and well? I don’t think it would be fair to say I don’t do it at all. But I don’t do it consistently or well. My self-determined objective is probably to change her as much as I can (which AA has taught me is not at all), and get rid of my anger as quickly as possible in that it ruins my day and big chunks of my life. The perfect objective, which is of God, would be for me to be as nice and gentle and accommodating and enlightening, patient, loyal, true and strong ……….. This doesn’t mesh with my understanding of how to be most useful to everyone involved in this situation, and I’m going to have to revisit this.