Prison Of Self

The above picture is from a recent trip to Scotland. The gate makes me think of how my old thinking has kept me imprisoned. I took this picture during a tour of the Edinburgh Castle, knowing that I would be able to use it symbolically for my blog.

I heard recently that it only takes two to make a prison: the prisoner and the guard. In my case it only takes one–myself.

We recover by the steps we take, not the meetings we make ~ Primary Purpose Group

Recovery is so much more than fellowship. It’s working the steps! I believe Step 4 is the key to getting out of our self-made prison. In my post about Step 4, I follow Joe and Charlies advice. Therefore, when looking at character defects we can simply use these 4 words from page 67: Selfish, Dishonest, Self-seeking and Frightened.

Selfish and Self-seeking are so near in definition that they confused me. At first I wanted to just throw one of them out or toss them into the same pile and ignore any difference. Eventually I decided to stick with the book, which is our guide, and the following is how I separated the definitions of these two:

  • Selfish – greedy, possessive and jealous. Unwilling to share, egotistical
  • Self-seeking – wanting my way and having ambitions that necessitate stepping on others, being in the limelight

Since then, I uncovered my Big Book Dictionary, first published in 1939, and this is how it defines them:

  • Selfish – concerned primarily or only with oneself
  • Self-seeking – seeking or pursuing only for oneself/ the act or practice of selfishly advancing one’s own desires and goals.
  • Self-seeker – a self-seeking person/ seeking only to further one’s own interests

What difference does it make? To an English major, like me, it makes all the difference in my ability to fully submit to the rigors of Step 4 as I continue to work the program on a daily basis. I’m letting the terms steep in the recesses of my conscience for a while. In the meantime, Joe and Charlie suggest looking at the opposite of the defect:

Selfish: being greedy, the opposite of generous

Self-seeking: wanting credit, limelight, the opposite of humble 

This works for me. I hope it helps you, too.