If temperamentally we are on the depressive side, we are apt to be swamped with guilt and self-loathing. We wallow in this messy bog, often getting a misshapen and painful pleasure out of it. As we morbidly pursue this melancholy activity, we may sink to such a point of despair that nothing but oblivion looks possible as a solution. Here, of course, we have lost all perspective, and therefore all genuine humility. For this is pride in reverse. This is not a moral inventory at all; it is the very process by which the depressive has so often been lead to the bottle and extinction.
Pride in reverse has been an extremely important pillar of my sobriety. When I have an excess of negative emotion it is often not anger but rather guilt or self-loathing. I can recount scenes, especially scenes of me as a mother, that I would give almost anything to take back and undo. And these happened in sobriety.
I have got to heed the words of this step and know that shaming myself to myself is destructive. Mothering is good example because I do not get to do it right again next time. I get to pay better attention to how I now mother my grown children and that for now is best I can do.
We often talk at meetings about regretting the past and wishing to shut the door on it. These feelings lessen for me with time, but they won’t go away. It also strikes me as new agey crap to “forgive” myself. The tools I’ll try to apply here are knowing that wallowing is wrong, that much of the time I spend regretting the past is wasted time, and that I have to put constructive energy into right living and making new things to be guilty and ashamed about.