“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
SINCE this Step so specifically concerns itself with humility, we should pause here to consider what humility is and what the practice of it can mean to us.
Indeed, the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of A.A.’s Twelve Steps. For without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all. Nearly all A.A.’s have found, too, that unless they develop much more of this precious quality than may be required just for sobriety, they still haven’t much chance of becoming truly happy. Without it, they cannot live to much useful purpose, or, in adversity, be able to summon the faith that can meet any emergency.
Humility, as a word and as an ideal, has a very bad time of it in our world. Not only is the idea misunderstood; the word itself is often intensely disliked. Many people haven’t even a nodding acquaintance with humility as a way of life. Much of the everyday talk we hear, and a great deal of what we read, highlights man’s pride in his own achievements.
With great intelligence, men of science have been forcing nature to disclose her secrets. The immense resources now being harnessed promise such a quantity of material blessings that many have come to believe that a man-made millennium lies just ahead. Poverty will disappear, and there will be such abundance that everybody can have all the security and personal satisfactions he desires. The theory seems to be that once everybody’s primary instincts are satisfied, there won’t be much left to quarrel about. The world will then turn happy and be free to concentrate on culture and character. Solely by their own intelligence and labor, men will have shaped their own destiny.
As Bill Sees It
Guide to a Better Way
Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the Steps require. But we saw that the program really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness of life as we had been living it.When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.
Implicit throughout A.A.’s Traditions is the confession that our Fellowship has its sins. We admit that we have character defects as a society and that these defects threaten us continually. Our Traditions are a guide to better ways of working and living, and they are to group survival and harmony what A.A.’s Twelve Steps are to each member’s sobriety and peace of mind.
1. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 252.
2. A.A. COMES OF AGE, P. 96
AA World Services Inc. As Bill Sees It . A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
As Bill Sees It
Two Kinds of Pride The prideful righteousness of “good people” may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposedly not so good.
We loved to shout the damaging fact that millions of the “good men of religion” were still killing one another off in the name of God. This all meant, of course, that we had substituted negative for positive thinking.
After we came to A.A., we had to recognize that this trait had been an ego-feeding proposition. In belaboring the sins of some religious people, we could feel superior to all of them. Moreover, we could avoid looking at some of our own shortcomings.
Self-righteousness, the very thing that we had contemptuously condemned in others, was our own besetting evil. This phony form of respectability was our undoing, so far as faith was concerned. But finally, driven to A.A., we learned better. AA World Services Inc. As Bill Sees It . A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.