It’s not my fault. I never did that. I don’t struggle with that. I don’t act like that. etc. etc. etc.
All phrases I’ve uttered leading up to, and sometimes in recovery.
Denial is a spiritual wall.
At some point in life, especially for somebody in recovery, the admission and awareness of one’s character defects are critical. This week we’re studying and talking about Step 6 of the 12 Steps. “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” This step is sometimes glossed over with foggy glasses that are in a hurry to get to the amends process in Steps 8 and 9. But, not paying attention to what is within step 6, and hopefully discovered there, would defeat the purpose of these 12 steps.
Without recognition and acceptance of what defects of character one struggle with, the light and freedom of recovery aren’t attainable. The cycle of addiction or at least bitterness in sobriety will continue.
Denial is everywhere. We see it all around us in everyday life. Politics, world leaders, religions, neighbors, friends, family, celebrities, and most importantly in ourselves. Masses of people, most in the world in actuality are unwilling to admit fault or weakness in fear of appearing like a failure. Pride. Pride is that little voice in our head that tells us to NEVER admit fault, confess to struggling, tell the truth, or face our demons or fears. Pride keeps us sick. Pride convinces us, usually without awareness, that we need to appear the part, play the game, and always play the game in fear of someone actually seeing our authentic selves. This is why it’s so refreshing, healing, and freeing to admit fault or tell the truth and Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings (Step 7). Any of our character’s defects whether they be one of the 7 deadly sins or otherwise die in the light of honesty and acceptance. They suffocate in the truth. When we own our weakness, get transparent and vulnerable, and become entirely ready to change, or at least TRY to change, our Higher Power is right there, all hands on deck.
“We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.” Alcoholics Anonymous pg.76.
The first sentence of Step 6 in the 12×12 says, “This is the step that separates the men from the boys.” Or, Women from girls. The owning of one’s faults, one’s struggles, and actively trying to improve and change is where this separation happens. If not, we remain immature spiritually, continuing on as reckless blamers and excuse-makers, and waltzing around in seemingly endless denial and justification.
There is hope in this step. A lot of it.
When somebody finally puts the swords down, lowers the shield of ego, and accepts, owns, and embraces transparency of self, the results are brilliant. Light, hope, and a new way of living begin to take place in the person’s heart. Getting to that point spiritually is what the first 5 steps are designed to do. Obviously much easier said than done, or society would be further along the path to peace and happiness. Forgiveness becomes an option when one recognizes that they too have made mistakes, that they too struggle with character defects on a daily basis. Understanding and recognizing the good in all humans become realistic.
Then, as Rumi says, we truly are just “walking each other home.”
Free of judgment. Love and tolerance in our hearts. God by our side.