From the July 2007 magazine.

Step Seven: Food For The Journey

Humility lends an AA new strength

I used to draw a blank when I heard the word "humility." Or perhaps not a blank so much as confusion. For me, to be humble was to have, as one dictionary put it, "a feeling of inferiority and insignificance," to feel inadequate and unworthy. The dictionary linked being humble with being humiliated, which in turn pointed to being dishonored, disgraced, and shamed. Its synonyms included "meekness," "submissiveness," and "lowliness."

I didn't want humility! Shame and feelings of inferiority haunted me not only in active alcoholism but even before, in a childhood marked by various forms of abuse and neglect. I was the kid who failed in sports, a member of the out-group, and a loner who would lose himself in a book because he couldn't fit in with the guys. In a couple of places, the Big Book spoke of the importance of ego-deflation. I understood that there were people with a grandiose opinion of themselves who could profit from a good helping of ego-deflation--but I came to the rooms feeling empty and unworthy.

-- Jamie C.

West Henrietta, New York

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