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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Recognizing Pride in its unflattering forms! Its not pretty!

Pride is all about imbalances of the ego.
In the Spiritual world the ego is RUBBISH. The aim is to have NO ego. Ideally no self. The reason ego is such a skewed perception of reality is because THERE IS NO SELF. There is only ONE PERSON, and that is everyone! That's why pride and ego ALWAYS feels wrong or bad.
I defy you to indulge your pride and feel good. Its IMPOSSIBLE! Try it! It cant be done! You always end up feeling like a plank at some point!!
Hence the old axiom, Pride comes before a fall'. Yep pride sucks. Always feels uncomfortable and bad, like you are being poisoned from the inside.
Its totally at odds with your TRUE NATURE, and that's why it just never makes you feel 'happy joyous and free'.

The imbalances occur when:
The ego is too puffed up. 'Superior'.
The ego is shriveled. 'Inferior'.
Basically ALL ego is bad. Because we are in fact all one blob of existential awareness, manifesting in (what looks like) separate bodies but ABSOLUTELY connected together, whether we like it or not!
By the way, this is why WE HEAL OURSELVES WHEN WE TRY TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE. Why? Because we are really attempting to help another part of (what I call) the 'blob'. We ARE helping another part of OURSELVES. Even thought it doesn't look like it, looking through the (very limited) view of reality we get via our senses.
(Sorry for going into space cadet territory!) I cant help it!! Just ignore this part of it does your head in. ok? Hahaaaa. Even I have to laugh at the things I come out with sometimes. If you could hear the conversations I have with Sponsees sometimes..!!

Here are some 'earmarks' of evidence of mismanaged or inadequately managed PRIDE.
The more I see these things in others (and myself), the more I assume pride is significantly unrecognized, unchecked and badly managed by that person, (including myself!).

Definition of earmark: An identifying feature or characteristic: eg: a novel with all the earmarks of success

So I do NOT look to people with these characteristics to teach me a great deal about how to rid myself of my remaining pride or to develop humility, which would be the opposite of pride.
Also I find I would be unable to help people unless I was aware of these imbalances, both in myself and in others. These imbalances cause a HUGE amount of emotional pain, so they DO concern me. Pride Kills!

Manifestations of 'Superior' version of Pride:
What will people think of (The Great) me?
Arrogance. Smart alec. Cocky. Scoffing. Delusions of grandeur. Grandiose. Pious. -(Spiritual pride). Self importance. Big shot. Lord it about. Overvalue oneself. Think you are irreplaceable in some capacity. Pompous. Oblivious to personal fallibility. Talk down to people. Talk down to newcomers. Looking down your nose at ANYONE. Believing you are 'better than' other people. Sniffy. Snooty. Disgust. Don't you know who I am? Taking exception at the trials and errors of life EVER landing on THEIR doorstep!! Inflated. Talks for too long. Monopolizes conversations. Loves the sound of their own voice. Smug. Smarmy. Self congratulatory. Back slapping. Cozy. Complacent. Intolerance toward others with fewer skills and abilities than oneself. Pulls rank. I know better than you. Know it all. Smart Alec. Self righteous. Racist. Bigoted. Irritable. Thinking that because you have been sober a long time that you are somehow less likely to be wrong, or to make TERRIBLE mistakes.

Manifestations of 'Inferior' version of Pride:
Apologetic. Sheepish. Wimpy. Never speaks up. Assumes ones opinion is always null and void. Assumes one is always wrong, damaged, beyond repair, damaged goods, beyond help, loser. Convinced that they are 'special and different' because they are uniquely crap and therefore recovery does not apply to them.

Judgmental: (A form of Pride) Manifests as:
Critical. Condemnation. Finding fault. -with ANYTHING. Finger pointing. I'm right and you're WRONG! Being the 'chief critic'. Damming. Looking down your nose at ANYONE. Irritable. Intolerant. Unable to practice Live and Let live.

Judgmental behaviors:
When someone is in the habit of being judgmental and finding fault with people, places and things, they tend to adopt these kinds of behaviors...
Bitchiness. Attacking. Verbal attacks. Punishing behaviors or mindsets. Sarcasm. Putting other people down. Slagging off others. Making 'jokes' at the expense of others. Making someone the butt of a joke. Put downs. Thinly disguised put downs. Strained politeness. Phony. Fake. Insincere. Indignant exclusion. Sulking. Avoiding. Ignoring.
Or more obvious !! evidence of disapproval such as..
Physically attacking. Punching. Fighting. Shouting. Verbal abuse. Name calling.

Closed minded: (a form of arrogance, which is a form of Pride). Manifests as:
Contempt prior to investigation. Inflexible. Rigid. Un teachable. Not open to new ideas. Unable to let go of their old ideas.

Absence of Humility:
Thinking that because you have been sober a long time that you are somehow less likely to be wrong, or to make terrible mistakes. Oblivious to personal fallibility. No flies on me. I'm alright Jack. Conviction. Self Assurance. Unable to see that they could be wrong. Unquestioned confidence in ones decisions, perception or outlook. Confidence generally

Describing Humility is a whole other area, and I will not go into it here as it would take too long. But I hope after reading this you have a better grasp of how pride tends to manifest. Knowing this will make you are a better judge of who has really identified and rooted out their own pride, and who, on the other hand, is still being 'dragged around by the hair' by their pride.

In order to benefit from the vast pool of wisdom that is available to you in AA, and therefore learn the MOST you can about recovery, YOU NEED TO LEARN TO IDENTIFY WHO HAS SUCCEEDED IN KEEPING MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF THIS KILLER ILLNESS (such as Pride) IN REMISSION, AND TO WHAT EXTENT. A little? A lot? Pride is a SYMPTOM of alcoholism, which is a nasty, degrading, humiliating, killer illness. Pride is a MASSIVE chunk of this illness. Virtually a cornerstone. So its WELL worth learning to recognize.

Ideally, Step 4 is where you get to identify where pride has poisoned your wellbeing, (in the form of resentment). But until then, you still stand to benefit from recognizing degrees of manifestation of pride both in yourselves and others. It will help you find the people who really have recovered from their pride. They are the people who can teach you how to remove your own. Not unfortunately, the people whose Pride is still running the show.
Pride is incredibly painful, so if you do learn how to reduce or diminish your own you will have a very valuable skill to offer 'the alcoholic who still suffers'.
We ALL have pride. We will NEVER be perfectly free of it. But we CAN go to to ANY LENGTHS to not indulge our prideful behaviors, or alternatively, to ACT AS IF we are full of humility. (but describing humility is a whole other story!) So there is always something we can do to improve our lot. The less your pride is running riot, the more peace of mind you will have. So there is a strong incentive to reduce our levels of pride to an ABSOLUTE MIMIMUM.

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