In my previous post I quoted every place the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve mention ego. I don’t pretend to know what the common understanding of ego was at they time they were written, or what Bill W knew and thought about Freud or anything else. To me, ego in those books seems to refer to myself, sometimes my high regard for myself. The books also say that lots of us, when drinking and when we stop, have too high a regard for ourselves, or alternately, or at the same time, too low a regard for ourselves. I’m especially struck by the passage that says, “Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come straight out of painful ego-puncturing.”
Drinking, I was more on the depressive side and apt to think very poorly of myself. This too is a sign of an ego that needs to be punctured. Whatever my problems, I was ultimately willing to risk my life and yours by drinking when I knew what terrible consequences resulted. I didn’t, because I couldn’t, do any real work on myself, do anything meaningful to improve my life or to improve myself.
Now I’ve been sober for a long, long time. I’m sure I have a better perspective on my ego, more humility and more of a sense of my right size and right place. Yet I struggle mightily with this, especially now. Applying this part of the program to my present unhappiness tells me, for one thing, that if I had a healthy ego, I wouldn’t be so badly affected by world events. Angry, disappointed, heartbroken even, but not so crushed and shattered. I believe in the value of ego-puncturing and at this point I truly welcome the pain that will bring me a newer attitude and a newer outlook, and I know I will be privileged way beyond what I deserve to experience this yet again.