Why do we hold onto the very thing that is destroying us?

In Alcoholics Anonymous, there are 12 steps laid out for recovery. One of the most intriguing steps is step six. Step six says that “we were entirely ready to have God remove our defects of character.” That seems kind of like a no brainer, but it actually is more difficult than one might think. If you consider your own “defects of character,” they have taken hold in your life in the form of behavioral patterns and habits. They developed for some purpose or to fill some void. They are like deep rooted weeds and take many forms. For some it is alcohol or substance use to push away uncomfortable feelings or memories, for some it is engaging in toxic relationships out of fears of being alone, and then there are people who constantly find themselves getting run over emotionally by others because of a compulsive need to be liked or accepted. Clearly we get something from these behaviors emotionally or we would not continue to engage in the activity. These actions become defective or maladaptive when the payoff is less than the personal cost to us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Often when we are standing in the middle of it all, we somehow still feel in control completely unaware that things around us in our lives are suffering. The point is that there is something that hold us back from letting go even when we know that a behavior is hurting us. That something is in step seven. It is humility. Humility is a realistic observation of ourselves. Humility recognizes our strengths, but it also recognizes our defects of character. It requires vulnerability and a willingness to let go of the control we so desperately seek in our actions. It does not push us into shame, but merely an accurate observation of where we are at the moment. Humility allows us to bend to God and ask for the removal of these character defects. Humility helps us see past the fleeting pleasure our decisions and choices are giving us to what our lives “could be” if we changed course. The next time you find yourself engaging in unhealthy behavior, ask yourself what is causing you to hold on to that behavior. Then, try to imagine the world that “could be” if you stopped engaging in the destructive patterns. Then humbly ask for help. It seems pretty simple, but in reality it is quite difficult. Difficult, but doable and totally worth it.-

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