Humility in Recovery

For me, drinking alcoholically lead to a great deal of private and public humiliation. I have had a hard time dealing with the resulting shame and guilt. This, in turn, contributed to my drinking to escape those bad feelings.

Spiritual growth and real recovery, however, occurs as a result of our failures, not successes. For me, and I would venture to guess a lot of attorneys, I thought I was a “big shot” and better and smarter than most. And because success was the currency of my upbringing, I was always chasing recognition, which in turn, bloated the ego. Thinking I was better than other alcoholics in the room was a recipe for disaster, and a sure path to relapse.

Humility is a critical component of the 12 Step Recovery Program. Step 7 says:

We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Bill W. says in the 12 in 12 Book that “the attainment of greater humility is the foundation of principle of each of AA’s Twelve Steps. For without humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all.”

I really like the saying that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less. (~C.K. Lewis). So for me, I need to stop thinking that I am the Center of the Universe, and that I’m more special, smarter and unique from everyone else. I’m clearly not. I also need to stop thinking that my own personal achievements are a barometer for my own self-worth. Somehow, I have to learn that my own self-worth comes from within. This will take time, I know. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks…

My weekly visits to the local detox center and frequent AA meetings are very helpful to ground my humility. For there, I can focus on hearing others’ stories and maybe helping my fellow alcoholic rather than focusing on myself.

Have a great and humble day!

One day at a time…

~Dick

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