Twelve Step programs incorporate moral inventory sometimes daily, weekly and even event by event to guide ones actions.
The most common list of moral defects throughout history is based on the religious seven deadly sins. These seven can be looked at from our recovery perspective as ‘attitudes leading to relapse’ if not checked and minimized.
Remember, we are not perfect and we cannot be saints, but we are willing to grow along spiritual lines in recovery.
The seven deadly relapse attitudes to aim at eliminating are;
· Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
In almost every list, pride, is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly attitudes, and the source of the others.
It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward a Higher Power).
· Greed: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
“Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed.
· Lust: Lust or lechery is an intense desire. It is usually thought of as excessive sexual wants, however the word was originally a general term for desire. Therefore lust could involve the intense desire of money, fame, or power as well.
· Anger: a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.
Resentment or wrath also known as “rage” may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways including impatience, revenge, and vigilantism.
In its original form, the attitude of anger also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of hatred directed inwardly.
· Gluttony: excessive eating and drinking.
In religions, it is considered a bad attitude because of the excessive desire for food, and its withholding from the needy.
Gluttony is be defined as selfishness by some, placing concern with one’s own interests above the well-being or interests of others.
· Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone’s traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is the envious also desire that entity and covet it.
· Sloth: habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness.
While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized. Failing to develop spiritually is a key to becoming guilty of sloth. In Spirituality, sloth rejects grace and the Higher Power.
Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, bad attitude exists when good people fail to act.
Not to worry, ancient wirings down through the ages have identified just four thinking attitudes that one can use in any situation.
The set of virtuous attitudes are:
· Prudence – able to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time
· Justice – proper moderation between self-interest and the rights and needs of others
· Temperance or Restraint – practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation
· Fortitude or Courage – forbearance, endurance, and ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation
That’s a pretty simple formula. To overcome seven potential relapse attitudes (as above) use just four virtuous attitudes.
And, of course, use of the Serenity Prayer.