Character Defects

The longer I hang around this camp, the more I become convinced that I still have every one of the defects of character I walked through the door with. They just go underground — hibernate — until the right situation arises. Oh perhaps mine have softened over time, but they have not been removed. Recovery for me is staying aware of my character defects, accepting them like I first had to accept my alcoholism and trusting that they will be removed when the time is right.

Impatience, cynicism, self-righteousness, a sense of entitlement, and a short fuse all add up to one thing: I can act like an asshole at times. There’s no better word for it. A couple of days ago I called AT&T to change my TV plan to a less expensive option. I know from a wealth of experience I don’t do well with customer service reps and computerized call centers. So, as I dialed the customer service number, I prayed: “please help me be patient and kind.” I started to feel anxious after about fifteen minutes on hold, listening to a recording about how much AT&T appreciated my business. Finally I was connected to a Filipino rep who I did not clearly understand and there was so much noise in the background of his call center that I had to repeat every sentence. I carefully explained what I wanted — a different plan at a lower price. He suggested a new plan and painstakingly reviewed all the features. I became excited until he finally told me that the new plan was more expensive than the plan I currently have. In less than two seconds my opinion of him changed from fellow human being to complete idiot. My tone became sarcastic and mean as I pointed out how he had wasted my time. I didn’t yell or swear at the guy (progress!) but after we hung up, I’m sure he said to himself “what an asshole that guy was!” I was still angry after I hung up the phone. Then I realized the anger didn’t feel good. Instead of justifying or rationalizing my treatment of the AT&T guy, I saw clearly that I was suffering at the hands of my character defects. This is major recovery for me.

It says in our book that we have stopped fighting anybody or anything, but it doesn’t say we stop fighting all at once. I still want to fight. I guess I’ll stop fighting when I get sick and tired of being sick and tired, just like with my drinking. The Doctor’s Opinion says I need what he calls “an entire psychic change.” Step Six says I have to become, “entirely ready.” Today I’m OK with not being “entirely” ready. I see myself as a work in progress on God’s schedule, not mine.