Sunday, November 02, 2008

On Character Defects, Shortcomings and Inner Demons:
by Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta


Update: February 17, 2009

Main Entry: 1 char•ac•ter
Pronunciation: \ˈker-ik-tər, ˈka-rik-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality, from Greek charaktēr, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch
Date: 14th century
1 a: a conventionalized graphic device placed on an object as an indication of ownership, origin, or relationship b: a graphic symbol (as a hieroglyph or alphabet letter) used in writing or printing c: a magical or astrological emblem d: alphabet e (1): writing , printing (2): style of writing or printing (3): cipher f: a symbol (as a letter or number) that represents information ; also : a representation of such a character that may be accepted by a computer
2 a: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b (1): a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories ; also : a group or kind so separated {advertising of a very primitive character} (2): the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3): the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type {a wine of great character} c: the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation {the character of the American people} d: main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish {excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake}
3: position , capacity {his character as a town official}
4: reference 4b
5: reputation {the scandal has damaged his character and image}6: moral excellence and firmness {a man of sound character}
7 a: a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits {quite a character} b: one of the persons of a drama or novel c: the personality or part which an actor recreates {an actress who can create a character convincingly} d: characterization especially in drama or fiction e: person , individual {a suspicious character}
8: a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type
synonyms see disposition, quality, type
— char•ac•ter•less ,\-ləs\ adjective
— in character
: in accord with a person's usual qualities or traits {behaving in character}
— out of character
: not in accord with a person's usual qualities or traits {his rudeness was completely out of character}
~ CASA Mission Statement ~

CASA (Christians Against Substance Addiction) is a progressive Christian recovery group based upon the original A.A. 12-Steps Program. The spiritual principles and practices of our CASA 12-Steps Program with its related Biblical Scriptures come from the wisdom of the Holy Bible, as did the basis ideas of the original A.A. 12-Steps. We have not forgotten the Christian roots of A.A.; claim Creator God as our Higher Power with faith in God as the foundation for all our spiritual traditions, not an obscure anonymity.
Romans 12:3 ~ 21st Century King James Version
For I say to every man that is among you, through the grace given unto me, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

We support a wholistic recovery program for spiritual healing to help us identify, treat and ultimately cure the affliction of drug addiction and its related evils. The term ‘wholistic’ is a combination of the words ‘whole’ and ‘holy’. We aim to achieve a true balanced maturity as humane believers, not phony make-believers. With God’s amazing grace, power and wisdom, we can be cured!

~ Introduction ~

In the context of combating substance addiction, it is our personal character defects, shortcomings and inner demons that are major obstacles or roadblocks in the way of our sober recovery and spiritual growth. We need to remove these roadblocks and move forward one day at a time with eyes for the future. History is a guide to action, our past has created our present and a true knowledge of our present situation will help guide us into the future with a clear vision.

If we suffer a relapse it is usually because we have not really eliminated our major character defects, corrected gross shortcomings and/or exorcised our inner demons. It is these fatal factors that take us out, not our indulgence in the original chemical poison alone. Our chemical disease is a primary symptom of a deeper spiritual disease that requires spiritual healing. Ultimately, personal recovery is an inside job of self-healing. Living spiritually and consciously helps us not to fall into any kind of relapse mode.
Psalm 7:15 ~ 21st Century King James Version
“He made a pit and dug it, and has fallen into the ditch which he hath made.”
Relapse, which is basically a medical term, is not a part of our recovery; it is a reflection of our continued spiritual sickness. The obvious outward behavior of ‘dope fiend’ ways exhibits deep mental-spiritual sickness and masks hidden disorders of the inner soul that require spiritual healing. On our spiritual path, we strive to work on our continued progressive recovery, inner spiritual liberty and our humane development as humane beings with care, concern and compassion for all living beings.

~ Personal Inventory ~

As a healing process, true recovery happens in different progressive stages. In early recovery, after a period of sobriety, many recovering addicts lose their way, foul up and self-sabotage because of a fatal flaw in their personal recovery program. Many naïve newcomers in recovery and sometimes even old-timers can suffer a severe relapse back down and out into the darkness of the disease of addiction because of their basic fundamental failure to do a good honest personal inventory. As a guiding rule, when relapse happens it is because we have not done a serious comprehensive personal inventory of our assets and liabilities, including our own personal history. A conscious daily personal inventory is essential and should be a part of our daily routine in order for us to check in with ourselves and safeguard our own continued sober recovery. It helps us stay involved in the protracted healing process of recovery.

CASA Step #4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, taking stock of our assets and liabilities.
Romans 8:27 “And he who searches the hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit prays for the saints according to the will of God.”

Many people in recovery dread doing Step #4 because it involves honest self-criticism and calls for a deep self-examination of the truth about ourselves. It can be painful and shameful to expose dark sins we would rather pretend to forget. However, we must remember the lessons of the past in order not to repeat them in the vicious circle of addiction, recovery, relapse and back into active addiction over and over again.

We must conscientiously work the basics of a 12-Steps program, truly repent of our mortal sins and experience a deep spiritual conversion in order to stay on the straight road of recovery without ending up in a dead end. We need to bring our sins out of the darkness into the healing powers of the divine light of truth. We must come to love, know and fully understand ourselves and others. In essence, we have to stay on the spiritual path of inner enlightenment and creative consciousness.

~ Drug Addiction: A Deep Spiritual Sickness ~

Drug addiction is a complete physical, mental and spiritual disease that attacks the entire entity of the human being in the trinity of the three realms of the mind, body and soul. We are three-part beings. The spiritual healing process all revolves around this mind-body-soul trinity and its complex interrelationships. Thus, we must heal ourselves in the three key areas of wholistic health: mental, physical and spiritual health, with a special emphasis on spiritual health.

We need to treat, cure and heal our disease. We do not want to only arrest and control our addiction like it is a growling prisoner-slave within us always capable of escaping and coming out at a moment’s notice. We must treat our disease, not nurse it, but kill its roots within our souls in order to be free of it and truly recover. Once and for all we want to be rid of it and get it out of our lives as we gradually eradicate its harmful effects, results and influences. We desire to become whole, healthy and cured from the evils of drug addiction, not be doomed to forever calling ourselves addicts as clients of and consumers in the multi-billion dollar drug-medical-rehab industries.

Many addicts have a real fear and dread of the horrors and negative effects of the actual physical withdrawal from drug addiction. They stay strung out and sick in order to avoid ‘getting sick’. When a drug addict has made a decision to go straight, get off harmful drugs and work on being sane and sober, he goes through a period of intense detoxification and enters the initial stage of early recovery with PAWS (Post-Acute-Withdrawal-Syndrome) always scratching away. At this tender point it is easy to get caught up again back into being chemically dependent because the body is still infected with the residue of the chemical properties from the original poison, substance or drug of choice. Depending on one’s individual history with drugs, including alcohol, PAWS can last for a few days, a few months, to a few years or more. Old habits die hard. Healing takes quality recovery time, conscientious hard work and personal dedication. Be patient with yourself and others as you persevere and move forward in life sane and sober. We can become born anew!

Once we are serious about our recovery there are still a lot of mental processes involving brain cognition that need to be identified, recognized and transformed, including the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ that easily gets so many of us back into trouble in the dementia of active addiction.

“Cognition is a mental process of knowing that involves perception, analysis and judgment in consciousness as an active experience of actually knowing as distinct from feeling, willing or sensing. It is how we learn to trust what we know, as it refers to brain science as well as understanding the mind and how it thinks.”

If we are not on guard, we remain fragile and vulnerable to sudden triggers that can result in a sudden slip and end up in relapse. We must learn to consciously control our entire beings in terms of our thoughts, our bodies and our spirits. Recall: the mind commands, the body functions and the spirit guides!

To further complicate matters, there can be a lot of deeply buried internal spiritual conflicts that have not been dug out, examined and resolved by us. These can be subconscious thoughts, repressed feelings kept in storage and maddening motivations we are not fully aware of that can cause us to act against our basic survival interests and threaten our recovery and general success in life.

Usually the root origins of these spiritual conflicts can be traced back to our family of origin in early childhood, our neighborhood environment in adolescent teenage years and these internal conflicts can carry over into our adult relationships. It takes a lot of time, energy and training to reverse long dark decades of conditioned negative thinking processes, bad behavior patterns and false spiritual beliefs.

The spiritual nature of our disease is often hidden by rigid mental health labels and clinical classifications that disguise deeper spiritual sins. Medical doctors routinely prescribe pharmaceutical quick-fixes. Why switch an illegal addiction with a legal one? A spiritual problem requires a spiritual solution.

We strive to keep it simple in our recovery because we have already complicated our lives with drug addiction and other disorders. Indeed, true refinement seeks simplicity, yet modern life with all its complexities is often full of so much chaos and confusion that it clouds our mental-spiritual clarity or consciousness.

In essence, we should concentrate on creating a hard core centered consciousness in our lives and not be easily distracted by the obvious insane, the ignorant or irrelevant matters around us that can take us away from paying attention to what needs to be done for us to gradually heal ourselves of our spiritual sickness. Our clear conscious minds need to fathom the connections, interconnections and complexities of real life in order to come to a true understanding of life, see the big picture and raise our overall cosmic consciousness as creatures of the Creator of the cosmos.

~ Character Defects ~

Main Entry: 1 de•fect
Pronunciation: \ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin defectus lack, from deficere to desert, fail, from de- + facere to do — more at do
Date: 15th century
1 a: an imperfection that impairs worth or utility : shortcoming {the grave defects in our foreign policy} b: an imperfection (as a vacancy or an unlike atom) in a crystal lattice2 [Latin defectus] : a lack of something necessary for completeness, adequacy, or perfection : deficiency {a hearing defect}

CASA Step #6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.”

Character defects are major human factors that can severely harm us and are common to many people whether they are in recovery from an addiction disorder or not. This is a key reason why the spiritual principles, structure and format of a 12-Steps program has great social significance in today’s troubled times. It can help heal all of us and can make great contributions to creating a just, sane and humane society. Honestly working a 12-Steps Program can be helpful to all who desire higher self-esteem, seek self-improvement and true self-empowerment in today’s world so we can consciously determine our own destiny. It can help us all be humble before Creator God, admit any errors in our ways, correct any wrongs we have committed and keep us in conscious communion with our Creator.

Our spiritual healing involves the urgent need for us to be fully conscious of any core character defects in operation within us in order to keep us working on our living sane and sober lives as functional mature humane beings.

CASA Step #6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.
I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.”

Basic character defects are composed of the Seven Deadly Sins that are major vile vices that work against valuable virtues.

Virtue against which it sins
Brief description of virtue
False Pride Humility

Seeing ourselves in proper perspective in connected reality, being good at learning and accepting valid criticism

Jealous Envy Love Love is pure, kind and empathetic in harmony with others without petty jealousy. Love heals the soul.
Wrath/Anger Compassion Being kind to all of humankind with care, concern and compassion, not misguided anger due to inner fears.
Sloth Zeal Zeal is the inspired energetic response of the soul to God's commands. Sloth shows a lack of spiritual strength.
Greed Generosity Giving to others what we have freely received, expecting nothing in return. Sharing is caring.
Gluttony Temperance Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures, preserves natural balance and does not overindulge.
Lust Self control Self control over our passions keeps us balanced and centered. Selfish sexual lust without borders is a lack of respect for those we love.

Related Link:

The above is not written in stone. These are recommended guidelines to help us in our spiritual growth. There are other human characteristics that can loosely be considered as character defects. Our list could go on and on involving other human character traits. However, we want to focus on the main character defects that cause us suffering, not get frustrated trying to be perfect. Just for today, we just want to stay sober, get well and work on healing ourselves.

We should be careful not to confuse core character defects with common shortcomings for they are not necessarily the same. Accepting constructive criticism and honest self-criticism are essential tools for us to build up an honest recovery program. We need to know the truth about our spiritual sickness and how to treat it as we work on our continued sober recovery, a wholistic cure and our on-going spiritual healing.

~ Shortcomings ~

Main Entry: short•com•ing
Pronunciation: \ˈshȯrt-ˌkə-miŋ, ˌshȯrt-ˈ\
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
: an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole ; also : the quality or state of being flawed or lacking
CASA Step #7: We humbly asked Him on our knees to remove our shortcomings.
James 4:10 ”Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Shortcomings are minor personality defects that can get in the way of our progressive recovery. If they are combined together they can become heavy burdens that weigh us down and jeopardize our spiritual growth, but they should not be seen in the same category as major character defects. A shortcoming could be as simple as a tendency to always be late for meetings, finding it hard to pay attention or as serious as being a functional illiterate able to function in the work world but not good at reading, writing and general literacy.

When we are humble we are more capable of recognizing our core character defects and basic shortcomings. We can learn nothing new if we arrogantly think we know everything. Humility is the key for us to grow, expand and mature as humane beings. We have a humane right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We can consciously continue to work on our character defects and not let them ruin our lives. However, we have to accept the basic fact that we may always have shortcomings in one area or another as we are imperfect beings subject to change, growth and further evolution.

~ Inner Demons ~
Ephesians 6:11-12 ~ 21st Century King James Version
“11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Inner demons are old ghosts that haunt and stalk us with self-doubts, foolish fears and baseless insecurities; all those spirits, attitudes and patterns that get in the way of our spiritual progress without our conscious awareness of them and keep evil alive inside of us. A key goal of spiritual therapy is to reveal the subconscious, bring it up to our conscious awareness and raise cosmic consciousness to a higher level of understanding.

Inner demons can be unconscious small daily routines that we have, little indulgences that can gradually get worse over time if left unchecked. Why walk by a liquor store? Maybe a little beer once in a while won’t hurt. Maybe a little thin line of crank to keep us going won’t matter. What’s a little puff of smoke? Maybe a little lie here and there is OK so long as no one else finds out. Who is going to know? Integrity includes being honest with yourself when you are all alone in communion with Creator God.

These are not the obvious outward demons, such as a false friend trying to get us to indulge in dope fiend activity. These are hidden invisible demons that pop up out of nowhere and work against our efforts at achieving substantial spiritual recovery. In the back of our minds they nag us and can be the old unfinished business of unresolved spiritual issues that retard our spiritual growth and block our forward movement. The Devil works in devious ways, yet many of us lie and deceive ourselves using a perverted twisted logic, rationalizing wrongdoing and justifying counter-productive actions. Our worst enemy can be the enemy within!

~ General Summary ~

Our progressive recovery requires us to eliminate our major character defects, get rid of our major shortcomings and exorcise any inner demons as key components of any relevant recovery program, especially doing a daily personal inventory in a spiritual journal in conscious communion with the Creator. Spiritual healing is an on-going process of becoming one in harmony with the Creator, our inner self and others we love. It brings us peace of mind and inner serenity after we have left behind the past insane madness experienced during our active addiction as ‘dope fiends’, ‘drunks’ or derelicts.

Recognize that drug addiction and many other disorders are spiritual in origin being raised in a sick society. They are forms of spiritual sickness because we are out-of-order in relation to the Creator’s will for us to be good, happy and in harmony with the Creator, other creatures and nature in general. We must treat, cure and heal the inner spirit from within in harmony with the help of the Great Spirit of the Creator.
Psalm 37:23 ~ 21st Century King James Version
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delighteth in his way.”
● CASA 12-Steps Blog:
● CASA-12-Steps Yahoo Group:
● Progressive Recovery Today:
+ The CASA Twelve-Steps Program + ~ Short Version
~ Christians Against Substance Addiction ~ ‘The Real Deal’
"And you will know the truth, and that very truth will make you free.” ~~ John 8:32
Here are the CASA 12-Steps and Scriptures we worked which are recommended as a progressive Christian Recovery Program:
1. We admitted we were powerless over our drug addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Matthew 9:36 “When Jesus saw the multitudes, he had compassion on them, because they were tired and scattered, like sheep which have no shepherd.”
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Mark 9:23 “Jesus said to him, If you can believe, everything is possible to him who believes."
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Creator God, as we understood Him.
Luke 9:23 “Then he said in the presence of everyone, He who wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.”
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, taking stock of our assets and liabilities.
Romans 8:27 “And he who searches the hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit prays for the saints according to the will of God.”
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another humane being the exact nature of our wrongs.
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is powerful.”
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.”
7. We humbly asked Him on our knees to remove our shortcomings.
James 4:10 ”Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their faults, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive even your faults.”
9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Matthew 5:24 “Leave your offering there before the altar, and first go and make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your offering.”
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it, while recognizing our continued progressive recovery.
Romans 12:3 ‘‘For I say, through the grace which is given to me, to all of you, not to think of yourselves beyond what you ought to think; but to think soberly, every man according to the measure of faith which God has distributed to him.”
11. We sought through prayer, meditation and study to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the Power to carry that out.
Mark 12:30 “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your might; this is the first commandment.”
12. We tried to carry this Message to addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs; having had a ‘Spiritual Awakening’ as a result of working these 12-Steps.
Galatians 6:1 "My brethren, if anyone be found at fault, you who are spiritual, restore him in a spirit of meekness; and be careful lest you also be tempted.”

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