Do You Want to be Right or Do You Want to be Happy?


The answer to this question should be obvious.  Sadly, for me, it is not.

My Monday meeting report:  nice meeting, 6 attendees.  It was a step 7 meeting, which, predictably, centers on the subject of humility, a key concept in step 7 work.  What is always interesting to me is the mindset on humility as it relates to sober time.  I have noticed that people in early sobriety (which, of course, is relative, I am in early sobriety.  I guess to be more specific, people with less than 12 months of continuous sobriety) focus on humiliation rather than humility… they speak of the various shameful experiences they have had, and they relate their humility to these experiences.

Of course, true humility, at least the quality to which we in recovery are aspiring, has nothing to do with humiliation.


  [hyoo-mil-i-tee or, often, yoo-] 


the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.
Here’s my evolution as it relates to humility:  in early days, when people spoke of the importance of humility, I essentially disregarded it.  I considered myself a humble person; if anything, I did not think highly enough of myself.  As time went on, and I worked the steps, I discovered, much to my chagrin, that in fact I needed to do quite a bit of work in this arena.  When I believe that the world revolves around me, I am not being humble. When I insist that my way is the right way, I am not behaving humbly.  When I am displaying self-righteousness, I am not displaying humility.
Like I said, I have some work to do.
Here’s an interesting story related to this topic.  In the course of the past 4 days, I have had various minor situations come up that have caused me to be irritable, restless and discontent.  These situations are minor enough that they are not even worth documenting, but are notable in that they happened in a relatively short period of time.  At one point I actually said to myself, “get to a meeting so you can find your answer.”  I went to a meeting, the topic was humility.  Hmmm.  Life goes on, apparently I wasn’t listening hard enough, because self-righteousness reared its ugly head several more times throughout the weekend.  Today’s meeting?  Humility.
Who says God doesn’t speak directly to you?
Today’s Miracle:
Last night, in what would be the pinnacle (or would it be nadir?) of my bad mood, I was reading a brilliant post by a fellow blogger (please check it out, it is beautiful… Sober Identity).  In the grips of my self-centered thinking, all I could focus on was how not far along I was, in comparison to her progress.  It was progress enough last night for me to shut down the computer and vow to re-read it when I was in a better frame of mind.  I did that today, within the framework of today’s meeting on humility, and it was as if a whole new set of words popped up… I could see all of my own progress, as well as feel genuine happiness for Lisa that she can see hers.  And so today’s miracle is appreciating the recovery of others… well done, Lisa!

Posted on July 15, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. This is such a great post and a message I needed to hear as well. Going on to check out Lisa’s post you linked to. Very grateful for you both.


    • Hello Stranger! I have been thinking about you, there is a 5k that I am CONSIDERING (please take those caps as seriously as you can, I have not made a decision yet), it is a recovery walk/run, and it is in your general neck of the woods. What do you think? I’ll email the deets.

      Glad that this message struck a chord. I could probably use this reminder (humility) at least once a day, if not more!


      • Please do email the details! If it’s a date I can make, I’m all over it. I ran/walked my first 5K years ago with my daughter, who was part of a running group at school. I was not even a “runner” then, and I survived and even had fun.


  2. Like you, I had to learn the true meaning of humility. Learning that I wasn’t the center of the Universe, well, that I thought was easy. Not. Being a martyr, letting people walk all over me, etc. in the name of being “humble” really wasn’t humility. Humility came when I realized that I am just one of the Creator’s children, that my story was nothing special, that I was here to serve Him and do service for others. It didn’t mean I was nothing – in fact, we all have gifts unique to us and it’s best for us and others that we use those gifts and skills given to us. Not using them brings us back to being the center of the universe…woe is me, etc.

    And yeah, many people early on focus on humiliation, which doesn’t have much to do with true humility. You are correct about that one.

    Nice word, nadir 🙂

    I like how all these things – meetings, etc. pointed to humility. I get the feeling that humility is going to be a lesson I will be continually learning, as my ego likes to rebuild pretty quickly. And comparisons to others (which ego finds oh so delicious!) doesn’t help humility at all. I like how you found a different point of view the next day to Lisa’s post. I find that when I am out of sorts / tired, I need to just shut down and reset (i.e. sleep). Amazing how our perspective changes!

    Anyway, great post Josie…as usual 🙂



  3. Paul, the word nadir was inserted exclusively for your benefit! I cannot tell you how much I love the inside jokes among you, Lisa and me… they make my day!

    I’m glad you got what I was trying to say… the idea that I read Lisa’s post, immediately compared myself and came up wanting, because I was in self-centered mode. Came back to it, with the proper perspective, and found the beauty in it, and the true message: we are all works in progress, and the work is continuous, we will never cross the finish line (Lisa said it way better than I ever could!).

    Throw in the synchronicity of the meetings, and this is recovery at its finest!

    As always, thank you for inspiring me to continue the progress!


  4. Hi you. I have several points so I’m gonna number them:
    1) It feels totally weird to “like” and even comment on a post you are mentioned in/linked to. It doesn’t feel humble at all. I don’t like it, but I like what you wrote. Please shed some light on this for me. What’s wrong here? I am overly sensitive to people thinking I am using my blog to promote by business.I notice I come and comment ‘last’ a lot of the time in hopes that only the blog author will read my comments. Help Josie!!!
    2) For what it’s worth, I look at my “now” on the chart knowing, full well, that I will end up back at “middle/a new middle” but I always want it to look like this: “Me: Clean your room. Kid: ok mom.” And then we smile and hug and the soundtrack/orchestra plays. I still get stuck going for perfection. I don’t think we ever stop wanting more. I’ll let you know if it ever happens to me.
    3) Ditto on Paul’s mention: ‘Humility’ a lesson we never stop moving toward.
    4) I laughed at the accompanying photo and title. I’ve chosen being right way more than one might think.
    5) I didn’t understand the word humility when I was new in sobriety, but since you mentioned it I do see that newcomers do focus on humiliation. Another thought for me to ponder.
    6) I might need a journal titled “Thoughts from Josie’s Blog”
    7) Last week’s post has me seeing me as judgmental. Dare I blog on this or will people think I’ve gone mad???
    8) A super long reply and no apologies are forthcoming.
    9) xox


  5. I have 2 thoughts: first, your comment could be a blog post, there is so much wisdom in it, and second, maybe we could start new blogs, where we piggy back off each other’s thoughts? Mine would be called Musings on Lisa, and yours could be Musings on Josie, no doubt we would have endless topics about which to write!!

    For the record, at no point in time have I ever considered your blog a marketing tool for your business. I have seen such blogs, and I have ceased to follow them. I consider finding your blog, and then finding out that you published a book, one of the greatest gifts of 2012, and you already know how many miracles happened for me that year!

    Lastly, man am I going through it with the kids this summer (I’m sure a post will follow), but please, please tell me if your #2 above ever happens for you, because I would so like that magic formula!

    I am sure you get sick of me saying it, but I will do so again, without apologizing: I am so grateful that you are part of my life!


  6. In one of my early AA meetings i heard the expression “I’d rather be right than happy” and i realized there were a lot of words i could’ve substituted for ‘right’. i’d rather be awake than happy, rather be depressed than happy (!) and of course, when i was drinking, i preferred to be drunk than happy. Now, i can still use that sentence as kind of a Step 10 spot check to see what things are creeping into my sober thinking and trying to ruin it.


    • That. Is. An. Awesome. Comment! Isn’t it the truth, and I have never thought about it quite like that before! The more I get like that, the more I need a step 10 “tune up!” Thank you so much, Al, it is not even 8 am in my part of the world, and I felt like I got my AA “takeaway” that I look for each day. Does that mean I can go back to bed?


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