HUMILITY

Definition of Humility: the quality of having a modest view of one’s importance.
Synonyms of Humility: modesty, humbleness, meekness, unassertiveness, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.
Love in fellowship.

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Humility isn’t thinking less about yourself,
but rather thinking about yourself less. –CS Lewis | More…

To us, humility looked like weakness. But when we came into A.A., we began to be humble. And we found out that humility gave us the power we needed to overcome drinking. –24 Hours | More…

If anyone would like to acquire humility, the first step is to realise that one is proud. –CS Lewis/Mere Christianity | More… (p.128)

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With development of humility it makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. Constructive meditation is the first requirement for each new step in our spiritual growth. –As Bill Sees It | More…

We found many in A.A. who once thought, as we did, that humility was another name for weakness. Where humility formerly stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient that can give us serenity. –As Bill Sees It | More… (P.36)

Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is. Through experience and obedience, growth started, followed by gratitude. –Daily Reflections  | More…

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Humility is a virtue.
Pride is not.

Humility comes when people are secure.
Pride comes when they are insecure.

Two definitions of humility are;
One, being aware of one’s own defects of character, and
Two, giving credit where credit is due.

If you have done a task and you alone accomplished it, give credit to yourself; this is being humble. -Elders | More…

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Humble people are responsive to God, themselves and others.
Proud people are resistant. Everyone else is the problem.

We examined our lives and discovered who we really are. To be truly humble is to accept and honestly try to be ourselves. Healing begins when we understand that if our Higher Power created us this way, it must be okay to be who we really are. –Just for Today | More…

As I get down to my right size and stature, my self-concern and importance become amusing. –As Bill Sees It, | More… (p. 106)

During this process of learning more about humility, the most profound result of all was the change in our attitude toward God. Now my gratitude seems to be directly linked to humility. As long as I have the humility to be grateful for what I have, God continues to provide for me. –Daily Reflections | More…

It is easier for us to be humble before God than before people. When we have to admit we need help, we are swallowing a dose of humility, but if it’s just between us and God, it’s not as hard to take.

Being humble with our fellow human beings is different. The witness, after all, could be judgmental. Are we afraid to be vulnerable? More importantly, can we afford not to be? When we can face fellow suffers and admit the need for help, recovery begins.

Humbling ourselves in this way is our introduction to Divine power: through the compassion our brothers and sisters show for us, we come to know the love of God. –In God’s Care | More…

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Humility is not so much about trying to be “good” as accepting that I am imperfect. Today I understand that humility is being real. It is accepting my humanity and being honest in my relationships.

Humility is respecting the lives of others but also respecting my own. Humility is seeking to reveal that divinity that God has given to my life. Humility is knowing that in the lives of my fellow man — the good and the bad — is me. –Father Leo | More…

We should, indeed, receive the right amount of praise and recognition for the good things we do. But the real question is not whether others give us the right amount of praise or credit.

The question we should really ask is why we need such recognition. If we are doing a good thing or have made progress, isn’t that sufficient reward? What can receiving credit do for us that we do not already have? –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

In Step Six, we got ready to give up our shortcomings.
In Step Seven, we ask God to remove them.

There is one catch. We humbly ask God to remove them. Being humble means we remember who we are: human beings who need God’s help. Being humble is not a weakness, but a true strength. –Keep It Simple | More…

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We should, indeed, receive the right amount of praise and recognition for the good things we do. But the real question is not whether others give us the right amount of praise or credit.

The question we should really ask is why we need such recognition. If we are doing a good thing or have made progress, isn’t that sufficient reward? What can receiving credit do for us that we do not already have? –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

The subject of humility is a difficult one. Humility is the result of knowing that God is the doer, not me.  –Daily Reflections | More…

Our thinking about humility commences to have a wider meaning. As I practice exercising humility, I enjoy the peace and serenity which are the natural benefits of placing my reliance in a power greater than myself. –Daily Reflections | More…

We have learned about true humility. To be humble is to surrender, to give up trying to change people or circumstances, to give up trying to force our will upon others.

Humility is being quiet, being at rest, and being confident that God is present in every situation. Humility is being at peace, always. –A Life of My Own/Karen Casey. | More…

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We in Alcoholics Anonymous tell the newcomer that we have renewed our faith in a Higher Power. In the telling, our faith is further renewed.

We believe that faith is always close at hand, waiting for those who will listen to the heartbeat of the spirit. We believe there is a force for good in the universe and that if we link up with this force, we are carried onward to a new life. –24Hours | More…

Without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all… Humbly means “to show submissive,” and by being humble I realize I am not the center of the universe.

Humility enables me to depend more on God to help me overcome obstacles, to help me with my own imperfections, so that I may grow spiritually. Daily communion with God demonstrates my humility and provides me with the realization that an entity more powerful than I is willing to help me if I cease trying to play God myself.  –Daily Reflections | More…

As long as we placed self-reliance first, a genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question. That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God’s will, was missing. –Daily Reflections | More…

Humility is a common theme in our Twelve Steps.
The program helps us get the most from our recovery.

We must be willing to lay bare our difficulties if we expect to find solutions to problems that arise in our lives. The rewards of humbling ourselves by asking for help sweeten our recovery. –Just for Today | More…

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Where humility had formerly stood for a forced feeding on humble pie it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity. Humility, that strength granted me by that “power greater than myself,” is mine for the asking! Humility will allow me to accept my humanness joyously. –Daily Reflections | More…

Something was missing and the impact of Step Seven escaped me. What had I overlooked? A single word: read but ignored, the foundation of all the Steps, indeed the entire Alcoholics Anonymous program – that word is “humbly”.

I understood my shortcomings: I constantly put tasks off; I angered easily; I felt too much self-pity; and thought, why me? Then I remembered, “Pride goeth before the fall,” and I eliminated pride from my life. –Daily Reflections | More…

In every case, pain had been the price of admission into a new life. But this admission price had purchased more than we expected. It brought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. –Daily Reflections | More…

During this process of learning more about humility, the most profound result of all was the change in our attitude toward God. Now my gratitude seems to be directly linked to humility. As long as I have the humility to be grateful for what I have, God continues to provide for me. –Daily Reflections | More…

I see “humility for today” as a safe and secure stance midway between violent emotional extremes. It is a quiet place where I can keep enough perspective and enough balance to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.199)

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The Seventh Step says simply that God will remove my shortcomings. The only footwork I must do is “humbly ask,” which for me means asking with the knowledge that of myself I am nothing, the Father within “doeth the works.” The elders in A.A. challenge the newcomers to “Come To”–so that they can “Come to Believe.” –Daily Reflections | More…

Humility is a personal achievement, it cannot be given away. It comes in glimmers and grows like an ice crystal. It is fragile, too, thus requiring constant care and protection. –“Enjoying Anonymity,” Seattle, Wash., January 1992/The Home Group: Heartbeat of AA/Grapevine

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. Being freed of my shortcomings, that I may more freely be of service, allows humility to grow in me.  –Daily Reflections | More…

Humility has been the hardest of all the virtues to acquire for many of us. Few of us know what it actually is.

Many have it and think they don’t; many don’t have it and think they do. Many admit they don’t understand the word and forget it, leaving to the world to judge whether they have it or not.

The best way to acquire Humility is to constantly remind yourself how much lower than a snake’s belly you would be but for the Grace of God. You made a horrible mess of running your life and failed completely but that grace could and did, make you what you are today. –The Eye Opener | More…

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Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. My selfishness was the driving force behind my drinking.

I drank to celebrate success and I drank to drown my sorrows. Humility is the answer. I learn to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. –Daily Reflections | More…

The Sacred Cycle of life – the baby, the youth, the adult, the Elder. Let us respect all directions, the four directions of the Grandfathers;  let us respect their power.

Let us remember we belong to the earth, the earth does not belong to us. Help us to be respectful to all the gifts You have given us. –Elders Meditations | More…

Now that we no longer patronize bars and bordellos; now that we bring home the pay checks; now that we are so very active in AA; and now that people congratulate us on these signs of progress — well, we naturally proceed to congratulate ourselves.

Yet we may not be within hailing distance of humility. Meaning well, yet doing badly, how often have I said or thought, ‘I am right and you are wrong,’ ‘My plan is correct and yours is faulty,’ ‘Thank God your sins are not my sins,’ ‘You are hurting AA and I’m going to stop you cold,’ ‘I have God’s guidance, so He is on my side.’ And so on, indefinitely.

“The alarming thing about such pride-blindness is the ease with which it is justified.” –Grapevine: AA Co-Founder, Bill W., June 1961 “Humility for Today,” The Language of the Heart | More…

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Learning is the very essence of humility. The two walk hand in hand. Humility, as I see it, grows out of an urge to learn from everyone and everything. –Walnut Creek, Calif., May 1988/Grapevine | More…

To see yourself as a good person is part of the program of humility.  To see your gifts and recognize your achievements is what it is to be a humble person.

“God does not make junk.” Therefore, we should not act or behave towards ourselves in a way that would indicate anything other than that we are “special”.  –Father Leo | More…

Humility is a by-product that allows us to grow and develop in an atmosphere of freedom and removes the fear of becoming known by our employers, families, or friends as addicts. Recovery is a gift that we’ve received from a Power greater than ourselves.

Boasting about our recovery, as if it were our own doing, leads to prideful feelings and grandiosity. But keeping our anonymity leads to humility and feelings of gratitude.  Recovery is its own reward; public acclaim can’t make it any more valuable than it already is. –Just for Today | More…

We had to toss the self-justification, self-pity, and anger right out the window. We had to take personal responsibility for our sorry state and quit blaming others for it. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.97)

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Every person is a part of the Divine economy. It is necessary for all of us to accept whatever positive gifts we receive with a deep humility bearing in mind that our negative attitudes were first necessary as a means of reducing us to such a state that we would be ready for a gift of the positive ones via the conversion experience. –A Day at a Time/Anonymous | More…

In every story we hear from others in The Program, pain has been the price of admission into a new life. But our admission price purchased far more than we expected.

It led us to a degree of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. And, in time, we began to fear pain less — and desire humility more than ever. –A Day At A Time | More…

The Sacred Cycle of life – the baby, the youth, the adult, the Elder. Let us respect all directions, the four directions of the Grandfathers;  let us respect their power.

Let us remember we belong to the earth, the earth does not belong to us. Help us to be respectful to all the gifts You have given us. –Elders | More…

We saw we needn’t always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntary reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering.

We first reach for a little humility, knowing that we shall perish of alcoholism if we do not. After a time, we commence to practice humility because we deeply want it as a way of life. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.211)

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Later on I realized at depth that the great harms I had done others were not truly regretted. These episodes were merely the basis for storytelling and exhibitionism. With this realization came the beginning of a certain amount of humility.–As Bill Sees It | More… (p.311)

What, exactly, is humility? The basic ingredient of all humility is simply a desire to seek and do God’s will. Humility is awareness of God. –A Day At A Time | More…

I’ve never seen anybody who’s too dumb to stay sober. But I’ve met a few people who were too smart.

Alcoholism is much like other diseases in the way it strikes all people. We could never believe that being smart would give us an advantage in dealing with such an illness.

We do have many very smart people in AA. They are also wise enough to know that nobody can outsmart John Barleycorn.  –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

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We ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings, just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

If humility could enable us to find the grace by which the deadly alcohol obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we can possibly have. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.325)

True humility is, simply, acceptance of who we are. By the time we reach a step that uses the word “humbly,” we have already started to put this principle into practice.

The Fourth Step gives us an opportunity to examine who we really are, and the Fifth Step helps us accept that knowledge. The practice of humility involves accepting our true nature, honestly being ourselves. Humility simply means we drop all pretence and live as honestly as we can. –Just For Today | More…

Humility represents far more than a sound public relations policy. It is more than a denial of self-seeking. Humility brings me closer to the actual spirit of togetherness and oneness, without which I could not stay sober. –Daily Reflections 29/11 | More…

One pitfall in this, however, is the risk of becoming “spiritually proud.” We sometimes feel that our beliefs are so superior that others should accept them as well.

If this happens, we actually will be severing our own conscious contact with our higher power. False pride is a new form that will be back in charge.

Others will sense this, too, and may withdraw from us. Spiritual growth should be humble, not more of the pride that was destroying us. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

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Our alcoholic personality tends to be grandiose.
My ego takes over and I lose sight of my primary purpose.

I may even take credit for God’s handiwork in my life.
My safeguard, the Twelfth Tradition, serves to keep me humble.

I realize, both as an individual and as a member of the Fellowship, that I cannot boast of my accomplishments, and that “God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  –Daily Reflections 11/12 | More…

We ought to look toward God’s perfection as our guide rather than as a goal to be reached in any foreseeable time. –AA Co-Founder, Bill W., June 1961/”Humility for Today,” The Language of the Heart/Grapevine

The expression of true humility is the willingness to serve others without expectation of reward, prestige or recognition for our services to them. It should be done in a spirit of cheerfulness and joy. –Chicago, Ill., November 1949/”Mail Call: Step Seven,”  Step By Step/Grapevine

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Each of us must know in our minds and believe in our hearts that even though we are different, you are like me and I am like you

One of the definitions of humility is having an awareness of one’s own character defects.
To recognize and acknowledge that one has imperfections is being humble.

We should never pray for ourselves unless by doing so it would help another person. To have self-importance puts self first and this is not humble. –Elders | More…

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