Webster’s definition of humble is “not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful” is truly what is meant in this step. In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous we hear that in order to get and stay sober one has to set aside one’s ego. In AA, EGO is an acronym for Edging God Out. In the AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions on Page 75 it reads “We heard story after story of how humility had brought strength out of weakness.” In this step it is not meant to be a one and done deal. Checking one’s ego at the door in order to stay right size in life is a daily if not hourly challenge especially for addicts who for decades threw caution to the wind in the way they lived their lives.
The second pivotal word is remove. The Webster definition of that word reads as a verb 1. “Take (something) away or off from the position occupied, 2. Eliminate or get rid of. Truth be told it is a constant reclamation project to take away or eliminate this part of who an addict is, no one does it with perfect adherence to this principle, none of us are saints.
Lastly let’s look at the word “Shortcomings.” Webster defines that word as a noun: a fault or failure to meet a certain standard, typically in a person’s character, a plan, or a system. Also on Page 75 it goes on to say “During this process of learning more about humility, the most profound result of all was the change in our attitude toward God. And this was true whether we had been believers or unbelievers.” In short it beckons the question of whether or not we could we get out of our own way and take direction. The addict is driven by the internal language of I want what I want when I want it. This world view is so selfish and self-serving and is guaranteed to keep an addict in forever lasting ignorance.
Trying to find a working meaning of this step is helpful and words are all we have. The only word we have left undefined is “Him”, meaning of course God and that definition has been explored by so many for so long. In the work I have my men do, it is often asked of them to write in their own words their own concept and or definition of the word God. One of my men recently wrote a beautiful piece defining his own version of that timeless question, and I would like to share it with you now:
What is God?
“God is the tree and sky outside my window, and everything beyond. God is the turn of this Earth and the push that sent it spinning, the inferno of the Sun and the match that sparked it. God is the genesis of thought and the present shape of things. Conception, realization, growth.
God is the wind in the leaves and the place it came from, the tide on the sand and the ache of each molecule of seawater pulling for the Moon. God is the engine and the destination, that which drives proton to protein, protein to chromosome, chromosome to egg. The shell cracking and the wet bird sliding out. The feather and the flock, the song in the air and the shape of a wing spotted over sky distant.
God is the word and the understanding, the opening of a throat, a seen thing made sound by tongue for no other purpose than a joining of two minds, two minds who were never two but born one of the same God, the same wellspring, a genesis of self. God is the illusion and the shattering, the story and the listener, the grief of a thing known and never to be known again.
God is you. Every moment of you, and of me, felt and forgotten and remembered and shared. God is the death of a sun that gave life to this planet, each atom seeded in your body by a star’s heart long dead until reborn by your first cry in a hospital room. God is the fertilization, the insemination, the contraction, the pulse.
God is two legs standing and two eyes open, a breath in and the quiet between. God is the shout and the silence, the Moon above and the howl below.
God is this voice, and yours. God is the weight of your two feet against the ground and the blood that flows within your leg. God is the fire and the eyes that draw to it, the cold and the heat, the shiver and the banishment of thought. God is hunger and satisfaction, the beginning, life, and end of all things.”
– Charley P.
“God is the source, and the substance, of all reality. What is, what has been, and what is not yet.”
– Rami Shapiro
Never forget you are not alone, there is a community that will support your journey.
Feel free to give me a call.