Addiction recovery means it’s occasionally necessary to admit to ourselves that, “We’re wrong!” “Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.” –Ezra T. Benson. Abandoning pride and humbly listening to feedback beget more personal growth.
Hazeldon defines humility as, “ A true evaluation of conditions as they are; willingness to face facts; recognition of our alcoholic status; freedom from false pride and arrogance; understanding of the proper relationship between ourselves and a higher power, between ourselves and fellow human beings: acceptance and practice of this relationship throughout every twenty-four-hour period.” (Little Red Book, Hazelden) The real question in recovery is how we look at feedback? Are we prideful or humble?
Graciously accepting feedback requires humility. The people closest to me may act as my biggest mirrors. They provide insight to how close or far away I am to listening and acting with my heart. However receiving insight was not always like this. Before and during early addiction recovery, listening to feedback proved to be a challenge. Because I did not have the ability to see the person they saw. When recovery called for honesty, I did not realize honesty meant being truthful about myself – to myself. The only victimization I rationalized prevailed in being a victim of circumstances and of others. I became blocked by the harrowing calamity and drama I created. The worst part in living a delusion is that we do not see delusion! I found relief by working a searching and fearless 4th step. The 4th step inventory uncovered my emotional, physical and spiritual blockage. I uncovered my defects of character; I found the fears that lay in them are my real adversaries. I had held onto pain, and stewed in it. I was the cause, not everyone else.
When acting out in pride, I had to look at my resentments, fears and motives in all relationships. My delusion believed me to be the victim, and I grasped on tightly to the people I thought caused them. Here is a portion of the Big Book, which talks about this delusion, “ to conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got.” (Pg. 66 alcoholics Anonymous)
Getting and accepting feedback from my community or loved ones is revelation. Rather than me telling them what I believe the cause of my pain is, they can b-line straight through the delusion and help me see the truth. No matter how exasperating, this was the best gift myself, sponsor, community, friends and loved ones ever bestowed upon me. In recovery, we must ascertain the facts beyond fearful beliefs, in order to have the kind of life we desire.
“Truly there is no advantage, no profit, and no growth, in deceiving myself merely to escape the consequences of my own mistakes. When I realize this, I know I will be making progress.” (Courage to Change One day at a time) Being in conflict with self and others makes pausing and listening difficult. Pausing and reflecting about what I said, took away the anger, which made my difficulties more dominant. I can compare angry reproaches like throwing a bouncy ball at a wall. Let’s use the ball as an analogy for blame and the wall as an analogy for a barrier against other people. In physics, the ball rebounds off of the wall proportional to the acceleration, energy and momentum that’s put into the ball being thrown. Feedback would come to me as a ball, which I would try to throw back at the people trying to help me with ever increasing acceleration, energy and momentum. I was throwing the spiritual ball of blame back to the wall that I thought was everybody else. The only fruit of being at war with myself was more war. However, the longer I held on to the ball and examined it, the ball resolved into helpful feedback and the wall dissolved into the familiar faces of people trying to help me. It turned a weapon into an asset. Because the wall personified my roadblocks, built from own my pride and ego to ward off the help I needed. Admitting I am wrong while accepting feedback is fundamental to my addiction recovery and the speed in which I recover.