I was reading a devotional today in a an app for people who suffer from addiction. The devotional was strongly opposed to being prideful, and saw that as a slippery slope into addiction. I find a problem with this, and thought it would be a good idea to comment on pride, and its positive and negative connotations for the sex addict.
There is a positive side to pride. Confidence and reasonable satisfaction in one’s accomplishments is a positive kind of pride, and can help with our growth through our addiction, and our spiritual growth. If you’ve realized that your irresponsible sexual activity was out of your control, and you’ve taken the often hard steps to address it, like seeking a counselor, or attending a 12-Step meeting, working the steps, picking up the phone when you need help, and working your daily program, you’re doing better than the millions of suffering sex addicts out there who are still lost. You should feel confidence and reasonable satisfaction, pride, in your recovery, while being vigilant not to tip over to the negative type of pride.
There is a negative type of pride as well. Overconfidence in one’s power over their addiction, acting as if you’re cured, and messing around with fringe, or middle circle behaviors, leads to hubris. This type of pride, the type they were referring to in the devotional, can lead to backsliding, relapsing back into active addiction, and ultimately finding a new bottom.
To avoid that transfer from confidence to hubris, it’s essential that you always retain your respect for your addiction, in the same fashion that someone respects a strong and powerful enemy. This requires always being on guard, always working your program, in good times as well as bad, watching out for signs of complacency, and having a set of tools readily available to use when times get tough.
Pride is powerful, in both it’s positive and negative manifestations. Use the positive pride you’ve deserved to fuel your sobriety, and grow that pride by doing the right things and developing a stronger relationship with your Higher Power.
Since I’ve written this, I’ve shared it with some of the people who are part of my program. One suggested that I’d use the term “joy” to express the “positive pride” that I spoke about. The other was more adamant, insisting that “pride” was a very selfish sin, that caused all of the bad things that they did, and that the term “self respect”, is more appropriate. I would recommend, if you’re interested, that you’d look at the Wikipedia article on pride as a way to see the multiple meanings that this word has.