“A really humble man…will not be thinking about humility,” author C.S. Lewis once wrote, “He will not be thinking about himself at all.” Lewis wrote about humility in his book Mere Christianity. Just shortly after such a wise quip, he explains how anyone can take the first step to acquiring humility. “The first step is to realise that one is proud,” Lewis explains. He adds that it is quite a big step. “At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.” Lewis highlights the paradox of humility. Can one be proud to be humble? Lewis explains that having true humility doesn’t mean thinking about how humble you are. Pride has to be taken out of the equation entirely.
In a world where everything can be posted and shared to social media, it is rare to find someone who isn’t chronicling the do-gooding they may be doing in their lives. Social media has made us prone to pride by boasting about the various parts of our lives we find worth sharing to others- be it to boast or to perhaps, humbly of course, inspire others to do the same. Hidden somewhere in the moment between pressing “post” and something “posting” is a confusion of ego. We think we are not conceited, as Lewis points out, but we continue to be very conceited indeed.
One of the mythological ideologies which problematically rings throughout recovery is that the “disease” of addiction is “always waiting” for men who try to recover from it. Imagery of a beast like shadow training in the parking lot of treatment centers is often used to intimidate men into believing that they will never be unbroken, they will never be free from addiction, and that they must be humble to the fact that addiction will always be greater than they are. Telling men that they are doomed to being broken or are broken in the first place is defeating. The choice to pick up drugs and alcohol again then continue to use them is a matter of pride, and a pride that plagues every man who is in and out of recovery. Imagine telling a man that he is doomed to want chocolate cake once in a while and that chocolate cake is always waiting in the parking lot, becoming more and more delicious by the moment. It takes a sufficient amount of what is called false pride to believe that there are some men who might live without the desire to do something unhealthy, be it abuse drugs and alcohol or eat some chocolate cake.
Humility is realizing that choices exist and they aren’t always easy. Ego is believing that you or others have the ability to transcend the difficulty of living with choices. Yet, we live in a world where we attempt to transcend that reality by continuously acting with pride about our choices. Choosing to stay sober, to refuse to pick up a drink or drug every day is something to be proud of. Recovery is also something to be humbled by. Lewis describes the man of humility as “…a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.” He describes that when people are turned off by those who embody true humility, “…it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily.”
Humility is a practice of effortlessness. Pride and ego take a tremendous amount of effort, like doing all that posting to humbly boast about how humble you are. Sustaining addiction, men realize through treatment, takes a tremendous amount of effort. What men in treatment learn as they develop a sustainable recovery is that freedom from addiction is effortless. Recovery becomes effortless. Men in recovery become those cheerful, intelligent chaps who take a real interest in others. Life in recovery becomes easy.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s addiction treatment facility offering long term partial care options. Our program combines the best of clinically proven therapy, intense fitness regiments, and the adventure of the great outdoors. Call us today for information: (855) 969-5181