One habit at a time

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
2 min readJul 14, 2022


Removing defects was the subject of the AA meeting.

One fellow shared, “I have studied my defects for a long time and came to see that defects are habits — powerful habits.

“I never miss an opportunity to practice them — especially bad habits. Sleeping in is a bad habit; I do it every morning without fail. Over-eating is a bad habit; I consume more than I need at every opportunity. I judge and condemn, another bad habit; I judge and condemn everything and everyone.

“I think I am deciding and choosing all day, but the truth is, I am habiting all day.

“Habits are hard to change. They take persistent work. Over the years of trying to remove them, I have learned two things. First, I can only change one habit at a time. Second, I cannot remove a habit; both nature and habit abhor a vacuum. To get rid of a bad habit, I must replace it with a good habit.”

This was an outstanding share, but it got even better.

He continued, “It is a ton of work to replace a habit. Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven, the concentration and focus for a long time; it is a lot of effort for a single habit. It doesn’t seem fair; the work involved seems much greater than the return received.

“But removing a defect habit, especially a deeply rooted defect habit, has hidden returns. It triggers a ripple effect. When I replace a defect habit with a good habit, there are ripples throughout my life.

“A habit of judging and condemning was the exact nature of my wrongs.

“With that in mind as the most important defect habit to be removed, I determined to replace it with a habit of curiosity. Focusing on this replacement process, I saw that replacing the defect habit with a good habit caused ripples throughout my life.

“When my wife criticized me, instead of judging, I asked myself, ‘Why is she saying this?’ When an employee did something I didn’t like, instead of condemning, I asked myself, ‘What can I do to ensure this does not happen again?’ When I watch the news and see stories that make me crazy, instead of judging, condemning, and throwing something at the TV I ask, ‘What can I do about this?’

“Replacing one habit rippled through my life. And the ripples were good; time, arguments, and energy were saved. So, identify the exact nature, replace a bad habit with a good habit, and watch the ripples.”



Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.