Humility is a part of recovery that is easy to overlook. People think about detox and meetings and therapy. They might even think about creating a healthier lifestyle, with friends who exert a more positive influence. However, none of this is possible without humility.
Humility is a trait everyone praises, but few of us can actually be humble when it’s most needed. We dislike arrogance in others. We get frustrated when other people are very certain, despite being objectively wrong. What’s easy to miss is that practising humility is scary. When you’re young, you’re pretty sure you know everything that matters. When you are older, you get used to relying on your own judgment just to get through life. You learn that not everyone has your best interest at heart and it’s rarely wise to go along with whatever scheme someone else has hatched for you. Relying on your own judgment, despite its flaws, is just part of life.
In addiction, that self-reliance can be an obstacle to recovery. Very few people struggling with addiction perceive their situation accurately. They come up will all kinds of rationalizations so they don’t have to confront their addiction. When people who care about them try to convince them to stop using, their addiction-based logic invents plausible reasons why everyone else is the problem and can’t be trusted.
People who do eventually get help typically have a moment when they realize their way of living has become unsustainable. They find themselves in some miserable situation and realize their best logic and judgment has brought them to a place they really don’t want to be. This is the turning point when they accept they can’t figure this problem out on their own, and they need to listen to the people who care about them.
Often, this humility is short-lived. Someone who accepts she needs help might get into treatment or go to meetings and feel like she knows better, or that treatment requires her to sacrifice some vital part of her identity. It’s tough to let go if you’re in that position, but sometimes you just have to try something new.
This is why the first of the 12 Steps is, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” That is the essence of humility–admitting what you’ve been doing has not worked and being willing to try something new, even if you aren’t sure about it.
Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programs, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.
Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022