Humility and Discernment

Here’s a thread that I participated in. Having been absent from this blog for so long, I wanted to post something that shared where I’m at in life today. Peace.

Thanks for all this chatter on the subject of humility.

What comes up for me has a lot to do with one of my current life lessons, that of discernment. In this case, it has to do with discerning the words that I use in my life, something that has been growing over time.

My sponsor likes to say that he is/has/was “humbled”. I like this too as it gives me the sense that God is doing this to me, either directly or through circumstance. Usually, I think that I’m the one that finds humility, but even that drips with ego, as if I’m the one who chooses to be humble.

It’s a fine distinction, but it helps to keep me right sized.

The biggest thing that was in my way towards allowing humility was my hatred and resentment towards humiliation. For me, there is a big difference between humility and humiliation now. I rarely allow or feel the need for shame and humiliation, but now can experience healthy guilt or embarrassment that doesn’t cost me my self worth.

I attended two meetings the other night that focused on the twelve traditions and I was struck by how well protected I felt by those traditions from the effects of personality — ego, pride, and other human instincts. Instead, recovery is grounded in principles, those that help keep me humble and right sized. For that wisdom and divine grace embedded into this program, I’m grateful.

Different, but related for me, is another aspect of discernment, that being the people of experiences that I choose to include in my life. I’ve, for too long, chosen to engage with people that are takers and users of my life energy. These are choices I made out of my codependency and their influences have kept my life mired in ego, self-pity, and loss of self.

I am becoming more careful in the choices I make, and a simple choice is, for example, to be with people in recovery rather than people in their diseases. To this end, I am grateful to all of you who continue to practice and share the principles of recovery.

I close with another gift from one of my closest friends: If no one has told you yet today, let me be the first to say “I love you”. Thanks for being here.


“Andrew” wrote:

Good quotes Ken. This is the hardest area for me too I think. As the final quote reveals, it’s a moving target in that once we say – that’s it, I’ve cracked it, I’m humble now, we’re probably as proud as we ever were.

Forgiveness, which is a part of humility in my opinion, is a really tough one. I had a brief phone conversation last night with a friend and he said that even just praying for the willingness to be able to forgive is a good start. He said that he found once he started being able to give, a lot of his compulsions abated.


“Ken” wrote:

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
Saint Augustine

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
Rick Warren

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
Ben Franklin