Posted by: realisticrecovery | April 24, 2009

List of Character Defects and Assets

List of Character Defects and Assets

In the business world , when a company does an inventory or balance sheet, they list the assets and the liabilities. One of the things that struck me as odd about 12-Step recovery is that we spend a lot of time thinking about our  liabilities (character defects), but not so-much our character “assets”. This is why I had to re-write my own personal 12 steps for my recovery and use tne following as my 4th Step:

Step 4 of The 12 Steps of Realistic Recovery:

I will make a realistic and rational evaluation or “inventory” of my thoughts, feelings and behaviors, both positive and negative. This is not to induce guilt and shame, but to evaluate where my attitudes, actions and decisions were not realistic or rational.

Please feel free to use the following lists as you do your Step 4 step-work , and also if you wanted to know what some of your  character “assets” are -MH.

List of Character Defects
Abrasiveness
Aggression
Aloofness
Anger
Apathy
Argumentativeness
Arrogance
Attention-seeking
Bigotry
Belligerent
Bitter
Bossy
Braggart
Careless
Cold-hearted
Complainer
Compulsive
Critical
Cruelty
Deceitful
Defensiveness
Denial
Dependent
Depression
Detached
Discrimination
Dishonesty
Disorganized
Distant
Distrustful
Dominating
Dramatic
Egocentric
Enviousness
Evasiveness
Fear
Flightiness
Forgetfulness
Gluttony
Gossiping
Grandiose
Greed
Guilty Conscience
Hate
Head-strong
Hostile
Humorless
Immature
Impatience
Impulsive
In-authenticity
Inconsiderate
Inconsistent
Indecisive
Indulgent
Inhibited
Insecure
Insensitive
Intolerant
Irritable
Isolationism
Jealousy
Laziness
Lust
Lying
Manipulative
Materialism
Negative Thinking
Neglect
Obsessed
Opinionated
Over-cautious
Overly-emotional
Passivity
Perfectionism
Perversion
Pessimism
Preoccupation
Pride (to what degree?)
Procrastination
Promiscuity
Prudish
Quarrelsome
Rageful
Rebellious
Reckless
Resentful
Rudeness
Rueful
Sarcasm
Secretive
Self-centered
Self-condemnation
Self-doubting
Self-hating
Self-importance
Selfishness
Self-justification
Self-pity
Self-seeking
Short-temperedness
Shyness
Snobbery
Stinginess
Stubbornness
Submissive
Superficial
Thin-skinned
Thoughtless
Tight
Timid
Uncritical
Undependable
Undisciplined
Unemotional
Unfriendly
Unrealistic
Unromantic
Unscrupulous
Unstable
Vague
Vanity
Vindictive
Vulgar
White-knuckled
Withdrawn
Workaholic

List of Character Assets
Accepting
Agreeable
Analytical
Approving
Assertive
Attention-giving
Attentive
Bold
Careful
Cautious
Cheerful
Concerned
Confident
Considerate
Content
Controlled
Cooperative
Decisive
Dependable
Disciplined
Extroverted
Flexible
Forgiving
Free
Friendly
Generous
Gentle
Good Listener
Giving
Guilt-free
Helpful
Honest
Humble
Industrious
Involved
Kind
Lawful
Loving
Moderate
Modest
Nice
Open
Open-minded
Optimistic
Organized
Outgoing
Patient
Peaceful
Permissive
Persistent
Playful
Polite
Rational
Realistic
Relaxed
Reliable
Romantic
Selfless
Self-liking
Self-sufficient
Sensitive
Serene
Sociable
Social
Specific
Spiritual
Steady
Straight-forward
Thoughtful
Tolerant
Trusting
Trusting
Unassuming
Venturous
Warm
Willing
Witty

original source for the list can be found at: http://www.bliss-coaching.com/resources.htm#defects

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Responses

  1. I love this blog!

    Yes it’s OK to custom-tailor your personal recovery and there are many great concept here!

    Plus having Social Anxiety means brining a new focus to the 12 steps.

    Anyway, did you know, there is a 12 Step program for Social Anxiety (Social Anxiety Anonymous) and they have also REWRITTEN the 12 Steps! Here is their version– Just Google this– “The 12 Steps of Social Anxiety Anonymous”

  2. Exactly what I needed.

    • Hey Abby,
      Yeah just like any good business , doing a proper “inventory” means counting the assets, NOT just the liabilities.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Mike

  3. I am wondering why the list of potential character assets is so much shorter than the list of character defects….

    • Now that’s a good question!

  4. I’d like to hear from somebody with at least 20 years who has actually had one or more character defects REMOVED. That’s how I read the AABB — that “remove” is what we ask HP to do. Yet I’ve got 20+ years and all I see in my own life is either a lessening of the ones I have, or an opening of my eyes to reveal even more that I didn’t see before.

    • i no longer envy people for having what i want and resent them for it. instead i can be greatful for what i have and accept it for what it is. my sobriety date is 12/22/90

    • Martine – I have 24 years of active recovery. The steps are not a one-shot deal so to have a defect of character completely removed, never to return, may or may not happen. I have never just listed out my defects and asked god to take them away. I require God to remove them but I must meet him halfway and practice behaviors driven by spiritual principles vigilantly. So for instance, lust was destroying my life, before I got sober and after. Lusting men, positions of authoriting etc. I humbly asked God to remove this defect of character and he opened doors for me (and the awareness that you spoke of) to practice service, gratitude, constraint in all my affairs. So far so good! But I can pick that defect of character back up again any time I decide that I don’t need God’s guidance in my life and it will come back in full force. Spirtiual progress, not perfection!! Good luck and blessings.

    • Remove means to detach or seperate from.

  5. It is because we are new at LIKING ourselves , we have been told we are all these negative things ! Few have used the positive words in the same sentence with our name !…… Learning to Love ourselves must begin with the realization that we have not done a very good job of presenting ourselves in the best light …… why ? Low self esteem ! we thought we were not worthy of experiencing the good life ! we must understand the disease nature of this … we aren’t Bad people trying to become good , but sick people trying to get well ! If you look at the asset list they are all derivatives of the emotion of LOVE …. …. The 12 steps if they are studied and Practiced in all our affairs will lead us to Experience LOVE …. and all it’s aspects ( Fruits of the spirit) What is the Alternative ? Staying where you are ….. and wallowing in character defects … which will re enforces low self esteem ….!!! NOTICE every character defect is a form of defense mechanism .. we have used them to built a wall of protection between ourselves and the people places and things that we considered a threat !
    I like to call them survival tools , you need them to survive in a dysfunctional family ….. but You don’t need any defenses UNLESS you are AFRAID ! so you will notice everything in that list is a derivative of the emotion FEAR !
    ATTENTION Ding ! Ding! Ding! this is a wake up Call !!!!! Listen up !

    YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING A LIFE WHERE EVERY THING YOU HAVE DONE / ACCOMPLISHED was MOTIVATED BY FEAR !!!! well the evidence shows we are very familiar with those survival techniques … defense mechanisms we call character defects ! how else can you explain that .

    If you are tired of Fear & Axiety …. and want what we have … you will get a sponsor to help you understand and WORK the steps , The Ego will slip away … and you will experienc a metamorphis …. and experience a new
    way of life and a world of love … It ‘S always been there …. the universe has been waiting patiently for you to notice ! Love & Light 5-29-1981

    • Thanks Richard, you bring up some interesting and , I think, truthful opinions here.
      I especially liked this part:
      “NOTICE every character defect is a form of defense mechanism .. we have used them to built a wall of protection between ourselves and the people places and things that we considered a threat !
      I like to call them survival tools , you need them to survive in a dysfunctional family ….. but You don’t need any defenses UNLESS you are AFRAID ! so you will notice everything in that list is a derivative of the emotion FEAR !”

      Thanks again.

  6. now I have a question for you , about the sixth step .6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

    Doesnt it seem Idealistic to use the word ALL in this step ? But I assume that word must have a reason for being there ? in the Big Book when discussing this step it is even more emphatic …. by following this with, Every one of them !……..

  7. Really appreciate this list. I just completed my sixth step and could not have done it so thurough without it.

  8. I am sober now, but why am I stilling so much? Am I switching obssesions? Please anybody has something good to say?

  9. Thanks for posting. It helped me out a lot.

  10. Actually, everyone born , was born with what are being called “defects”. Not buying it, A defect implies that it is made wrong, physically or mentally disfigured. Its’ the accumulatory nature of feelings, overblown, pre-disposed, affected, troublesome, inflated by the disease, very real, but Defective?.. God don’t make wrong, defective stuff,

  11. [...] in this area of your life, is to do a personal inventory of your character. Here’s a list of character defects and assets that may be helpful. Be open-minded and completely honest with yourself while making this list. [...]

  12. Oh how I love this post. I use to be “anything” others wanted me to be. As I get older I just don’t give a hoot! I will have to assess myself even more as I am on a discovery to find my life’s passion. Thanks.

  13. very nice
    a new way to look at situations
    best approaches to change and accept things

    very good

  14. need to improve upon lot of aspects
    gave me the insight to work upon

  15. Thank you so much for this…I’ve just come across this as I googled ‘character defects’…I’m struggling/resisting Step 4…thinking about things/responses as defence mechanisms helps me so much to understand, acknowledge and accept…I can certainly see that my resistance to the term ‘character defects’ is defensive…fearful of reinforcing the notion that I’m defective (something that I came to believe growing up)….I’m going to sit with the thoughts and feelings around this but can feel that something may have shifted. Thank you again!!

  16. Reblogged this on My Blog.

  17. I read an entry in an OA book describing Characteristics being a volume button on a stereo. If we turn it too high, it becomes loud and obnoxious. If we turn it too low, it becomes to quiet and annoyingly hard to hear. We are asking our Higher Power to balance our characteristics to find a middle ground where they are not too high and not too low. For example: Low Self-Esteem with feelings of worthlessness, negative self-talk, and lack of caring for ourselves would be at the too low side of the spectrum for the characteristic of self-esteem. Too high self-esteem with arrogance, false pride, vanity, and bragging/boasting would be at the too high end of the spectrum. Healthy self-esteem with healthy pride not going to arrogance or false pride, self-worth, positive self-talk and appropriate self-care is in the middle and is where we want to be.

    I much prefer to look at our characteristics as things on a spectrum where our prior experiences caused us to have to turn them too low or high in order to survive but now we have the ability to balance and center them again with our Higher Power. I don’t care for the words “Character Defects”. I prefer to think of things as unbalanced and out of tune characteristics instead that we are trying to bring back into harmony, so that we have a symphony of joy and serenity in our lives instead of a cacophony of anxiety, anger, and despair.

    All the 4th Step says is: “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Part of a true moral inventory is looking at all of you both good and bad. And part of the 4th step is listing your assets as well as your unbalanced characteristics. You aren’t 100% bad or 100% good. (No one is.)

    I focus more on the unbalanced ones because I generally don’t want to fix what’s not broken. However, I am aware of both characteristics. Part of my 4th step for me was figuring out how to use my balanced characteristics more in the world. I had squashed some of those characteristics or ignored them and not used them. I had let my unbalanced characteristics dominate my personality and life, and I want to give my other characteristics a chance to be used and shine in the world.

    Good luck to everyone doing a 4th step!

    • Extremely awesome comment. Thanks.

  18. I get some knowledge about defect, thanks Richard B. for your suggest, I believed that its defence mechanism Richard B on December 20, 2011 at 4:30 am

    It is because we are new at LIKING ourselves , we have been told we are all these negative things ! Few have used the positive words in the same sentence with our name !…… Learning to Love ourselves must begin with the realization that we have not done a very good job of presenting ourselves in the best light …… why ? Low self esteem ! we thought we were not worthy of experiencing the good life ! we must understand the disease nature of this … we aren’t Bad people trying to become good , but sick people trying to get well ! If you look at the asset list they are all derivatives of the emotion of LOVE …. …. The 12 steps if they are studied and Practiced in all our affairs will lead us to Experience LOVE …. and all it’s aspects ( Fruits of the spirit) What is the Alternative ? Staying where you are ….. and wallowing in character defects … which will re enforces low self esteem ….!!! NOTICE every character defect is a form of defense mechanism .. we have used them to built a wall of protection between ourselves and the people places and things that we considered a threat ! I like to call them survival tools , you need them to survive in a dysfunctional family ….. but You don’t need any defenses UNLESS you are AFRAID ! so you will notice everything in that list is a derivative of the emotion FEAR ! ATTENTION Ding ! Ding! Ding! this is a wake up Call !!!!! Listen up !

    YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING A LIFE WHERE EVERY THING YOU HAVE DONE /ACCOMPLISHED was MOTIVATED BY FEAR !!!! well the evidence shows we are very familiar with those survival techniques … defense mechanisms we call character defects ! how else can you explain that .

    If you are tired of Fear & Axiety …. and want what we have … you will get a sponsor to help you understand and WORK the steps , The Ego will slip away … and you will experienc a metamorphis …. and experience a new way of life and a world of love … It ‘S always been there …. the universe has been waiting patiently for you to notice ! Love & Light 5-29-1981

  19. As I look at this list I became aware of how my defects are assets gone wild. For example: Being “agreeable” can be a form of “inauthenticity” for me. It could be good sense to keep my mouth shut, yet my feelings go unexpressed which is actually “inauthentic”. Ex: 2
    I love to share like this yet this could actually be a form of attention seeking for me which is a defect, But, with constructive intentions inspired by HP it can be me seizing an opportunity to be authentic which allows me to put to use my gifts and talents & abilities to help others by expressing them.

    I believe that is why the 7th step is so powerful. I give my creator my defects and assets to build with me and to do with me as It wills. I ask that anything be removed that stands in the way of my useful to It and my fellows. I have discovered this really is a process of surrendering to HP and allowing Him/Her guide my process toward wholeness. (Balancing Assets & defects)

    Thank you for the list and everyone’s comments. Very helpful. Thank you for allowing me to be fully self expressed in a constructive way.

    Blessings to all.

    Judy in NJ


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