Someone who is struggling with an addiction might experience denial, anger, arrogance, and low self-esteem. These experiences can easily keep one from getting help and the right treatment for their illness. Yet, when they reach a point where they recognize that treatment is necessary, they might give in to the fact that they simply don’t know how to help themselves.
Along these lines, there is a certain type of experience that an addict can find themselves in when they resign to treatment. It’s an experience of letting go, releasing attachments to how things are, and finally allowing someone else, or something else, to be in control. It’s this mentality that could be described as humility.
However, it’s important to recognize that humility is not about being submissive. And humility is in no way thinking less of yourself. Instead, humility is thinking about yourself less. It’s taking yourself out of the equation more and more often.
If you’re wondering about how to include humility in your recovery, below is a list of ways to begin:
- Be grateful for what you have. At times, it’s easy to feel frustrated about life. Perhaps things aren’t going well or perhaps there you’re having too many conflicts with friends or co-workers. Too much negativity can stir things up inside and create inner turmoil. However, one can immediately skip over the negativity with gratitude. By feeling grateful for what you have, the world is a positive place. Gratitude creates a certain inner state of acknowledging all the ways that life has been supportive.
- Be Teachable. A significant part of recovery is learning and educating yourself about the tenets of addiction and the principles of recovery. However, with a mindset of arrogance it’s hard to be receptive. It’s hard to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. Part of recovery is change, and change requires learning new things.
- Be Kind. When we are kind, we communicate the message that “I am just like you”. There’s no feeling better or worse than anyone else. Acts of kindness connect people together. Feeling better or worse than others stems from a belief in being different than everyone else. However, kindness allows two people to feel good. It’s also a way of validating yourself and others without the ego interfering.
If you want to practice humility in your life, you might try the above techniques. In fact, you might see humility as part of a spiritual practice. Humility doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring who you are in order to submit to a higher authority. Instead, with humility, there’s a recognition that there might be a higher power who is guiding your life. For instance, take a look at the 12-step process and you’ll find many invitations to be humble. Again, this doesn’t mean that you need to submit to a punishing God. Instead, there’s freedom in having a higher power, namely, that you can relinquish the burden of having to “make life work”. Humility can facilitate change and deepen your experience of recovery.
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