The topic at my home-group meeting last night was humility.
We said all the things about humility that you expect to hear at meetings. That it's not about being a doormat. That it's about being right-sized. That it's the opposite of pride.
We said it's our egos that get in the way of humility. And fear. And the walls we build around ourselves as protection to make ourselves look impenetrable and tough.
But here's the thing no one says: How does one get humble? What does one do, exactly?
Early in Al-Anon, I used to wonder that a lot. I knew I was a prideful. I wanted to be humble. I really did. In meetings I'd always admit that humility was something I needed to work on. I just didn't know how.
Last night made me think about what I'd learned since then.
Before Al-Anon, humility was something I got when life laid me low. Even before I believed in God, I could see that the difficult times I'd experienced ultimately served some purpose. Lying with my face in the mud, I'd wonder what lesson I was supposed to be learning.
Once, I remember thinking that I couldn't see what possible purpose my unhappiness would serve except to show me that life had been a little too good for a little too long. I'd gotten cocky. I thought I'd figured things out. This was a leveler intended to bring me down to size.
And it worked. I got a whole lot more compassion for people.
When I came to Al-Anon. That was the sum of my experience with humility.
In Al-Anon, no one said, "This is how you get humility." But they did say this:
Pray on your knees.
I fought this for a long time. What difference did it make if I prayed on my knees or on my head? Couldn't God hear my just as well?
But I was taught that we pray on our knees not for God's sake but for ours. Kneeling is the position of humility. I can't be defiant on my knees. I can't be a miss know-it-all. And if I can admit I don't know all the answers, I become teachable. I can accept the guidance of a higher power in my life.
That was lesson 1.
Lesson 2 came in working my fourth step. I came away from that with a whole new perspective on my life. I could see the times in my life that I was wrong. Where God was trying to steer me, but I insisted on doing things my way. I saw clearly the damaged I caused. That was humbling.
Then there was my ninth step. I had to go to people and admit I was wrong. Even the alcoholics and other people I felt had harmed me. I had to say those words. I. Was. Wrong. Humbling. Very. Humbling.
Service can be humbling, too. Especially when you see someone in truly dire circumstances walk through them with dignity and grace.
This is what I've learned about humility.
I've also learned you can loose it. Things can to too well for too long. I can still think I've got it all figured out.
I finished working the steps in June. My sponsor had said in about a month we'd start again, with another fourth step. Then she decided to put it off until my Al-Anon birthday in April. Meanwhile, I should settle in to my recovery.
And it's been great. It's given me the opportunity to explore different ways of being of service. But I realized last night that I'm losing my humility. Things have been going pretty well for me. I admit I've been feeling like I've got things figured out. I begin to think I've been running on my own steam and not the grace of God.
I think that's why I've been "off-kilter" as Garnet put it. Technobabe had me pegged. I got to a certain place in my recovery and got a little too comfortable.
I need to start working the steps again. I plan to tell my sponsor that I'm ready to start my next fourth step. This time, I'm want to get on my knees voluntarily. Before life puts me there.
Hubby and I are off to the land. No TV, no internet, so no posting. Meanwhile, take care my friends. I'll see you all in a few days.
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