Tuesday, April 10, 2007

False Pride and Ego

The young fellow that I took to the AA meetings a few times got a job yesterday. It isn't a high paying job for a college student, but it is above minimum wage and provides an unbelievable amount of self-esteem to someone who seemed to not have much. I'm grateful that he took the initiative to get a resume together, go through the paper, make phone calls, dress up, and show up for interviews. He is attending AA meetings and has gotten a sponsor.

There was an Al-Anon and an AA meeting at the same church last night. He attended the AA and I went over to the Al-Anon meeting. I wrote a bit last week about starting a "meeting after the meeting" so last night there were six people that came along, including a fellow from AA. The newcomer whom I gave a ride to also came along to the meeting after the meeting last night, albeit reluctantly. He is still so early in the program that the feelings are right at the surface and very raw. He made a comment to me as we were driving to the restaurant that he didn't feel like listening to a bunch of Al-Anons and just wanted to go home.

That felt bad to me. I see the value in both programs. It's easy to have ego and false pride do the talking without first thinking about the unifying principles of the two programs and being grateful for both of them. There are several long time AA members who have joined Al-Anon and have found it to be quite helpful with living life.

What I am trying to reason out is what the different impacts of ego are in the programs. I've thought about what the Big Book says about self-centeredness:

"Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt." from Alcoholics Anonymous.

It seems that the opposite occurs with Al-Anon in which the ego becomes so deflated that we have to find it again. My ego got flattened a while ago and I was so eager to feel better that I would have done just about anything to reconstitute some semblance of self esteem. The defects of character mentioned in the paragraph above were the same ones that brought me to my lowest point. Since then, I'm learning from using all the sources available to me that I have a lot to offer. The ego-rebuilding process is on-going. It can still be shaken by harsh words and criticism that bring back the old fears but it's a lot stronger than it was. That's a lot to be grateful for.


  1. cool. i see al anon as a 'graduate' aa programme. I would not expect a very new aa person to want to go to them. it can confuse them apart from anything when they re struggling to understand aa stuff.
    Besides a lot of new people are pretty unhappy about a LOT of things, so you just have to try not to take their resentment personally.
    the ego thing? i don't really know the answer. i have sponsored very 'doormatty' women who have allowed themselves to be very dominated in the past. ego does not always mean a high opinion of oneself. Its many things, but is more like very 'preoccupied' very 'me' centered, instead of looking outward to see the bigger picture. its a very small world view with the thoughts mainly about the 'self'. for instance hating oneself 24hrs a day is just another way of being self obsessed. whatever! Its hard to explain! but thanks for the thought provoking post as usual!

  2. You're right on about not taking resentment personally. I felt the criticism when it was no doubt just pain coming from within the other person. It had been a day of joy fouled by some other anxieties that he told me about. I can also see clearly that a social gathering after his AA meeting would not be the most comfortable for someone who is totally new. Thanks for reminding me of these things.

  3. Syd,
    Thanks for your loving comment and dear thoughts on dogs on my blog.
    I will be praying for your gift from your HP as you walk with him through his appt. today.
    Peace and the LOVE of dogs,

  4. I just love reading your blog and am very grateful for your willingness to share your "process" with us. This is such a gift.."an esteemable act" I might add.


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