Without humility, we have seen some adult children place wants ahead of needs with troubling outcomes. Feeling empty inside, they chase after their wants constantly through spending, debting, and comparing their lives to others. Many adult children spend hours looking for bargains or chatting online with little nurturing effect. Other adult children run from store to store, craving the latest fashion or technological advancement, but it is never enough…we tend to give away our personal power by placing our wants first. Humility gives us personal power that can help us feel “full” in our lives and less frantic to chase wants. P. 224, ACA Red Book. Chapter 7, “True Humility”
Humility can seem like a foreign concept to Adult Children. It can often seem like we are taking on the character of weakness, which is exactly what we are trying to emerge from. We are trying to build strength from within so why would we be asked to take on the character of humility?
Perhaps we have confused humility with weakness. Learning humility is like giving yourself a life preserver during the uncertain times of the recovery process. Here is why.
In recovery, particularly the early stages, it can be difficult to distinguish between wants and needs. As the reading states, whenever we begin to feel our recovery process working, we can feel empty inside, because we are learning to replace the old drugs with more sane behavior. We begin to feel withdrawal symptoms, we are detoxing. We stop drugging ourselves with negative emotions like fear and criticism, or actual substances. We stop manipulating others to get our needs met. In essence, we stop functioning out of the survival traits and we learn new ways of living. But often, these new ways are foreign to us. We may feel a certain calmness during the holidays that we’ve never felt before. We may begin making decisions that are healthy for ourselves in family situations where we have always given in to dysfunctional behaviors before. We are healing, and it is a foreign feeling, a scary feeling, at times, to be leaving the old survival traits behind. Oddly, our healing can make us vulnerable.
Whenever we feel this vulnerability, rather than relapsing into old behaviors, we have a choice. We can turn to humility like a wise friend that will never lead us astray. Humility will lead us to our inner strength, our reserve, our Higher Power, our Inner Child, our Loving Parent. Think of humility as the pathway to sanity.
“With humility, we also learn to recognize when we feel ‘full’ in our relationships and in our wants and needs. Because of our core abandonment issue we are not sure when we have had enough attention or praise. With humility, we are less restless and know how to be at peace with what we have. We also learn how to ask for what we need, instead of manipulating people for something we don’t need. Humility helps us choose between what we really need, and the wants that can be placed on hold.” P. 224.
What is humility? It is not the same thing as humiliation, though the root is similar. “True humility is the willingness to seek and do God’s (Higher Power) will with our best effort. We know we are not perfect and know we could fall short. Yet we try to live out Step Seven and obtain its spiritual intent of removing our shortcomings through humility.” P. 223.
Some of us have trouble with this step because we have trouble with the core principle of the step, “God’s will.” We have been in environments of religious dysfunction or no religion at all and we are confused about God.
While scientists continue to try, although unsuccessfully, to discover what they call the God particle, we all know there is life and breath inside of us placed there by a Creator. This is our Higher Power, breath, heartbeat, life, beauty, joy at the center of the chaos. Other words for God are Great Mystery, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Great Spirit. God is within. Even Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within, though we would often rather look everywhere else to find it.
This season, when everyone begins to hurry to shop, when all of media seems to pressure you to be a consumer, take this as an opportunity to go more deeply into humility. See how it changes your experience this holiday season, see how it connects you to your inner Peace. What a wonderful opportunity to let recovery do its work in you. Let us all stay on the path, we are in this journey together.
Prayer: Higher Power, give me courage and strength to accept humility as my path, even though I may not fully comprehend what it means. I trust You and ask that you will give me knowledge only of Your will and give me the strength to carry it out, just for today.