I was advised by my sponsor to pray daily, in the morning, for the release of my character defects. Select one or two to focus on, and then pray throughout the day to release it, especially when I noticed it. I have been doing that.
I have also been selecting one of my known assets, and praying and focusing on strengthening it. If God can remove defects, he can surely increase the effectiveness of my asset.
My sponsor also foretold that I would recognize when the defect started to lift and the training began. I would start to see the many different areas where the defect was most routine or common in my life; the areas where I may not have even noticed it before because it was such habit.
I have been praying for the defect (or two) that comes to mind. I have my list of defects to go off of, but I haven’t needed to use it yet as they just come to me in the morning. But today, it didn’t come to me. I gave it some time and just let it roll, thinking maybe something would come to mind – but it didn’t.
I had been at work for quite some time, and I finally decided that it was time to pull out “The List.” I figured that I would recognize the ones on The List that I had already prayed about and would mark them off as I came across them, so what better place to start than number one?
Let's see what we have here... Anger.
“Ugh! Anger?! Who wants to deal with that shit?”
“No, dude – go down the line, pick something else! You need something better than Anger to release!”
“No! Shit! No! Go back to Anger! Go back to Anger! What the hell are you thinking?!”
Fine. Anger it is.
I have the opportunity to learn the Seventh Step Prayer. Currently, I pray to have my defect released from me, and I say it with full intent and whole-heartedly – truly, I do. I ask that the Creator use me for the day and teach me to live without said defect, or to learn to use it as an asset.
Well, I decided that since I was looking at The List, I may as well begin my work with memorizing the prayer. It is something I wanted to do anyway, but just haven’t “found the time,” so I took the time to stop the insanity (eh-hem) and begin.
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you will now remove from me every single defect of character which stand in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. [Aho].”
(Well, the Aho part is the Native American way of saying “Amen” (as taught by the White Bison 12-step meetings). I just like that better, so I replaced it. That’s a me thing. Anyway…)
I had no idea what this prayer was going to do to me. As I began to memorize it, I began to think it, to understand it, to feel it; and I did. I don’t know how to explain what happened, only that it happened.
Do I have the prayer memorized? Hell no! Not yet! Memorization is a tough gig for me. HOWEVER, it was shortly afterwards that I began to notice things I wouldn’t have noticed before; I’d get pissed about this, or mad about that. Angry. Seriously.
Some would call this a conscious awakening, one much like after buying a new car, and we suddenly see the same car, and often the same color, all over the place. We see it because we are suddenly aware of it.
But -- who the fuck cares?!
The point is to notice it! And then correct it. As for me? I believe that something greater than me had to jar it loose from my way of thinking. And it did, I felt it.
Now, as the day progressed, I didn’t recognize the Anger building up, no no no. It was after the fact, after I got Angry, that I realized I had. Before, I would just get Angry and dealt with the aftermath, whether all internal, or external – maybe someone’s hurt feelings, a broken device, or even a sore throat from yelling (none of these happened today, but they have in the past). Regardless of the results, it was always done, and then left.
But I caught myself today, more than usual. It started out that I was mad at someone at work, argued in my head, and then realized it – and stopped. I smiled because I knew it had begun. Later, it was something stupid like mistyping my password several times. Pissed, recognized, stopped.
I had my counselor appointment today. Take a WILD GUESS as to what our topic was about (okay, Miss Synchronicity… I’m asking YOU)?
Ya. We discussed things in my past, how I was brought up, and what triggered it all. It was just stuff I didn’t really ever want to talk about. Stuff that made me -- well, Angry. The conversation also included some self-created family roles and co-dependency issues, but eh – another blog maybe.
This his how my day moved! Anger, recognize, correct, all better. Over and over, just little things, silly things – but things nonetheless. Practice. Training. In fact, just a moment ago, as I was typing this very blog, my nephew knocked on my door. “Grrrr! What?! I’m trying to write here!” was my initial reaction. But then – I recognized that I was being an ass (thankfully only inside my head), and I allowed him and his dad to come in. What did I do next? I listened to him and my brother talk. And I even smiled, and – felt kinda good with my lips stretching ear-to-ear.
NOW WAIT A MINUTE HERE! I’m not done with this oddness… not at all. Don’t forget, I have an asset to think about, too.
“Which asset did you pick out, D. L.?”
Well, funny you should ask… I didn’t pick out an asset; furthermore, apparently just looking at a defect on the list will put it in queue for the Creator to pickup and work on.
Recall that I have mentioned before that a defect can be turned around and changed into an asset? Well, ya. It can.
The next thing on the list, the very thing that convinced Left Side and Right Side to stick with Anger, was Attention-Seeking. Well, I’m not much of an Attention-Seeker so much, but somehow that was on the list – so apparently it needed to be there. What is the opposite of seeking attention? Finding those that need it and giving it. Many forms of attention-giving are possible. It can be aiding someone with a wound, driving someone to the store or a meeting, buying someone dinner, or even something as simple as listening to someone that needs it.
I met with AF and HW tonight. HW, God bless her, has been through a hellacious week. Now, I’m huge on anonymity, as all my thousands upon thousands of readers know, so I will leave HW’s story exactly as that: hellacious. But she needed to talk about it, with friends, and AF and I ended up there at her home.
AF and I began to listen to HW tell her story. There was a lot of agony there, and she really needed to let it out. I could feel the frustration and hear it in her voice – and I think for the first time in a long time, I was actually absorbing a conversation. I was truly concerned for her and what she went through. I was listening, from inside.
I've heard it said time and again in The Rooms that we'd truly listen to people with care and concern when we were spiritually fit. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to people a lot, and sometimes I hear them very well. But tonight, it was different somehow. I just saw and heard something different than what I normally do – I could … I don’t know… hear it.
It somehow frightens me to see the power of prayer; seeing the release of character defects. It's not because anything terrifying has happened, but because I can see how it will make me very, very aware of things I’ve never noticed before. But it's time, and I'm ready for improvement again.
The Seventh Step Prayer is going to be an ongoing process in my life, I can already guarantee that. It’s going to become a tool in the Tool Box that we hear The People in The Rooms talk about all the time. It is a powerful process that can change my life, and I believe I'm ready for it.
Now, just to figure out how to make it change other people's lives… ;)