Pride tops the list when it comes to the seven deadly sins. The Google definition of pride is “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfactions from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated with or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” “One’s own achievements” doesn’t see to mesh with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous very well. Neither does pride rest well in the program sense of “qualities or possessions.” I believe this throws a whole new light on how we should congratulate one another on various achievements in sobriety.
According to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pride must be rooted out root and branch. Let’s break this down. If I am powerless over alcohol and drugs, and I need a higher power to break this addiction for me, how can I take any credit for my sobriety? I did not have the power or capabilities to stop using and drinking. It was only when I faced ego-deflation at depth was I able to allow a power, something greater than myself, end the vicious cycle of addiction. So, it is very erroneous to say to someone “I am very proud of you” for getting whatever amount of time is specified in sobriety.
Pride in who we associate with? The in crowd, or all those lower companions we sought out throughout our drinking careers. Or pride in possessions? I am proud of my new car or my latest kitchen gadget? I stopped using that word pride several years ago. How can we be proud that we are not falling down, vomit covered drunks anymore? The answer to this pride problem in semantics or practice can be summed up as a lack of gratitude. Whenever I take a cake I never say, “My name is Susie and I am proud to have 10 years sober.”
Gratitude is the proper way to express oneself when it comes to this, not pride. They say pride comes before the fall. Ask Adam and Eve about that one! Is that not what we were doing while in active addiction? Playing God with our own lives seems to be the way we were living. Rules did not apply to us. We had not virtues or values when in our addiction. So now that the Higher Power has granted us sobriety, how can we be proud of something that we did not do? I stopped drinking every morning until I got the mess cleaned up from the day before. Then I was off and running again. Eventually there came a time when I stopped cleaning up the messes. I just let them accumulate and went on about my drinking. I was a hot mess of a trainwreck!
So, you see this pride defect of character has got to go and go quickly if we are to recover from addiction. We cannot perpetuate it into sobriety. The word does not fit our new way of thinking and living. We need to be grateful for everything new that has been so freely given to us. We may actually have to work for a living rather than scheme for a living. We probably should be faithful to our partners and trustworthy with our friends.
The proper attitude in sobriety is gratitude; nothing more and nothing less.