Important Characteristics of Sobriety: Humility

Posted on April 18th, 2012
Posted in Recovery

By George Joseph

 

We often focus on the problem of addiction more than the results of a successful recovery. True, sobriety is a wonderful transformation that showcases the beauty of humanity. However, the challenge of achieving long-term sobriety can seem unattainable to those who suffer from addiction.

Addiction is a masterful enemy; one that is cunning, baffling, and all-powerful. One who seduces those affected by instilling in them denial of the problem or pessimism about overcoming it. Addiction wants to isolate and control its victims, leading them to push away those who love them, hide addictive behaviors, and, often, die trying to protect the addiction.

How many achieve victory over addiction? I don’t think anyone truly knows. Most of us know people who have either died as a result of addiction, those who are still suffering, and those who are working through a rigorous, wonderful recovery program. This blog series will focus on the third group.

Humility is a vital part of recovering from addiction. Here is what Webster has to say on the matter:
“[Humility is] The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble.
▪ He accepted the honor with humility.
▪ The ordeal taught her humility.”

Author and historian John Dickson called it, “The noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.”

How does this apply to recovery, you ask. Those under the spell of addiction must surrender and accept they are powerless over their addiction. This surrender is both emotional and intellectual in nature. The power of addiction is unrelenting. The surrender process is a major form of humility.

Humility is also a willingness to learn and to be open-minded. This characteristic is so important for those dealing with addiction because it is a matter of life or death that they gain the tools and understanding needed to progress. Addiction is an illness that doesn’t want you to expose it or deal with it. Addiction’s main symptoms are denial and isolation. The humility of learning and helping others is one of the main reasons people enjoy sobriety and recovery though the Twelve Steps.

I recently had some interactions with my oldest brother who I sense has humility; however, after he sent a politically charged email, I responded not to the list he emailed but just to him about how my views on the subject were different and why. He quickly acknowledged my views but went into a rant about why the leader he opposes is negative, wrong, etc. The view and attack were very personal and out of character for my brother. That is what our political system has brought us to. Will humility ever play a part in our political leadership in the future?

Typically only severe consequences lead to humility. The consequences of addiction help lead us to humility. It gives us a sense of wonder and creates a lack of drama that is needed for those who battle addiction.

For me, humility is dependent on my spiritual preparation, which we will talk about later in the series.

 

 

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