Being involved in recovery I get to have a lot of good conversations with various people. A guy came up to me one day and said he was working through his steps with his sponsor and that his sponsor wanted him to talk to two people a day about what he was working on. Today he was working on trying to turn negative qualities into positive ones and he asked me how I thought pride or ego could be used in a good way.
I had to really think about this because pride has absolutely no place in recovery. In fact, they say two of the most important qualities in recovery are willingness and humility (and with humility comes honesty). I told him he could be proud about certain things, just like you might be proud of a job well done or a parent might be proud of their kids, but that is a different kind of pride. Overall, I couldn’t think of anything good about pride. I mean it is one of the seven deadly sins, it comes before a fall and I see people in recovery relapse all the time because they won’t swallow their pride.
Because I did not have a good answer for the guy i said a quick little prayer for some help and guidance and that is when I had this thought. Why not replace pride with courage? Because what does pride really do? It hides our insecurities and covers our faults. Sometimes we see prideful people and think they are blind to their own faults. I don’t think this is true. I think they are very much aware of them, they just don’t have the courage to admit them or face them. Instead they hide behind a wall of ego and pride.
Working the steps take courage. Step 4 says to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.” You can substitute fearless for courageous. Step five says we are to admit to “God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Another act that takes courage,
Lastly, consider the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
Courage is all over recovery however, this isn’t just for addicts as everyone can benefit from less pride and more courage. Consider this.
What would happen if we replaced our pride with courage. Rather then acting like we have it all together and figured out let’s confess that we don’t. Let’s admit we struggle with mental disorders or mistakes of the past. Or our marriages aren’t as perfect as we pretend, and we feel like failures as parents. Maybe, just maybe, our faith isn’t so strong at times or we struggle with doubts. And that talent we are so proud of? Well, it may not be as good as we think.
Pride isolates and kills community. Courage to be open and honest builds bridges, forges friendships and shows others they are not alone. Pride hides while courage overcomes and inspires. So let’s do away with pride and embrace courage. You’re life won’t be the only one that changes for the better.