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In trying to change a habit, an undesirable behaviour, I have experienced much resistance, pain, frustration, moments of petulance, back-sliding and disappointment. Through perseverance, however, it has been possible to cultivate character attributes transferable to other areas of my life.

The steps tell me to ” continue… improve… practice… “, and implementing change requires all three. I have had to learn to say no to harmful impulses, to trust a higher power and consequently myself, resilience – to walk through pain and not be defeated by adversity, patience – as the pace of change rarely matches my expectation, humour – the ability to laugh at myself, determination, and maybe most importantly, humility – acceptance of myself as a fallible, imperfect human being and therefore self-forgiveness and compassion.

Before AA I definitely didn’t say no to harmful impulses! There was no God and I didn’t trust myself. Pain debilitated me, I had no sense of humour, self-hatred consumed me and I was impatient to the core – instant gratification was all I knew. By working the steps, continuing to work the steps (practising and improving) and maintaining the discipline of regular meeting attendance, not only have I been abstinent from drink/drugs and self-harm for nearly 6 years, I have experienced the roundabout result of true character building. Qualities cultivated to keep me off the drink have bled beautifully into all areas of my life, proving that not only is change possible and habits can be broken, but growth, development and further change are inevitable if we persevere.

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