Let’s Ponder the Need for a List (Step Four continued)

Now let’s ponder the need for a list of the more glaring personality defects all of us have in varying degrees. To those having religious training, such a list would set forth serious violations of moral principles. Some others will think of this list as defects of character. Still others will call it an index of maladjustments. Some will become quite annoyed if there is talk about immorality, let alone sin. But all who are in the least reasonable will agree upon one point: that there is plenty wrong with us alcoholics about which plenty will have to be done if we are to expect sobriety, progress, and any real ability to cope with life.

Two things. First, I was at a meeting this very morning where the topic was resentment, and someone complained about the term “character defect.” She said, “We’re not defective!” And, by the way, I’m glad that “character defects” caught on rather than index of maladjustments.

Second, I belong to small group of close AA friends who frequently, when someone shares a manifestation of a character defect, remark, “That’s OK! You’re only human! We have to be easy on ourselves!”

This paragraph says that anyone who is in the least reasonable will agree that there’s plenty wrong with us, and that plenty will have to done about it.

So, by degrees. The woman who made the first comment about not being defective has two years of sobriety. The women who say we’re only human have considerably more. I always think about, and I started writing because to me, there is no much different in later sobriety than in beginning sobriety. Sure, as an active alcoholic I had plenty wrong with me. I was actually a menace. It was, to my understanding, a major defect that tried to kill me and risked innocent bystanders too. Now, after decades of sobriety, I’ve lived in many ways a “good” life and have helped some people along the way.

I feel like I still need this list, and like it isn’t all taken care of in Step 10. I believe the 12 and 12, and it says that we all have all these defects in varying degrees. I believe that. At this point I believe that I can still have sobriety, make progress, and increase (or at least slow the decline) of my real ability to cope with life. These are things I want. Here’s the way, the map, the directions.


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