A sense of self is a vital and necessary part of the human condition. If our sense of self, however, is not controlled, it becomes our source of self-destruction, misery and suffering.
We know from the AA Big Book that “… our troubles… are basically of our own making. They arise out of our selves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot…. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must or it kills us!”
The antidote for selfishness and self-centeredness is unselfishness and humility. The AA 12 & 12 confirms this assertion:”The attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AA’s Twelve Steps. For without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all.”
The AA Big Book directs us to the solution to our selfishness: “God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid…. We had to have God’s help.” When we let God be the director of our will, then God will direct our actions.
Therefore, in recovery, we do not strive to eliminate self, but to bend our ego to do God’s will. The goal is to align our actions according to our principles and values to the best of our abilities and to strive every day for a closer relationship with our Creator.
We can explain this concept by the formula for the derivative of a natural logarithm:
The derivative of the natural logarithm function is the reciprocal function.
f (x) = ln(x)
The derivative of f(x) is:
f ‘ (x) = 1 / x
You can see a picture of this here
This mathematical formula mirrors a spiritual law of the universe. This means: as x approaches zero, 1/x approaches infinity. X is like man, and God is like Y. As man’s ego is nullified toward zero, his relationship with the Creator then approaches infinity.
However, one can never totally rid oneself of one’s ego. As we can derive from the mathematical equation: when your self (x) becomes completely nullified, you become part of eternity and then one ceases to exist in this world. So, our ego is part of our God-given instincts and we need it to live and exist in this world.
The goal of emotional sobriety and recovery is not to rid ourselves of our self, but, to rid ourselves of our selfishness. The question and challenge are transformed from one of self-will to God’s Will to “how do I transform myself to become aligned with God’s will for me?” The willingness to believe and the practicing of the tools relieve us of our ego and bless us with conscious contact with the God of our understanding.
AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions
AA Big Book
Anonymous (1991) A Program for You: A Guide to the Big Book’s Design for Living. Hazelden Foundation. Minnesota: USA
Joe McQ (1990) The Steps We Took. August House Publishers, Inc. Atlanta GA
http://www.sanctuary777.com/Lifestyle_Journal_Vol3/essay38.htm 9/13/2020: this link is inactive