Stupid Thing #5: Feeling Special and Unique (part one)

An excerpt from 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery
by Allen Berger, PhD., Hazelden Publishing

PART ONE | Humility

Humility is the spiritual foundation of recovery. In order to feel worthy, we do not need to be unique. People who do best in recovery are those who surrender and follow suggestions.

A common first response to the requirements of recovery is to negotiate, to pick and choose what we think will be helpful. One person might say, “I don’t need to go to a meeting every day for the first ninety days of recovery. Two meetings a week are plenty enough for me.” Another newcomer might exclaim, “I don’t need a sponsor. I can do this by myself.” And yet another might say, “I don’t have to work all the Steps. One and Twelve are enough for me.” This kind of thinking is based on the mistaken belief that we are special and unique and that we don’t have to do what everyone else has done to develop a solid, robust recovery. This dangerous attitude has led many newcomers, and even some old-timers, back into the depths of despair and relapse. We are special and unique, but not in this sense.

To begin recovery, we need to surrender. Surrender can be best defined as the total and complete acceptance of the reality of our situation. We suffer from an illness that we are powerless to defeat on our own. Surrender also means that we accept that our illness has impaired the way we manage our life.

This is a lot to accept if we are governed by false pride and have a tendency to minimize the severity of problems. The motivation behind this self-defeating strategy is “If I don’t have to do everything that everyone else has to do, then I am not as sick or as bad as all of those who need to work the whole program.” Here is where the danger begins. If we do not surrender to the reality of our condition, then we will not be moved or motivated to go to any lengths to stay clean and sober. We will not have the necessary foundation to tackle the upcoming tasks that are necessary to establish a solid recovery.

PART ONE          PART TWO          PART THREE