Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting Humble with Humility

Have you had one of those experiences where you have read about an AA idea and maybe even heard it a million times in meetings over the years and then one day something clicks and it’s like you never saw the words before?

I’m having one of those OMG! Experiences with Step Seven and humility.

My sponsor and I are working through the steps and we’re getting ready to move on to Step Eight next so I thought, “Well, I’ll re-read Step Seven so that I’m sure I really “did” it and I’m reading the words in the “Twelve and Twelve” book and thinking, “this is why humility is in here?”

Here is what I read: (all this on page 75)

“we saw failure and misery transformed by humility.”

“humility had brought strength out of weakness”

“humility we discovered to be a healer of pain”

It’s like the discovery of an incredible medicine or the ingredient that the ancients sought that could transform stones into gold. Humility is a transformational agent; it changes weakness to strength and it is a healer.

Yeah, I know, the words have always been on those pages and I have read them many times. I even see that I underlined them in my book—the value of keeping your old Big Book and Twelve & Twelve. But it’s like they are in neon now.

And then: “we sought humility as something we wanted rather than something we must have.”

Huh! I certainly sought humility before. I knew I was supposed to be humble and indeed whenever I shared I tried to sound humble (the very opposite of humility of course). And I wanted to be seen as humble because I knew that’s what a good recovering person looks and sounds like- (again more prideful humility). But really get it—and want it—deep in my gut? Not so much.

But working the steps and looking ahead to Eight it makes so much sense. Real humility takes the fear and sting right out of Eight and maybe even Nine. We’ll see. I also know that while I am in this lovely state of awareness right now this may not be one of those things that sticks from insight alone. So we keep going and even have to develop humility about our desire for humility.

Here’s the kicker from page 76: “The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility”. It’s not about the shortcomings/defects of character that we named in Step Six. It’s the humility that allows us to really ask God to help us.


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