They say, “it comes before a fall.” I couldn’t agree more.
But sometimes it can last a lifetime BEFORE THAT FALL happens. That is sad, indeed.
When one discovers he/she is an addict, and they begin to work “the steps” (if he/she is in a 12 step program), it isn’t long before one discovers they have a number of “character defects.”
Character defects are gnarly, twisted, disgusting things; no one enjoys discovering them or contemplating the effect they have had on one’s relationships through the years. Nevertheless, they are field weeds that must be located, identified, and dealt with.
Near the top of my list of character defects is the one I call “superiority.” Superiority is PRIDE by another name. And I can say I am not proud of my pride.
It is probably no accident that in many of humanity’s ancient, revered documents where the GOOD/EVIL battle is discussed, the primary characteristic of the Source of Evil is PRIDE.
Pride is insidious, cancerous, infectious, and tenacious. It clings to good persons and evil persons alike. In fact, it does some of its best work with good persons.
Human beings seem to be wired for comparison, i.e. measuring ourselves with one another in order to find a pecking order, or to arrive at an assessment of ourselves and others, to give order to our world, to put things in their “place” and help us know where we “stand” in some moral sense (whether we accept the concept of absolute morality, or not).
The trouble is, when we do this, pride slithers in (interestingly, pride is often characterized by a snake or serpent in ancient writings) and fuels our need for self-esteem by telling us we are “better” than someone else.
For the addict, pride (feelings of superiority) is an almost universal character defect. I had hoped it was something unique to me, so that I could at least feel superior about that, but . . . no such luck.
What’s so bad about pride?
- It makes its carrier feel good about himself/herself (something we all strive for automatically) even while it distances its carrier from other persons, and creates isolation.
- It masks its carrier’s true insecurities, and so they are never addressed or faced with honesty.
- As it isolates its carrier from others, and insulates him/her from the truth, it also foments anger, resentment, and bitterness, because even though we want to feel “better” about ourselves we are also angry that others aren’t as good as we are (crazy, I know; but that’s us humans).
- It forces its carrier to medicate and anesthetize, because the pain of anger, resentment and bitterness is too heavy a burden for any human being to carry without assistance from an outside source.
Pride is a killer.
It is the draconic force that may be at the root of all that is evil. And . . . it takes no prisoners.
It must be surrendered. At all costs.