Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Substance vs Appearance.

A non-program friend asks, "What's the point of admitting to your faults, doesn't that just make you look bad?"

I hadn't thought about it that way. I suppose I'm so firmly entrenched in a certain way of acting upon my realisations of myself and my character defects, that this has become second nature:

"Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

Practising Al-Anon doesn't mean that I miraculously shed all of the less delightful aspects of myself, it means that I work to be aware of them, deal with them in the least damaging manner possible, to myself and those around me. Some I will be able to let go, and good riddance to them; some are more intrinsic to my character, and there will be stressful periods when every second corner I traverse, they will arise, to thwart and hinder me. Reminds me of a lyric in a Tom Petty song: "I've come now to accept it, it's a re-occurring thing."

I'm never going to be perfect; what I'm aiming for nowadays, is to be the best I can be with the knowledge I have at any given point in time. The longer I am in Al-Anon, the better I learn to understand how I operate, what motivates and drives me, what hinders my growth, what stimulates forward progress.

I leaned along the way, that admitting when I'm wrong isn't a matter of imparting information others don't already have about me - we're all very good at seeing how another person is going off the rails. It is in the admitting that the power to change resides; the willingness to admit carries within it, the surrender to reality.

I have found, to my interest, that the posts on this blog which deal with a struggle I'm having with a character defect seem to be the ones which receive the most comments. Either readers can relate, or they feel moved to offer support.

From the ODAT, page 336:

"This day, and the days to come, will be filled with opportunities to make more of myself."

I love that. Only thing is, quite often those opportunities come hard on the heels of an "inventory and amend" package.


  1. When I first came to the program, the one person I identified with the most was a man who had been in the rooms for over 15 years. He was human in every way imaginable and admitted freely that he was not perfect. It was a relief to me to know that I did not have to become perfect.

    One of the harder aspects of this step is to recognize my good traits as easily as my faults. The tenth step is an echo of the fourth step. It's hard to remember that includes the good as well as the bad when it specifically calls out for admitting when we're wrong. An inventory includes everything about me and not just those glaring faults.

  2. I think that I can identify with the character defects that are written about. Awareness is definitely key.

  3. Awareness. Acceptance. Action. Stuff I learned in Alanon that gave me, me. The journey is awesome, speedbumps, defects and all.