How Pride Keeps Us Stuck and How Step 4 Helps Us Move On
Pride in Reverse (Step 4 continued)
Pride is one of the most common and destructive character defects that can afflict us as human beings. It can also be one of the hardest to recognize and overcome. In this article, we will explore what pride is, why it is a problem, and how we can reverse it by practicing humility through the steps of recovery.
Pride in Reverse (Step 4 continued)
What is pride and why is it a problem?
Pride is defined as "a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired." Pride can also be seen as "an excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit."
While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy sense of self-esteem and confidence, pride becomes a problem when it distorts our perception of reality and prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are. Pride can also lead us to act selfishly, arrogantly, or dishonestly, harming ourselves and others in the process.
Pride as a form of self-deception
One of the ways that pride manifests itself is by making us believe that we are better than we really are, or that we don't have any flaws or weaknesses. We may inflate our achievements, talents, or virtues, while minimizing or ignoring our failures, faults, or vices. We may also compare ourselves favorably with others, judging them harshly while excusing ourselves. This kind of pride is often driven by fear, insecurity, or shame, as we try to protect our fragile ego from being exposed or challenged.
However, this form of pride is ultimately self-deceptive, as it prevents us from seeing the truth about ourselves and our situation. We may deny or rationalize our problems, blame others for our mistakes, or refuse to accept responsibility for our actions. We may also avoid seeking help or feedback from others, thinking that we don't need it or that they don't understand us. This can lead us to isolate ourselves from others, or to surround ourselves with people who only tell us what we want to hear.
Pride as a barrier to recovery
Another way that pride manifests itself is by making us believe that we don't have a problem, or that we can solve it by ourselves. We may think that we are not addicted, or that we can control our substance use or behavior. We may also think that we don't need any help from others, especially from a Higher Power. We may rely on our own willpower, intelligence, or resources, thinking that we can manage our lives without any guidance or support.
However, this form of pride is also self-deceptive, as it prevents us from admitting our powerlessness and unmanageability. We may continue to suffer the consequences of our addiction, or to cause harm to ourselves and others, without acknowledging our need for change. We may also resist or reject the suggestions or advice of others, especially from those who have recovered from a similar problem. This can lead us to miss out on the opportunity to learn from their experience, strength, and hope.
Pride as a source of resentment and conflict
A third way that pride manifests itself is by making us believe that we are right and others are wrong, or that we deserve more and others deserve less. We may think that we know best, or that our opinions or preferences are superior to those of others. We may also think that we are entitled to certain things, or that others owe us something. We may demand respect, recognition, or reward, while giving little or none in return.
However, this form of pride is also self-deceptive, as it prevents us from seeing the value and dignity of others and ourselves. We may become resentful, angry, or bitter when others don't meet our expectations, or when they challenge or criticize us. We may also become competitive, jealous, or envious when others have something that we want or don't have. We may act aggressively, defensively, or manipulatively, trying to get our way or to get even with others. This can lead us to damage our relationships with others, or to create unnecessary conflict and hostility.
How to reverse pride and practice humility?
Humility is defined as "the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance." Humility can also be seen as "a clear perspective and respect for one's place in context." Humility is not the same as self-deprecation, self-pity, or self-hatred. Rather, humility is the opposite of pride, as it allows us to see ourselves as we really are, without exaggeration or distortion. Humility also enables us to see others as they really are, without judgment or comparison. Humility is the foundation of recovery, as it opens us to the possibility of change and growth.
One of the ways that we can reverse pride and practice humility is by following the steps of recovery, especially steps 4 through 6. These steps help us to examine ourselves honestly and thoroughly, to admit our wrongs and shortcomings, and to become willing to have them removed by a Higher Power.
Step 4: Making a searching and fearless moral inventory
The purpose of step 4 is to make a list of all the people, institutions, or principles that we have harmed or been harmed by in our lives. We also write down what we did or what was done to us, how it affected us emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually, and what part we played in each situation. We also include the positive aspects of our lives, such as our achievements, talents, virtues, and assets.
Identifying our character defects and assets
As we make our inventory, we try to identify the character defects that have caused us trouble in our lives. These are the patterns of thinking, feeling, or behaving that have led us to act selfishly, dishonestly, fearfully, or harmfully. Some examples of character defects are pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth, resentment, fear, guilt, shame etc.
We also try to identify the character assets that have helped us in our lives. These are the qualities of character that have led us to act generously, honestly, courageously, or helpfully. Some examples of character assets are humility, gratitude, love, patience, kindness, diligence, forgiveness, faith, hope etc.
Examining our motives and actions
As we make our inventory, we try to examine our motives and actions in each situation. We ask ourselves why we did what we did, or why we felt what we felt. We try to be honest and objective, without rationalizing or justifying our behavior. We also try to be compassionate and understanding, without blaming or condemning ourselves or others.
Admitting our wrongs and shortcomings
As we make our inventory, we try to admit our wrongs and shortcomings in each situation. We acknowledge where we have harmed ourselves or others, or where we have fallen short of our ideals or values. We also acknowledge where we have been harmed by others, or where they have fallen short of their obligations or expectations. We do not minimize or exaggerate our role in each situation, but rather accept it as it is.
Step 5: Admitting to God, to ourselves, Step 5: Admitting to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
The purpose of step 5 is to share our inventory with another person, preferably someone who has experience in recovery and can offer us support and guidance. We also admit our wrongs to God as we understand Him, and to ourselves. By doing this, we break the isolation and secrecy that have kept us trapped in our pride and shame. We also gain a new perspective and insight into our character and behavior.
Choosing a trusted person to share our inventory with
Choosing the right person to share our inventory with is very important. We need someone who can listen to us without judging, interrupting, or advising us. We also need someone who can keep our inventory confidential and respect our privacy. Some possible choices are our sponsor, a clergy member, a therapist, or a close friend. We should avoid choosing someone who is directly involved in our inventory, such as a family member, a romantic partner, or a co-worker.
Being honest and thorough in our confession
Being honest and thorough in our confession means that we don't hold anything back or leave anything out. We tell the whole truth about ourselves, without minimizing or exaggerating our wrongs. We also don't blame others or make excuses for our actions. We simply state the facts as they are, and how they affected us and others. We also share the positive aspects of our inventory, such as our assets and achievements.
Receiving feedback and guidance from our listener
Receiving feedback and guidance from our listener means that we are open to hear what they have to say after we finish sharing our inventory. We don't argue or defend ourselves, but rather listen with an open mind and heart. Our listener may offer us some suggestions, encouragement, or advice on how to proceed with the next steps. They may also point out some patterns or themes that we may have missed or overlooked in our inventory.
Step 6: Becoming entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
The purpose of step 6 is to prepare ourselves for the change that we want to make in our lives. We have identified and admitted our defects of character in the previous steps, but now we need to become willing to let them go. We also need to trust that God can and will help us to overcome them.
Developing a willingness to change
Developing a willingness to change means that we recognize that our defects of character are harmful to us and others, and that we are ready to do something about them. We may not feel completely ready or eager to change, but we have a sincere desire to do so. We may also face some resistance or fear of change, but we don't let that stop us from moving forward. We may use some tools such as prayer, meditation, affirmations, or writing to help us increase our willingness.
Asking God for help and direction
Asking God for help and direction means that we acknowledge that we cannot change by ourselves, and that we need His power and guidance to do so. We humbly ask Him to remove our defects of character, or at least make them less harmful or troublesome. We also ask Him to show us what He wants us to do next, and how He wants us to live. We surrender our will and our lives to Him, trusting that He knows what is best for us.
Accepting God's will and timing
Accepting God's will and timing means that we don't expect or demand instant results or miracles from Him. We understand that change is a process, not an event, and that it may take time and effort on our part. We also understand that God may not remove all of our defects of character at once, or ever, but rather work on them gradually or selectively according to His plan for us. We accept whatever He gives us or takes away from us with gratitude and patience.
Pride is one of the most common and destructive character defects that can afflict us as human beings. It can also be one of the hardest to recognize and overcome. Pride can make us deceive ourselves, resist recovery, and create resentment and conflict with others. However, we can reverse pride and practice humility by following the steps of recovery, especially steps 4 through 6. These steps help us to examine ourselves honestly and thoroughly, to admit our wrongs and shortcomings, and to become willing to have them removed by a Higher Power. By doing this, we can free ourselves from the bondage of pride and experience the freedom and joy of humility.
Here are some frequently asked questions about pride and humility in recovery:
What are some signs of pride in recovery?
Some signs of pride in recovery are:
Denying or minimizing our problem or our need for help
Refusing or rejecting the suggestions or advice of others
Comparing ourselves favorably or unfavorably with others
Demanding respect, recognition, or reward for our recovery
Thinking that we know better or that we have nothing more to learn
What are some benefits of humility in recovery?
Some benefits of humility in recovery are:
Acknowledging and accepting our problem and our need for help
Seeking and following the suggestions or advice of others
Seeing ourselves and others as equal and valuable
Giving respect, recognition, or reward to others for their recovery
Admitting that we don't know everything and that we have more to learn
How can we practice humility in recovery?
Some ways to practice humility in recovery are:
Making a daily inventory of our defects and assets
Admitting our mistakes and making amends when necessary
Asking for help and feedback from others when needed
Giving thanks and praise to God and others for their help
Being of service to others without expecting anything in return
How can we deal with prideful people in recovery?
Some ways to deal with prideful people in recovery are:
Avoid judging or criticizing them, as they may be struggling with their own issues
Set healthy boundaries and limits with them, as they may try to manipulate or control us
Be compassionate and understanding with them, as they may be hurting or afraid
Pray for them and wish them well, as they may need God's grace and mercy
Focus on our own recovery and not let them affect us negatively
How can we measure our progress in overcoming pride and developing humility?
Some ways to measure our progress in overcoming pride and developing humility are:
Asking ourselves how we feel about ourselves and our situation
Asking others how they perceive us and our behaviorEvaluating the quality and quantity of our relationships with othersAssessing the level of peace and serenity that we experience in our livesCelebrating our achievements and milestones in recovery without boasting or bragging