cecily mentioned that we talk a lot about "defects of character" in aa. and she offered her understanding of what a defect of character is.
and i used to be like her, and believe what she wrote. i don't anymore, although i see that she might be on the road to the understanding i now have.
a defect of character is anything that stands between me and being of service to god or to another person.
i'll give you an example. everybody has sex problems (and they're usually sort of interesting to hear about), but at times i let my sexuality run away with me, and it causes me no end of grief.
when i'm locked in a sex fantasy while on the phone with someone i sponsor, and i'm too busy thinking about what i'd rather be doing to pay attention to his question or issue, that's a big problem. i can not be of service at moments like that. (yes, it's happened.)
on the flipside, when my sex problems help me to listen to another person's troubles with more love and less moral judgement, they are a tremendous asset. i understand some of what can drive people to do monumentally stupid things (we won't talk about deliberately getting the married woman pregnant ...), and that helps me be a concerned, honest friend who shares my experience without the harsh judgement of "you moron, why didn't you wrap your willie?" (that is a comment i got sharing about it in a meeting.)
the challenge is to learn how to either give up enough control that aa's suggested program of recovery can actually work on the moments when these things are a problem, or to control them myself (much more difficult).