Now, this week’s topic… pain into growth. I’ve been thinking about it all week. The passage in the book clearly identifies the differentiating factor between an experience being just painful and one leading to growth – humility. If I have humility, I can grow from an experience. If I don’t have it, I simply get pain.
Why is that? I think it’s because humility means acknowledging that I may not be right (!) and therefore I become teachable. I don’t know it all and I’m not defending my stance… pride means losing face if I am forced to acknowledge I’m wrong so I’ll fight that with all I have.
Personally, I am quite comfortable acknowledging to other people that I may be wrong about things. It’s to *myself* that it’s harder. I can play mind games ad nauseum to convince myself that my way of doing it is not actually not working, it’s just this tweak or that tweak I need to make!
This is where the passage speaks of “a wealth of wisdom and support in this fellowship”… I get it wrong and with pride I try to twist my mind into believing I’m not wrong, but my sponsor lovingly points out issues when I’d rather shut my eyes to them. Others in the fellowship have experienced similar things to whatever I go through and I can ask them for their wisdom and support. A good example of this is that last month, I found myself chewing gum like it was going out of fashion – with all the nasty side effects that produces. For a time, I tried to convince myself it was going to be OK. No problem. It’s not forbidden. But eventually it became bad enough to make me willing to ask for help, and lo and behold – others had experienced the same thing, they told me what they’d done, their experiences. And I was not only encouraged by their support, but I learned from their wisdom too and have simply quit gum now. As with so many things, simply not having it IS the easier, softer way.
I’m an addict, and I can transfer that to anything. Food is down; gum is down; the next thing will certainly be pointed out eventually by my higher power, or by my sponsor or another person in the fellowship on behalf of my higher power. What I get from this passage is that navel-gazing and trying to identify such patterns in my own strength is not what Bill W. had in mind, but rather, a continuous attitude of humility that keeps me teachable so that when things are pointed out, I am able to learn rather than defend.