Humility in Recovery from Addiction

Humility is a personal quality that can be undervalued in the modern world. The modern focus is on individual empowerment and assertiveness. Most people will admit that humility is praiseworthy, but it tends to be associated with weakness. This misunderstanding about humility means that people fail to recognize how much it could benefit their lives.

Individuals who have escaped an addiction to alcohol or drugs will need to develop at least some degree of humility. If they fail to do so, they will be faced with a barrier to progress. The good news is that once people do begin to practice being humble, they will discover that it can bring substantial joy to their life. At this point, it can become a habit.

Humility Defined

Humility can mean different things to different people, but in basic terms it refers to modesty and respectfulness. It is the opposite of arrogance, a personality trait that brings people into conflict with others. Being humble means that an individual is able to accept their own limitations and weaknesses. It also means that they have a realistic understanding of their own strengths.

Humility and Assertiveness

It is a common misconception that assertiveness is the opposite of humility. That is because people associate being humble with being meek or being a doormat. There is also a view that being assertive requires the individual to act arrogantly. The reality is that it is possible to be assertive and humble at the same time. People can stand up for their rights while remaining respectful and aware of their own imperfections.

Humility and Spirituality

Humility is viewed as a great virtue by most religious traditions. In Christianity, humility is seen as a necessary step for submission to God. A similar view of humility is held in Islam. In fact, the word Islam can be defined as humbly submitting to God. In Buddhism, this attribute is viewed as a key element that people need to develop if they hope to achieve Nirvana. It is sometimes claimed that if a religion is not making the individual humble, they must be doing something wrong.

Arrogance and Addiction

Addicts tend to suffer from low self-esteem. They use arrogance as a defense mechanism to hide their inner self-loathing. This arrogance can be one of the things that keep them trapped in addiction. It makes it possible for the addict to be lying in the gutter yet still looking down their noses at everyone else.

Arrogance makes it difficult for people to learn anything new, because they think they already have all the answers. They fear that admitting to not knowing something will make them look stupid. Arrogance is often combined with ignorance. Until the addict is able to get beyond these defense mechanisms, they will remain stuck in their misery. The perfect way to combat arrogance is to learn humility.

Humility and the Twelve Steps

Humility is a key ingredient of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact Step 7 of the program states, humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings. A closer look at the 12 Steps shows that they all require some degree of humility. This is the first of the steps: we admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable. There is no room for arrogance if people hope to escape from addiction.

The Benefits of Humility in Recovery

These are some of the ways that humility can benefit people in recovery:

* Humility means that people are not afraid to ask questions. People who ask questions may feel stupid for a few moments, but people who never ask questions will always remain stupid.
* Humble people find it easy to pick up new knowledge. They are always learning new and useful things. This is because they do not arrogantly assume they already have all the answers. When people recover from an addiction, they have many things to learn if they want to be able to build a successful recovery. Ignorance is no longer a luxury that they can afford; it can be fatal. In AA, they encourage people to develop a beginner’s attitude by reminding them that our best thinking got us drunk.
* If people hope to follow a spiritual path in recovery, then they will find that developing humility will be a key ingredient. It is impossible to develop a more spiritual way of living without this humble attitude.
* People with this attitude are far less likely to relapse. They won’t become overconfident or begin to take their sobriety for granted. They will cherish their life away from addiction
*Humble individuals are never short of friends. They are just so easy to be around that people cherish their company. The fact that they are so modest and respectful means that they rarely come into conflict with anybody.
* People with this type of attitude are likely to have less stress in their life. Those who are arrogant tend to rub people the wrong way and cause problems for themselves.
* Humility means that the individual is able to be of great service to others. It is well documented that helping other people in recovery is a great way for the individual to strengthen their own recovery.