I mentioned in “Ego-Part One” that we have to watch out when we wonder if our egos are perhaps becoming too aggressive; we need to be aware of the fact that there are “good egos” and “bad” ones, but which is which?
I sought to dump the “bad” ones when I took the first Steps of turning over a new leaf of humility, gratitude, and comfort with ourselves. We dumped the arrogant and selfish parts of our beings. Ultimately, we found our Higher Power’s grace for us, if we but seek it through the Program.
Not all egos are bad, sometimes good ones emerge. The medical profession is a good place to look at the difference. Take a surgeon who is extremely technically skilled. Does he project a self-righteous feeling of superiority over you? “Bombastic” is a good word that usually fits him or her. But we certainly need surgeons who feel and project confidence that he/she can undertake the operation and complete it successfully and accompanied by a positive recovery cycle
But we have to be on our guard. These “positive” good egos can morph into something else; something that we wrestled with during our times of addiction. If a person in the Program has worked the Steps, found recovery, and feels the Grace of the Higher Power, he or she is entitled to a little bit of positive feelings. “I did it and I’m proud of that! … with the help of the Program and others.” We deserve to be proud, but our gratitude and humility are always needed to trump ego’s emerging selfish, self-centered outlooks. After all, each of us is only one drink from a new descent into that pit of addiction.
One spot we need to keep careful track of our egos is our Twelve Step work. We need to remember that we aren’t telling anyone what they should do (“follow me for I have achieved sobriety!”). We pass along only what worked for us and it may or may not work for them. Grandiosity isn’t welcome at this point. Humbleness is the watchword.
The line we draw here can be slippery for like our alcoholic addiction, the way and extent we assert our ego can be one of those spots. We realize our ego, like our drug of choice, is cunning, baffling, and powerful. If we ignore that fact, humility may drop from the picture, and we risk a relapse back into the old feelings of superiority and ego-centric behavior.
“Good ego” is akin to feelings of self-worth but we don’t go around broadcasting and pointing out our self-worth with a cunning, baffling, and powerful aura of how good we feel about ourselves—for we are one drink away from…
It’s another piece of life that calls for balance—the old Greek “Golden Mean.” We lost this “ability to balance” our alcohol intake and we descended to the depths of addiction.
So, “good” or “bad” ego is our choice. We need to be alert to the fork in the road and seek “His Will for Us and the Power to Carry it Out.”
Jim A., Covington, Kentucky