Humility as Spiritual Practice in Addiction Rehab
What Does Humility Look Like?
One of the first spiritual principles that a person new in recovery, or new in an alcohol rehab treatment program encounters is humility. It is a concept that is pretty much universally balked at upon first glance. In our society, the concept of humility is often confused with humiliation. Newcomers often liken humility to being a doormat. As a weakness. And it is no wonder why humility has a hard time of it!! Look at the heroes of popular culture. Ironman, Terminator, Revenge, Retribution, Payback – this is what inspires the majority of persons of our culture in this time. Take a good look at any marquee list, or best seller list. Humility doesn’t draw crowds or go on talk shows. There is not much ‘action’ in quiet contemplation and good will.
So, what is humility, and how does it manifest in a person’s life? If we need it to recover from nicotine addiction, other forms of drug addiction, alcoholism, or obsessive behavior, what is it? Let’s look at some opposites of humility first:
Get the picture? It isn’t pretty. It is a lot easier, at first, to see this behavior in others than in ourselves. I bet you can think of a few other people who fit the descriptive words above! Alcoholism/Addiction is called the disease of denial. The tool to stay in denial is rationalization, justification and intoxication. Denial blocks any true vision of whom and what we have become as active addicts. Perception is skewed. There is good reason for the denial of the truth of addiction; it’s painful and ugly!
Complete Ego Deflation Followed by a Profound Personality Change
Complete ego deflation followed by a profound personality change. This may sound extreme, but recovery requires an extreme makeover – spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Humility as spiritual practice in addiction rehab is essential for sustained sobriety, long term abstinence, and peace of mind and serenity in recovery. Deflation of ego does NOT render one helpless or passive. Deflation of ego helps to see self as right-sized. Not better than anyone, not worse than anyone. Nor is it self-deprecation which is actually just pride in reverse. So, while this is good to know, how do you go about changing this egoic personality?
Feelings Are A Key To Humility
Once a person starts to tap into their feelings, they can begin to tell when Ego or Pride is leading the show. Hotness of the neck or ears, puffing of the chest, football in the stomach, these are some of the physical cues to be examined. At first, most people can notice these only in retrospect. But with practice, these physical cues will trigger a deep breath, perhaps a little prayer, a ceasing of the prideful action or thought, and an opportunity for self-inquiry and discussion with the sponsor.
Finding a role model can be very helpful when learning about humility. Who do you consider to be a humble person? Some spiritual leaders or teachers, past or present, or perhaps a behind-the-scenes philanthropist, an old-timer in AA, or a good neighbour may be good examples. Look for these qualities:
- Quietness of speech
- Giving credit where credit is due to others
- Modest in dress and in possessions
- Kind to animals, children and adults of all ages
If you find someone with these kinds of qualities, pay attention! Try to model your behavior after theirs, ask yourself how you think they may handle situations coming up in your life. Role modeling is a very powerful tool in early sobriety. We have to act our way into good thinking; we can’t think our way into good acting.
Humility comes from the root word, humus. Humus is excellent material for promoting growth. Being ‘green’ and ‘teachable’ are qualities to emulate. Curiosity, rather than conviction, will take you far in your spiritual growth.
Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it is about thinking of yourself less
Addiction is self-centered; recovery is God and other centered. It is said that people who are proud of their recovery are in danger of losing it, but people who are grateful for their recovery have a much better chance. There is much more to learn about humility than this little article, but it’s a good start.
Life Skill To Promote Harmony and Serenity
Serenity Vista offers a unique type of opportunity for people who want to transform. Abstinence is barely the beginning. We offer an intimate, holistic and challenging environment and comprehensive program for people to begin to see the truth. An in-depth, 45 to 90 day intensive, whole person integrated holistic retreat. Connect with nature. Practice humility. With empathy, skill, good humor, perseverance and love, the counselors and facilitators will work with you to uncover your true humble self, the one you always dreamed of, but couldn’t access. Give yourself the gift of life transformation. It is also a gift to all others you will ever encounter. Are you ready for real change?
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