Humility is a trait that most people value and admire. But how can we maintain it as we move through the recovery journey? As an addict, it’s easy to get caught up in our own problems.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we should feel gratitude to be alive. We should feel grateful for what we have, for what we have overcome, for our family, for our friends, for our recovery. We should feel thankful for what we have to offer to the world and the people around us. 

We should be humble, and we should cultivate humility in our lives. But to do that, you need to understand what humility is and its role in your road to recovery.

What is Humility?

Humility is the quality of being open to change, being honest with ourselves and others, accepting of our failings, and of course, being appreciative of what we have and what we have achieved.

It is not the absence of ego, but rather the opposite. It is a positive and healthy ego. It is a feeling of respect and gratitude for who we are and what we have accomplished.

What Role Does Humility Have in the Recovery Process?

There is an old saying: “We are our own worst enemies.” As you progress through the recovery process, you learn to take a long, hard look at yourself and your shortcomings.

This is humbling and can be painful. You develop a new respect for yourself and your faults and begin to appreciate all that we have to offer the world.

Understanding the Ego Defenses and Their Negative Impact on Your Recovery

The ego is like a protective shell. It is a defense mechanism we use to protect ourselves. It is how we protect ourselves from fear and uncertainty. It helps us maintain our self-esteem, and it also helps us maintain our sense of self.

But, when we are in recovery, we have to learn to get out of our own way. We have to begin to open ourselves up to a new way of thinking, a new way of being. To do that, it’s essential to understand the five ego defenses that can get in our way:


Repression is a coping mechanism that can be used to avoid a difficult situation. It involves forgetting memories of the negative or painful parts of our lives. It is a way of protecting us from the pain of the past.


Denial is when we choose to ignore reality. We can deny the truth of what is happening, deny that we have power over our addiction, or deny that we have an addiction altogether.


Projection is when we blame others for the part we have played in a problem. We blame others for our addiction, our feelings of guilt, our feelings of shame, or our feelings of inadequacy. For example, if we feel guilty for our addiction, we may blame our parents for not loving us enough.


Displacement is the process of satisfying an impulse with something else. For instance, we may displace our feelings of anger or depression by using an illicit substance or alcohol to numb our feelings.


Regression is when we return to an earlier stage of development. For example, if we were abused as a child, we may regress to that childhood pattern. This could be by seeking out abusive relationships or by becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Ethos Recovery is Here to Help You Build Humility

Here at Ethos Recovery, we know just how destructive these ego defenses can be. Not only do they keep us from getting well, but they can also harm us by creating negative feelings of self-doubt, shame, and inadequacy. 

We know that humility is a key ingredient in the recovery process. It is the core of the 12-step program. It is the key to living a sober, productive life.

If you need help developing humility or working through your recovery process, contact us today.