humility in recovery

learning humility in recovery

Humility in Recovery from Addiction

Humility means being humble and accepting a modest view of one’s importance. It is critical to have humility in recovery, as it allows you to ask for help and admit that there is a problem. One of the most difficult aspects of having someone pursue treatment is their unwillingness to admit that they have a problem. If you are struggling with addiction, you don’t have to go through it alone.1

Arrogance and Addiction

When someone is struggling with an addiction, they may use arrogance as a defense mechanism. It can be difficult to admit that there is a problem due to the stigma associated with addiction. Often, when someone struggles with addiction, they may feel like they are a disappointment or inferior because of those struggles. Although that individual may try to act out and push back against receiving treatment, it is necessary to remind them that they are cared for and some people want to help.2

Humility and the Twelve Steps

Humility is often associated with 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The seventh step of Alcoholics Anonymous urges those with addiction issues to embrace the pursuit of humility and humbleness as a fundamental aspect of staying sober.

Other aspects of 12-step programs are also associated with humility, such as the first step in admitting that there is a problem. The 12-step programs are the most successful for those who pursue recovery and continue to seek humbleness even after they have achieved sobriety.3


The Benefits of Humility in Recovery

There are many benefits associated with humility and recovery. Those who showcase the humbleness required to admit that they have a problem and seek the necessary help will be the ones who discover the best results.

Humility and Assertiveness

At times, humility and assertiveness can go together. Both can be a benefit of pursuing recovery. It can be difficult to ask for help when it is needed, and it can be equally as difficult to receive that help at times. There is a certain level of assertiveness required to receive help and maximize your recovery from addiction. There will be many temptations along the way that test your sobriety, but staying assertive in your beliefs and knowing that your recovery is important will help overcome these challenges.

Humility and Spirituality

Humility and spirituality are often associated with recovery programs. Both can be useful when it comes to recovery from addiction. Biblical themes are common in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous because humility is a common principle in the Bible. Certain prayers in the Bible, such as the Litany of Humility, can be used to ask for strength and to be humble in your pursuit of all things in life.


Humility: A Spiritual Aspect of Recovery

Connecting to spiritual beliefs and actions can be beneficial for recovery. Different 12-step programs often associate part of the process with connecting to spiritual beliefs. This act of pursuing the virtue of humility helps those struggling see that there is a bigger picture and they do not have to go through this hardship alone. At times, everyone needs to ask for help.

Litany of Humility

Humility in the Bible is shown in prayers such as the Litany of Humility. The Litany of Humility is a Catholic prayer that can be said if someone would like to ask for the virtue of humility. A litany is a form of prayer with a repeated responsive petition. The Litany of Humility is often most used in private prayer from those who are seeking the strength to be humble and showcase humility. For those who seek a spiritual connection in their addiction recovery, the Litany of Humility may be a valuable tool.4


Living with Humility

To maintain long-term sobriety, it is a good idea to practice humbleness and live with modesty about yourself. Living with humility means putting the needs of others before your own alongside thinking about what you can do for others and the greater good. This lifestyle also means not drawing attention to yourself and acknowledging that you are not always right.

False Humility

When trying to live with humility, it is important to recognize actions you may be taking that are false humility. False humility can include deflecting praise that we truly deserve, fishing for compliments to draw attention to ourselves, talking about how humble we are, self-deprecating humor, and falsely portraying helplessness. Portraying any of these characteristics can be detrimental to the pursuit of true humility in your life.5


Applying Humility for Healing

Humility is important in healing for both the patient and the medical professional. It is vital for a patient who needs to feel open when asking for help. It is also important for medical professionals to stay humble and know that they may not have all the answers. In the medical field where common practices are constantly evolving, it is beneficial for medical professionals to be open to alternative forms of treatment that may be more effective than traditional healing processes.

Cultural Humility

Cultural humility is important in healthcare as it gives us a greater understanding of cultures that are different from our own. Recognizing a patient’s unique cultural experiences as a health care provider can be valuable throughout the recovery process. When treating a patient, medical professionals should seek to understand the whole person and create a positive patient-physician relationship.

Getting Help for Addiction

Ultimately, one of the most important parts of humility is seeking help when it is needed. There are many resources available for treating addiction. If you are struggling, you don’t have to go through it alone. Speaking to a medical professional or going to a treatment center can often be a good first step on the road to recovery. Recovery programs generally consist of inpatient or outpatient treatment, detox, and behavioral therapy. All treatment programs work to help you find sobriety and work on coping mechanisms that will help maintain sobriety long-term.



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