Monday, August 5, 2013


Newer You
There was a lot I needed to learn to keep moving away from my addictions. Fortunately, I had come to know a number of people who were successfully living their own addiction recovery process. They generously shared their experience with me, which was a great help.
            One of the important things they shared with me was to think of the word humility or “humbly” as an attitude that chooses to follow God’s will over my own will. This appeared to be very simple. But doing it has been difficult, and I have not always made it happen like I would have liked. Making this decision consistently marks a deep shift at the core of my character, who I am, and the way I live my life.
            Now today, when I do think “humbly,” it feels like I live in a place where impossibly good things happen to otherwise impossible people like me. I experience peacefulness, even when the world as I know it gets turned upside down, inside out, with things changing all around me. Humility helps me feel like my life is becoming right. Like life makes sense. On the other hand, when I choose to go my own way, which I often do without even realizing it, my self-abusive tendencies return, I struggle with self-preoccupation and the silly notion that my life revolves around me. When I try to be the master of my own kingdom, humiliation becomes almost inevitable. 
            Learning the true meaning of humility was new to me because as a child I learned a distorted meaning of humility from my family. I was taught to confuse humility with self-loathing and self-hatred. From their example of abusing themselves and one another, I learned that it was “humble” not to like myself. By grade school, I believed my feelings of uselessness, self-pity and defeatism meant that I was “humble.” This was not my family’s intention, but their confusion about humility resulted in confused and angry family relationships. 
            Real humility has nothing to do with a low self-esteem or a negative self-image.  Low self-esteem is often the result of not understanding the care and concern God has expressed for us in His Word. Misconceptions of God create spiritual and emotional blindness and this can cause us to betray ourselves without knowing it. Self-betraying thinking triggers self-betraying behavior, which is hand in glove with our addictions. And, with denial being a stronghold of addiction, we become all the more blind. We rationalize. We make excuses. Our low self-esteem becomes a sick excuse to stay stuck in our miserable condition. It becomes a sad and sick way of saying, “I don’t want to be responsible. I don’t want to be held responsible.” 
            Recovery is impossible as long as we find excuses — or reasons —not to change, even when our excuses and reasons are rooted in our family of origin or the way we were raised. Blaming others does not work either. By blaming others for where we are today, we try to put the problems we are responsible for on to others who most certainly should not accept them. We are the only ones who can take real responsibility for our lives. And this requires — yes — humility.
For just so long as we were convinced that we could live exclusively by our own individual strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a Higher Power impossible. This was true even when we believed God existed. We could actually have earnest religious beliefs which remained barren because we were still trying to play God ourselves. As long as we placed self-reliance first, a genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question. That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God’s will was missing.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions pg 72


This is an excerpt from WHEN LOST MEN COME HOME, not for men only  ~ Copyright David Zailer, 2011

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