By Jamie Moon
Patience is defined in the dictionary as the ability to bear provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. I don’t believe it, it goes on, an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance at delay. You’d think that would be enough but no it goes on even further, a quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; and last but not least diligence. Well as a Principle of life I think I’ve got a long way to go; although I may be being a little hard on myself?
Let’s see what I do in the face of provocation? (? ? ? Sorry for the delay I had to look up the word provocation). So, whenever something incites or instigates emotions in me such as anger or irritation what do I do? Well thank God for the Steps ‘cause I immediately look at myself and ask what’s going on in me that this person or situation could possibly rub me the “wrong way.” When I do see what it is I “spot check” it by at once praying for it to be removed (“it” meaning my stuff). Then I “tell on myself,” usually by simply texting a brief note to someone in the program that would understand what I’m doing. After that, I would immediately make amends if I have shown my impatience at all in the situation. And lastly I will “resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can help.”
Now if I have NOT shown my impatience, which is often the case these days, and do not therefore owe an amend, the reality is that I have demonstrated Patience. However, this is a Step Six Spiritual Principle. So how have I learned Patience in Step Six? Well what exactly are we being asked again?—to be “entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” So we begin by being Patient with ourselves—by not expecting this to happen overnight. What I spoke of in the last paragraph is a tool of the Program that we gain in the Step Ten process. I may as well bite the bullet here and take on another of members favorite “sacred cows”—that the Steps must be only taken in order. Now as with all such things they can be taken to extremes. With those I work with, I try to have them start a daily practice of three things that are found in Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve. I ask them to pray every day, to do Step Tens (both Spot Checks and written) and to find those even newer than they are and give them support (Step Twelve). Out of order? I don’t think so.