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January 3, 2013

Characteristics That Aren’t Quite Functional

by Brendan

In a discussion with my doctors today, Dr. Dan said that he’s been trying to reframe the Step 4 discussion (Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”).   He suggested that instead of talking about “character defects” or “character flaws” (as A.A.’s “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, does), we talk about “characteristics that aren’t quite functional.”

Florida Recovery Center Housing

Florida Recovery Center Housing

The point of reframing the language that we use in talking about change is that if they’re “characteristics,” maybe they’re more readily changed than “character defects,” which sounds a bit permanent.   And also “characteristics” isn’t as negative as “character flaws.”   Re-framing the language fits with the concept that, “Addiction is what I have; it isn’t who I am.”

Made me think, in an afternoon meeting during which a friend presented some Step 4 resentments and “characteristics,” that maybe there’s some rehabilitative possibilities, to wit:

—  “low self-esteem” might be changed to “humility.”

—  “self-centeredness” or “selfishness” might be changed to “self-nurturing.”

—  “judgmental” could become “evaluative.”

—  “manipulative” might be changed to “well-organized.”

Just some thoughts here; need to ponder and process some more, run it by a few others.

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