Character defects

I am struggling with something. I hear people constantly talking about character defects ect being their alcoholism coming through. So besides not drinking we are trying to work on our personal shit? I was told AA isn’t therapy so shouldn’t I just focus on the alcohol part and not the anxiety and depression or anger?

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I think the more I know about myself helps me navigate a sober life better and keeps me from taking a drink. At least that’s what I think the “working on my defects” means.

Almost everyone who suffers from addiction suffers from some sort of mental health diagnosis as well, they are often intertwined

To note AA isn’t therapy but it can be therapeutic believe it or not I often feel so much better after a good meeting hearing a strong message,

This forum has been therapeutic for me, while you might benefit from an evaluation and therapy or medications it’s not an end all to be all, I gain benefit from reading hearing others stories and often providing a lending hand

ETA - working the steps with a sponsor will help, character defects and identifying them is part of it, there’s much more to it, start working on sobriety the rest will come

Have you read the big book?

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Ha, I totally think of AA as free therapy :rofl:. It is kind of peer therapy, and I like @Fury 's word play of therapeutic.

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I likewise believe AA/NA is a form of peer therapy,

I know lots of people who gotten sober and turned their lives around with just AA, no rehab detox none of it. Just the power of hearing a message and sharing

for me personally the whole thing is entwined, I can work on any one of these and all the rest get easier to deal with anyway. If we just turn up for AA not alot changes but if we actually work the AA suggestions on a daily basis we learn a lot about who we really are and once we know that we can then work on some of our defects. I still get angry and I still get anxious but I don’t blame the rest of the world anymore or take it out on other people and cause a huge unnecessary scene, this way instead of escalating things general settle down a lot quicker and leads to a little bit more of a peaceful stress free life.

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Step 6 better to do the first 5 before you get to 6 , only AA for me no were else to go in those days ,today loads of programs and places to get help ,wish wish you well

Hey there, full disclosure I don’t currently attend AA…but over the last three years I have had the awesome opportunity of hearing sober AA’ers here talk.

Not drinking is just that. Not taking a drink, not having any alcohol. Now most of us can do this for SOME amount of time (long or short depending). But it takes restraint on our part. Restraint that often comes with anger or resentment. What the work of AA seems to do though, is look at the habitual thought and emotional patterns that led us to drink in the first place. By dealing with the WHY Of why we drank, it’s no longer about just not drinking…it removes the need or desire to ever drink.

To me, trying to keep not doing something that I secretly want to do is way different than not even wanting to do it in the first place.

Life is about growth. From the moment we are conceived, growth begins. Cells divide and multiply, differentiating into all the pieces and parts that make up the physical structure that will house YOU.

Then we are born, and begin to interact with the world. Our intelligence grows, our understanding grows. We begin to become self-aware. We begin to grasp abstract concepts, can ponder the past, and consider the future.

Along the way, we develop our character…who we are. Our nature shaped by our experiences. Unfortunate events can shape us, and blessings can shape us too. The natural world is full of contrast. Light and dark. Sweet and bitter. Hot and cold all falling on a spectrum between absolutes.

Where am I going with this? At any given moment, within every season of life, we each have a maximum physical, spiritual, and mental potential, although no one can reach this absolute in all areas, at any point in time. Conversely, an honest look at ourselves will tell us we have much room to grow, before we even approach maximum. We can get better at getting better.

Addiction stunts all growth. I firmly believe this. Sure, I can get physically stronger while drinking, but can I approach maximum? I can learn more bits of knowledge, but if I am killing brain cells with booze, how many memory spaces and how much processing potential is lost? I can read scripture and works of wisdom, but can I really ponder the biggest of things, if I am being slowly consumed by a self-destructive addiction? How can I relate to a higher power, when I worship at the alter of a substance which has enslaved me?

Better begins with sober, but it doesn’t end with sober. Better doesn’t end at all. It is a character defect to believe I am at my best in totality. Accepting we are broken and flawed is an improvement over denying we need improvement in every area of life. Actually doing the work regardless of obstacles and setbacks is how we build character.

Decide to be better, and then work to be better. Kaizen.


Sobriety, for me is like gardening. Ever see a garden over grown with weeds…that was my life. I would pull the weeds (stop drinking) and my garden (life) would look wonderful. The weeds would eventually grow back. AA gave me the tools to permanently get rid of the weeds in my garden. From time to time, a weed or two starts to sprout. I can now deal with them fast and efficiently.