When the Ego rules

12 step help and the ego

By Jamie Moon
Living from the ego, simply means living by a set of beliefs that has convinced us that we are leading and uncomfortable life. First our ego (these beliefs) tells us to drink (or use whatever the latest manifestation of our addictive behavior is)—making us restless irritable and discontent—so we drink or distract ourselves with our latest obsession. Just to take the edge off you understand, not because we have a problem with this stuff really!

Then to our chagrin we can’t stop after one and we get lost in it. The next day the committee (another name for the ego) is there with remorse, guilt and self-condemnation—our dear friend the ego. What a pal. According to Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, MD, a psychiatrist, the “characteristic of the so-called typical alcoholic (or as we see it any addictive personality) is a narcissistic, egocentric core, dominated by feelings of omnipotence…”[i] In other words, we think we are God, or at least think we should have power over these things on our own.

When we look back at our lives we see that “(we’d) grown physically at the customary rate of speed, and (we) had acquired an average (or greater) amount of intellectual training in the intervening years, but there had been no emotional maturity at all. (We) realize now that this phase of (our) development had been arrested by (our) obsession with self, and (our) egocentricity had reached such proportions that adjusting to anything outside (our) personal control was impossible for (us).”[ii]

So, how do we change? How do we deal with our addiction, stop and stay stopped? How do we become a good spouse or mate? How can we be a good parent to our children? How do we become good employers or employees? How do we ever find and live “the good life”?

Out of that first meeting between Bill and Dr. Bob we have been given one of the most powerful solutions to life’s problems that has ever come along. The Twelve Steps are a therapeutically sound process of dynamic power to change the direction of one’s life. Victor Hugo put it succinctly, “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come”. The Steps are an idea whose time has come.

The Twelve Steps are certainly an “idea whose time has come” for it has given millions of people a solution to their addictions. Also an answer has been given for the elimination of obsessive behavior of many types for those of us with “grave emotional and mental disorders.”[iii] Therefore, we have an answer to the first of our “three major problems.” As for the second, our experience tells us that relationships are at the root of our problem, also resolved by the Steps. Finally we ask what about money? It seems that for many when if we focus on our spiritual life that too is resolved with the program of Twelve Steps.

[i] AA Comes of Age – Page 311.2

[ii] Alcoholics Anonymous – Page 547.1 – 4th Edition

[iii] Alcoholics Anonymous – Page 58.1

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